What Email Security Capabilities are Essential for Businesses?


As Australian businesses adapt to hybrid work setups, they rely on emails more than ever. The problem is that emails continue to be a popular channel for cyberattacks. They’re perfect for distributing malware like Trojan horses and ransomware en masse, but more importantly, they’re used to carry out deceptive social engineering attacks like phishing.

Phishing utilises fraudulent emails to trick unwitting recipients into disclosing sensitive information, clicking on dangerous links, or downloading malware-laced attachments. Other email-borne threats include account takeover attacks, unauthorised data sharing, and spam. This is why companies must invest in a robust email security solution that offers the following features:

  • Impersonation detection– evaluates email addresses, links, and content to determine the legitimacy of a message
  • Threat explorer and real-time detections –  provides a powerful, near real-time tool to investigate and respond to threats.
  • Threat Trackers –  informative widgets that provide insights on different cybersecurity issues.
  • Anti-phising policies  – custom security measures to prevent phishing attacks or mitigate the impact on the company.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 in particular, filters emails through robust email security features to catch the most recent email threats, from annoying spam messages to more sinister COVID vaccine phishing scams.

Anti Phishing – Mailbox Intelligence

Mailbox Intelligence is one of the essential tools for preventing spam, phishing, and other email-based threats from reaching company inboxes. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to map usual communications paths and use that to determine risks in emails.

Warnings and alerts will be based on previous communication patterns. AI ensures to insert warnings directly into the message or quarantine the message entirely if no prior email correspondence was made with that address.

Safe Links & Safe Attachments

Defender’s safe links and safe attachments add another layer of defence if cyber threats manage to slip past standard EOP (Exchange Online Protection). These protections leverage sandboxing technology, which runs inbound email attachments and links in an isolated virtual environment. In this environment, Microsoft Defender will evaluate the content and grant access to end-user if deemed safe.

Moreover, safe links and safe attachments protection extends to other Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams.

Automated Investigation and Response (AIR)

On the off chance that email-borne attacks make their way into company inboxes, Microsoft’s automated investigation and response (AIR) can quickly mitigate threats. These features automatically address common threats, suspicious emails and alert users thru predefined investigative playbooks. AIR acts as a frontline of virtual analysts solely dedicated to investigating email threats.

AIR also allows the security team to manually trigger automated investigations to crawl in inboxes or any attachments and URLs.

Data loss prevention and encryption

Employees may easily mishandle sensitive information, especially when distracted. 92 of all reported data breaches in Australia from July to December 2020 were caused by people sending personal information to the wrong email recipient. The most effective way to deal with this is to identify where sensitive information is located and shared.

Microsoft Defender’s data loss prevention features help you do just that by letting you set DLP policies that match your organization. Moreover, it monitors and protects sensitive information across Microsoft platforms. Additionally, it helps employees to stay compliant without disrupting their workflow.


Smart integration allows the security operations to monitor, trace and track devices and accounts at risk.

With Microsoft Defender, organizations have access to unmatched, and most trusted cyberthreats technology in the global ecosystem.  Additionally, leveraging on the large footprint by Defender, you can master the anatomy of a phishing attack, the importance of good password hygiene, and acute attacks.

Attack Simulation

To defend against email account takeover attacks, Microsoft Defender lets businesses run a cyberattack simulation within the organization. Phishing and other social engineering scams are dangerous because they exploit human error rather than technical vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is crucial to train employees to develop good email security habits so that they’re not a liability against social engineering scams.

Defender secures emails by testing security measures in place while training the employees to increase their awareness and prevent any susceptible attacks in the future. Different social engineering techniques are available to test various kinds of attacks such as credential harvest and drive-by-URL. Moreover, the simulation also allows organizations to select payload, refine target users, assign training simulations.

Cloud Email Protection

The organisation may require to retain important emails for court cases, tax purposes, or specific government regulations. Fortunately, Microsoft Defender provides a secure cloud-based email filtering service that protects your organization against unknown malware and viruses.

Cloud protection in Microsoft Defender delivers accurate, real-time, and intelligent protection against tampering with vital information. Microsoft regularly backs up your emails and data in the cloud so you can quickly recover them in case of ransomware or human error.

Microsoft Defender email security suite is a must for minimising risks to your organisation. If you need assistance in configuring it to your company’s preferences, Empower IT is here to help. As a leading managed IT services provider and long-time Microsoft partner, we can ensure your emails are fully protected. Call us now.