Study indicates email attacks are having a major impact on businesses

Global research report reveals evolving challenges for IT security professionals.

Barracuda today released key findings from a report with the title 2019 Email Security Trends. Commissioned by Barracuda, the research surveyed global IT stakeholders to capture their experiences and attitudes about the current state of email security.

The survey includes responses from 660 executives, individual contributors and team managers serving in IT-security roles in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. Companies surveyed include small, mid-sized, and enterprise businesses in technology, financial services, education, healthcare, manufacturing, government, telecommunication, retail, and other industries. A wide range of questions captured hard data about phishing, insider threats and Office 365, as well as the related business impacts, security spending and costs of breaches.

Overall, the study indicates that while most IT professionals are more confident about their email security systems than they were a year ago, email attacks continue to have a significant impact on businesses. Highlights include:

1. Email attacks are having a direct business impact— and impacting the personal lives of IT security professionals. 74% of respondents said that email attacks are having a major impact on their businesses.

The most common effects cited were loss of employee productivity, downtime and business disruption, and damage to the reputation of the IT team. Nearly three-quarters of respondents reported experiencing higher stress levels, worrying about potential email security even when they’re not at work, and being forced to work nights and weekends to address email security issues.

2. Phishing and ransomware are top concerns.

43% of organizations have been the victim of a spear-phishing attack in the past 12 months.

3. Breach costs and monetary losses are on the rise.

78% of organizations said that the cost of email breaches is increasing. 66% claimed that attacks have had a direct monetary cost on their organization in the past year. Nearly a quarter of respondents advised that attacks have cost their organization $100,000 or more.

4. Employees remain a major weak link in an organization’s security defenses.

More than three-quarters of organizations said their employees aren’t good at spotting suspicious emails.

5. There are growing concerns about insider threats and Office 365.

79% of IT professionals said they are worried about attacks and breaches stemming from inside the organization. 92% of Office 365 users have security concerns.

Based on the success and proliferation of email-based attacks, IT security professionals will need to stay focused on the evolution and escalation of phishing, ransomware, and other threats and improve email security that goes beyond the traditional gateway. Barracuda offers a broad solution against email-borne targeted attacks and social engineering.

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