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What is a Secure Email Gateway (SEG)?

Secure email gateways—AKA email gateways or email security solutions—are the most common type of perimeter technology used to stop phishing emails from reaching the inbox.

How SEGs are Intended to Work:

SEGs are designed to work in two main ways. They attempt to validate an email’s sender through domain authentication and sender reputation. And they try to validate its content using threat intelligence, antivirus, and content analysis tools. While SEGs do their job to a point, it’s hard to ignore the facts.

Why do SEGs Fail?

BUSINESS CAN’T WAIT

Businesses depend on email to keep operations running, so tuning a SEG to drastically slow down messages isn’t feasible. You’re forced to choose between speed and organizational security.

ATTACKERS OUTSMART TECHNOLOGY

Threat actors constantly adapt phishing attacks to security advances, often changing tactics by the hour. Using BEC, for example, an attacker relies on social engineering, not URLs, attachments, or other clues SEGs look for.

SEG VENDORS ARE REACTIVE

Whether Proofpoint, Microsoft, Symantec, Mimecast, Cisco Ironport, you name it, SEG vendors are playing a game of whack-a-mole, reacting to fill countless holes when attackers need just one.

Did You Know?

SEGs undergo NO third-party validation

Unlike firewall and other security technologies, SEGs appear to be immune from any regulatory or compliance oversight.

Phishing emails still land in the inbox

No matter what percentage of emails your gateway successfully stops, malicious emails continue to reach user inboxes daily.

The Impact of Phishing…

$3.92M

average cost of a data breach

Source: Ponemon Cost of Data Breach 2019

$111,605

average ransomware payment

Source: Coveware Ransomware Report Q1 2020

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