What is messaging security?
Messaging security is a subcategory of unified threat management, or UTM, focused on securing and protecting an organization's communication infrastructure. Communication channels can include email software, messaging apps and social network platforms. This extra layer of security can help secure devices and block a wider range of virus and malware attacks.
Messaging security helps ensure the confidentiality and authenticity of an organization's communication methods. Confidentiality refers to making sure only the intended recipients can read the messages, while authenticity refers to making sure the identity of each sender or recipient is verified.
Oftentimes, attackers aim to gain access to an entire network or system by infiltrating messaging infrastructure. Implementing proper messaging security can minimize the chances of data leaks and identity theft.
Features of messaging security
While a variety of messaging security tools and software products are available, their common features include the following:
- protection against advanced spam, viruses, malware and phishing;
- public key or private key message encryption;
- message filtering that is content and language independent; and
- real-time Internet Protocol (IP) address monitoring and email blocking.
Best practices for protecting messages
To ensure messaging performance and security, administrators should follow a few best practices.
First, use an IP reputation filter that checks email connection requests against a database of legitimate senders. If the sender is associated with malware or spam, the program blocks the message and drops the connection. Administrators should set up an IP allowlist to ensure trusted sources are allowed access and known malicious sources are denied.
Second, implement a combination of zero-hour and signature-based detection methods. Zero-hour detection collects a large number of messages as a reference so that any message that falls outside the pattern is flagged. This type of detection can stop outbreaks in situations where the signature is not yet available. Signature-based detection blocks spam without opening the message contents. Instead, an algorithm determines the message's signature, or fingerprint-like information that verifies its authenticity.
Editor's note: This article was written by Sarah Lewis in 2019. TechTarget editors revised it in 2023 to improve the reader experience.