MSP Email Security: A Quick Guide


A survey of cybersecurity leaders revealed that 94% of organizations were negatively impacted by email security incidents in 2023. As cyber threats evolve, MSPs must prioritize robust email security to effectively protect their customers’ data.

This blog explores widespread email threats, choosing the right MSP email security tools and best practices for their implementation.

What Is Email Security?

Email security for MSPs refers to measures and tactics to protect email accounts from data breaches and other cyber threats. It involves using tools, protocols and software to safeguard digital assets and ensure compliance. 

Due to scalable technology like AI, the global volume of attacks is increasing yearly in scope and sophistication. For example, ransomware exploits in Q1 2024 surpassed Q1 2023 by 21%. 

Before looking at different MSP email security software options, let’s explore common attacks and how they work.

How Email Breaches Happen

Email breaches typically occur when attackers exploit vulnerabilities in email systems or trick users into disclosing sensitive information. Breaches can result in unauthorized access to customer data, damage to reputation, legal issues and financial loss.

Here are three of the most popular attacks:


With roughly 3.4 billion fraudulent emails sent daily, this type of social engineering attack is the most common gateway for data breaches. Phishing involves using deceptive emails to fool recipients into revealing information, such as login credentials, or clicking on malicious links. In some cases, attackers can take over accounts, monitor messages, steal information or forward malware and spam to contacts. 


Malware attacks involve distributing harmful software through malicious email attachments or links to fraudulent websites. Clicking on a link or attachment in an email can install malware on the recipient’s device, posing a serious security risk and potentially compromising sensitive information. Types of malware include: 

  • Spyware: Monitors and collects information from a device
  • Scareware: Tricks users into purchasing unnecessary or fake security solutions
  • Adware: Displays unwanted advertisements or pop-up messages on a user’s device
  • Ransomware: Encrypts or locks a system and demands payment for its release

Ransomware brings financial, operational and reputational damages to organizations. Sophos reported that, excluding any ransoms paid, the average cost to recover from an attack was $2.73M in 2023 — an almost 50% increase over 2022.

Business Email Compromise

Sophisticated business email compromise (BEC) attacks trick employees into actions like transferring money or sharing confidential data. Typically, these scams involve perpetrators masquerading as trusted individuals, such as executives, colleagues or vendors.

The financial consequences of falling victim to these attacks can devastate a business. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported that BEC scams led to over $2.9 billion in losses in 2023.

Learn how to ensure BEC protection with our guide for MSPs.

How to Choose the Right Email Security Software 

With email being an easy target for attackers, you need effective strategies to counter threats. Selecting the right email security products for your MSP software stack is a vital piece of the puzzle. However, before researching software, it’s important to understand the different categories and their advantages.


Email security solution How it works
Secure email gateways (SEGs) SEGs serve as frontline email filtering, actively tracking inbound and outbound traffic. They detect and block malicious content, spam and phishing attempts, ensuring secure email communications.
Integrated cloud email security (ICES) ICES solutions integrate cloud-based email security with services like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. These solutions enhance the platforms’ native capabilities, providing robust protection without requiring a separate gateway.
Standalone encryption  Encryption transforms readable data into a secure format only authorized users can decrypt. Encrypting complicates attackers’ efforts to access and exploit sensitive data, even if they breach email servers or intercept communications.


The choice of email security tools for MSPs depends on their specific needs. For example, some MSPs might benefit from the comprehensive scanning capabilities of a secure email gateway, while integrated cloud email security might be preferable for those seeking scalability and adaptability. An added benefit is that ICES often includes advanced threat protection features such as encryption and data loss prevention.

Email Security Best Practices 

When implementing new email security services, follow these best practices:

1. Develop a Detailed Policy

A robust email security policy should outline acceptable email uses, define security procedures and establish guidelines for handling and responding to incidents. Reviewing and updating policies ensures they remain effective as new threats emerge.

2. Offer Ongoing Training

Sometimes, even the best email security solution isn’t enough. Human error (for example, clicking on phishing links) still accounts for 68% of data breaches, according to Verizon. Teaching customers how to prevent email attacks is a potent way MSPs can further prevent breaches.

MSPs should facilitate ongoing security awareness training with in-person sessions or regular online modules. Training empowers individuals to identify potentially harmful emails, being mindful of obvious red flags in messages like:  

  • Grammatical issues
  • Unusual link formats
  • Out-of-the-ordinary requests from colleagues
  • Attributes that go against the email security policy

3. Enforce Strong Authentication Methods

Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds another layer of security by verifying user identities before granting access to email accounts. MFA significantly reduces instances of unauthorized access and account takeovers.

Boost Email Security with SaaS Alerts

SaaS Alerts helps MSPs protect their customers from always-evolving email risks. Our SaaS security platform:

  • Continuously monitors for anomalous activities like suspicious login attempts from unknown locations using IP geolocation data and mailbox rule changes, which forward or redirect emails to an attacker.
  • Automates remediation with predefined security responses, such as shutting down affected accounts or blocking harmful email addresses
  • Unifies cybersecurity alerts and provides custom reporting tailored to client needs

Discover how SaaS Alerts can help improve your MSP email security. Request a demo with one of our experts today. 

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