The Role of ISPs in Email Security

Rui Serra By Rui Serra • June 2, 2017

The (logical) security perspective, for quite some time, governments and the private sector have been discussing how active Telcos and ISPs should be in securing the Internet space.

There are many recent examples of this. Even this year, the Australian government is considering legislation that would require Internet Service Providers to protect users from malware. In the past, initiatives such as the Botfrei (Germany) proved very successful in protecting end users from this threat.

The assumption is very simple: the Internet, the wonderful worldwide ecosystem of interconnected network really has no centralized authority; however at the country level, ISPs and Telcos are the exclusive entities providing the access to the World Wide Web, including, transit, connectivity, and services on top, for servers, desktops, mobile and IoT devices.

So, what better place to protect users and organizations from external threats then directly at the doorway. 

Moreover, ISPs and Telcos usually have the means and the ability to prevent malware - unlike end users and SMBs which generally don’t have the resources. According to Keeper Security’s “The State of SMB Cybersecurity” report, a staggering 55% of small and midsized organizations reported suffering at least one cyberattack in the last 12 months. IT consolidation and modernization are required to combat the worsening security landscape rife with data breaches, record compromise and loss at mass scale, ransomware, and other threats.


The Business Perspective

With heightened competition in the Telco space, other organizations are now providing technology covering some of the services that traditional Telcos and ISPs provide. Now almost all ISPs and Telcos are leveraging their infrastructure and network services to provide other Business and Operational services on top: storage, email services, cloud hosting and security.

It is not only a question of survival, but also related to the unique positioning of Telcos, as the gatekeepers of internet, and the first providers of broadband and triple play services, among other things.

For an SMB, being able to rely on a trusted ISP, Telco, or even an MSSP to handle email security would be a viable alternative, considering that these organizations have a nationwide visibility on the threat landscape (and use this to improve the filtering). Going forward, this can allow SMBs to rely less on standalone Cyber Security providers with low market penetration.

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