Gartner Research

How to Build an Effective Email Security Architecture

Published: 14 June 2018

ID: G00352350

Analyst(s): Patrick Hevesi , Mario de Boer


Email is the most commonly used channel for both opportunistic and targeted attacks on client endpoints. This assessment analyzes how technical professionals can use email security technologies to protect against attacks such as business email compromise, advanced malware, phishing and spoofing.

Table Of Contents


  • Countermeasures to Email Security Threats


  • Email Threat Techniques and Methods
  • Why Attackers Use Email
  • Email Security Architecture
    • Secure Email Gateway
    • Email Service Security
    • Integrated Email Security Solutions
    • Anti-Phishing Behavior Management
    • Email Authentication
    • Brand Protection
    • Endpoint Security
    • Additional Components
  • Detailed Countermeasures to Email Threat Techniques
    • Phase No. 1: Target Identification — Don't Be an Obvious Target
    • Phase No. 2: Countering Infrastructure/Preparation by Hardening Your Email Infrastructure
    • Phase No. 3: Anti-Spoofing to Counter Identity Deception
    • Phase No. 4: Protection Against Nefarious Messages
    • Phase No. 5: Thwarting the Attacker's Objective With Postdelivery Protection
    • Actions: Options for Disruptions
  • The Impact of Cloud and Mobile on Email Security


  • Design an Email Security Architecture in Light of Modern Email Threats
  • Enforce Policies to Lock Down the Delivery of Attachments and URLs
  • Implement Email Authentication
  • Protect Your Email Servers and Inboxes
  • Prefer Solutions That Use Anomaly Detection

The Details

  • Dissecting Four Common Email Threats
    • Example Threat No. 1: Ransomware Spreading Through Spam
    • Example Threat No. 2: Business Email Compromise
    • Example Threat No. 3: Scammers Spoofing Your Domain Externally
    • Example Threat No. 4: O365 Account Takeover Through Credential Phishing

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