Hosted Email Security

XGen badge (HES) is the latest Trend Micro solution to wear the xGen badge. We take a brief look at the machine learning benefits behind the brand.

For both MSPs and resellers, Trend Micro’s Hosted Email Security (HES) has always been a compelling sell, delivering powerful, serverless email protection for customers with limited IT resources.

But whereas the rest of Trend’s Worry-Free Business Security Services solutions have already been plugged into the Predictive Machine Learning technology that is one of the features of the newly minted xGen brand, HES (perhaps because it’s also available as a standalone solution, outside of Worry-Free) hadn’t been – until now.

Here are some of the benefits that ‘xGenned’ HES now delivers to end-users.

Zero-day and unknown threats detected

With the threat landscape evolving at bewildering speed, checking chunks of code against databases of the known ‘usual suspects’ is only fractionally effective.

Instead, security solutions now need to detect hitherto unknown and unidentified threats, too, as we described in a previous post recently - and this is exactly what the Predictive Machine Learning in HES now enables it to do.

Predictive Machine Learning uses advanced file feature analysis to ascertain both the probability that a threat exists in a file, and the probable file type – and, of course, because it is learning from each example, it gets better as it goes.

Dangerous files and processes neutralised

Once the machine learning process has identified an unknown or zero-day threat, it can then take action to keep end-users protected.

If the threat is file-based, for example, the solution will quarantine the files in question, to stop the threat from spreading across users’ networks.

HES shares its newfound machine learning capabilities not only with Trend’s Worry-Free Business Security Services solutions but also with OfficeScan, so this more detailed explanation of the latter’s Predictive Machine Learning features, and how they work, is worth a read.

No more multiple login hell

Bringing HES into the xGen fold appears to have prompted some other helpful alignments with existing Trend solutions, too (although, in truth, these don’t have much to do with machine learning!)

There’s a lot less cumbersome clickery involved, for a start. For example, you can now jump directly from HES into the management console of the Cloud App Security solution, whereas before you’d have had to go from the Customer Licensing Portal (CLP) to HES, then back to CLP in order to reach Cloud App Security.

This is important for two reasons: firstly, to stop you losing the will to live. And secondly, because it’s a significant improvement to the overall email security workflow (Cloud App Security is needed to provide Exchange Online mail store scans as well as inspection of internal email traffic - so an easy hook-up to it is a must).

In short, HES is going through the same operator-friendly evolution as many other Trend solutions - getting rid of fiddly separate passwords for each service.

Ultimately, this helps partners work more efficiently and thus cut down on admin overheads, but also it makes for smoother service delivery.

HES: an xGen latecomer poised to deliver

It’s worth noting that HES has also recently benefited from an overhauled interface, improved data insights, enhanced Time-of-Click web protection, and other additional refinements, as explored in this post - so it certainly hasn’t been standing still.

But it has moved at a different speed to the rest of the xGen stable, and it’s good news for security resellers and MSPs alike that they can now tell their customers the gap is being closed!

Email SecuritySpam, phishing, malware – these are just some of the hazards email can carry. We’ll see more of them in 2017, so what kind of security solutions can counter them?

Following on from our recent post about business continuity solutions, another topic worth following in 2017 is email security.

So just how important is it?

Well, according to email research from the Radicati Group, the number of business emails sent and received per day in 2017 will number 120.4 billion. By 2019, it will be nearer 129 billion.

And this unrelenting growth is one of the factors driving a huge increase in email-borne cyber-threats. In fact, in the first quarter of 2016 alone, according to this piece in Infosecurity Magazine, there was an 800% increase in email-borne threats over the previous year!

What, then, should you be looking out for to protect your business (or your customers’ businesses, if you’re a security reseller or service provider) against this onslaught?

Choosing email security

We’ve identified some specific features that we believe are critical to effective email security in 2017’s threat-laden world.

1. Ease of use for SMEs

The latest Government Security Breaches Survey found that SMEs are now being pinpointed by digital attackers, according to this piece in The Guardian.

But SMEs also include many businesses that have little or no in-house IT or security expertise  - so complex on-premise email security just won’t work for them.

Instead, look out for cloud-delivered, as-a-service solutions that major on ease of use (that means, amongst other things, no-maintenance deployment, with 24 x 7 updates, patches and hot-fixes delivered automatically by the vendor).

This kind of solution has the added benefit that it can filter email inline and scan it prior to it reaching the recipient, so threats are intercepted before they touch the business’s network.

Nothing to remediate, no spam to archive, nothing to clean up – good news for resource-starved small businesses.

2. Email clients – cloud’s a must!

Smaller businesses in particular are also turning to hosted email clients like Office 365 and Google Apps, with research showing that nearly two-thirds of small business owners already have an average of three cloud solutions in place.

Combine this with the knowledge that Office 365 has known issues with its ability to detect insecure document content, though, and it’s not enough to just go with a cloud-based email security solution. You also need to choose one that is good at dealing with cloud-based email client vulnerabilities.

Get the last bit wrong and you’re still behind the SME security curve.

3. Threat coverage and awareness

Spam, malware, spyware, phishing and inappropriate content are all known risks that must of course be protected against.

But the underlying question is how the solution’s knowledge of the threat landscape evolves, since it is this process that ultimately protects users against emerging threats like zero-day exploits.

Big data and machine learning algorithms are the key features to look for in this respect, but many vendors are now jumping on this bandwagon, so look at the hard numbers to sort the aspirational from the credible.

Take Trend Micro’s Hosted Email Security (HES) as just one example: over 50 billion website URLs, email sources, and files scanned, correlated, and filtered, with over 7 terabytes of new threat data processed - daily.

