Is your business able to protect itself from email attacks?

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Email-based attacks are having a major impact on businesses according to a new report from Barracuda which highlights the evolving challenges faced by IT security professionals.

The report, titled "2019 Email Security Trends" surveyed 660 executives, individual contributors and team managers serving in IT-security roles in the Americas, EMEA and APAC. To compile its report, Barracuda surveyed small, mid-sized and enterprise businesses across a wide range of industries including technology, financial services, education, healthcare, manufacturing, government, telecommunications, retail and others.

The firm asked respondents a series of questions aimed at capturing hard data regarding phishing, insider threats and Office 365 as well as insights related to business impacts, security spending and the cost of data breaches.

While most IT professionals are more confident about their email security systems than they were a year ago, Barracuda's research shows that email attacks continue to have a significant impact on businesses.

Email attacks

Of those surveyed, 74 percent said that email attacks are having a major impact on their businesses with the most common effects cited being loss of employee productivity, downtime and business disruption and damage to IT team's reputations.

Email security is a growing concern for IT professionals and nearly three-quarters of respondents reported experiencing higher stress levels, worrying about email security even while out of the office and being forced to work nights and weekends to address email security issues. Phishing and ransomware remain top concerns for businesses and 43 percent of organizations reported falling victim to a spear-phishing attack during the past 12 months.

Barracuda's report also revealed that 78 percent of organizations believe the cost of email breaches are increasing with 66 percent claiming email attacks had a direct monetary cost on their organization in the past year.

Employees remain a major weak link in the security defenses of organizations and more than three-quarters of organizations said that their employees aren't good at spotting suspicious emails.

While email-based attacks are a big concern for businesses, there are growing concerns about insider threats and Office 365. Of those surveyed, 79 percent of IT professionals said they are worried about attacks and breaches occurring within their organization while 92 percent of Office 365 users have security concerns.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.