That leaves little doubt (and the latest features in Trend Micro HES make convincing reading, too).

4. GDPR compliance

GDPR is never far away from our discussions thesedays, and any cloud-delivered service is now under the microscope with regard to how it protects the privacy of the data that it holds.

Look for a solution backed by data centres that have reached the most stringent privacy certifications - in Europe, these are generally considered to be ISO 9001, ISO 27001, OHSAS18001 (LHR1) and SAS 70 Type II.

5. Ease of partner management

For security partners, there is an added dimension to a choice of security solution: the ease with which they can manage it!

Solutions that are difficult to provision and manage burn through administration resource and gnaw at margins – making them potentially unprofitable.

Look instead for a single security dashboard across all customers, that also works with industry-standard platforms like Autotask, ConnectWise and Kaseya.

This will enable you, for example, to automate monthly usage and reporting management, proactively analyse emerging security threats, and provision new solutions and services more rapidly – without signing into and logging out of multiple systems and tools.

Email security in 2017 – as-a-service solutions to a growing challenge

As long as businesses keep sending and receiving emails, the bad guys will keep using them to try and attack the soft underbelly of businesses.

But to do that, the emails have to get there in the first place – and if they’re getting caught by security in the cloud first, they won’t.

Definitely one to watch for 2017.

Trend Micro HESTrend Micro HES has long been an attractive cloud solution for users who want email security without on-site hassle. Read how it just got better!

We see a lot of email security solutions, but it’s fair to say that Trend Micro’s Hosted Email Security (HES) has recently upped its game to deliver a user experience that’s slicker, protection that’s broader and more agile, and service management that’s easier (and therefore ultimately more profitable!)

Here’s how Trend has taken HES to the next level.

New in Trend Micro HES, (1): Smoother interface, better data insights

Trend has now extended the successful interface designs found elsewhere in its stable of solutions to HES too, meaning that if you can “drive” other Trend solutions (like Worry-Free or OfficeScan), you can now just as easily drive HES.

For both end-users and service providers, this potentially means smoother workflows, easier internal adoption, lower training and implementation costs, and, overall, sharper ROI.

Trend Micro HES Dashboard
Trend has brought HES into line with its standard interface design and given its threat analysis tools a shot in the arm.

An improved dashboard in the solution now also makes it easier for end-users and service providers to glean more information about the threats they face, thanks to advanced analysis details and top advanced threat charts.

New in Trend Micro HES, (2): Sandboxing now comes for free!

Sandboxing – the ability, in the context of the SMTP protocol, to take mail offline and rigorously test it for threats before it reaches the recipient – is a potent tool in the security partner’s armoury.

But, typically, it’s also very costly – and it’s here that Trend has broken the mould. HES now includes free-of-charge access to new sandboxing solutions including Advanced Threat Scan Engine and Social Engineering Attack Protection.

Tick a box, get sandboxing for free – Trend’s Christmas present to service providers seeking to add value to their customers’ accounts!

Advanced Threat Scan Engine uses combined pattern-based and heuristic scanning to not only combat known email threats, but identify characteristics and behaviours that can suggest new ones (making it particularly effective against stealth threats like ransomware and zero-day exploits).

Social Engineering Attack Protection (now built into the AntiSpam Engine) is part of Trend’s recently much-vaunted machine learning stable, which includes the XGEN solutions.

It detects suspicious behaviour in multiple parts of each email transmission, including the email header, subject line, email body, attachments, and the SMTP protocol information.

Suspect messages are returned to Hosted Email Security for further action or policy enforcement, ensuring the attack does not reach its target.

These services are easy to activate too, by simply ticking a policy check box – convenient for end-users and service providers alike.

New in Trend Micro HES, (3): Protection against spoofing

Spoofed email identities are the gateway to unwitting activation of all manner of threats, from phishing, to whaling, to dangerous attachment payloads, and more.

HES now supports DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) signatures in both incoming and outgoing messages. These authenticate the domain name associated with a message to detect any mismatches, which in turn protects users against receiving messages that have been tampered with – for instance, to spoof the sender name.

Protection against spoofing
Spoof email? That’s so passé!

New in Trend Micro HES, (4): Marketing-friendly segregated email

Trend has consistently led the field in anti-spam protection, but the reality is that what is often defined as marketing spam can in fact be a source of new opportunities or competitor intelligence for some departments in your customers’ businesses.

For this reason, HES now offers email segregation, which enables certain types of user or policy group within the end-user’s organisation to choose to receive marketing and promotional email (whilst still subjecting it, of course, to all the other new and existing HES security features).

Marketing-friendly segregated email
Yes, please market to me! Or just don’t, OK?

New in Trend Micro HES, (5): Time-of-Click Web Protection

Boosting Trend’s already significant arsenal of web reputation and security solutions, Time-of-Click protection automatically rewrites URLs contained in received emails.

This means that the default action when a user clicks on these links is not to take them straight to the site concerned, but to submit that underlying site to Trend for real-time prior security and reputation analysis.

Lucky Trend automatically rewrote this URL and checked it before the recipient got taken to the site…

The delay for the user in accessing a legitimate site is fractional, but the protection against accessing non-legitimate sites is comprehensive, since no access is granted until HES has confirmed that the site is not a source of threats or reputational damage.

More on what’s new in Trend Micro HES

There’s not the space here to cover off all the detail, but suffice it to say that Trend’s latest version of HES delivers additional benefits that could enable service providers to really differentiate their offering in both existing and new accounts.

Here’s a full list – and you know where to come if you want to discuss it!