Email presents a security weakness. Attachments can contain malware and phishing scams can trick employees into disclosing passwords. Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in getting into business networks through email, so you need to lock down that security weakness.
Email monitoring software has developed in pace with threats, so now there are some very sophisticated email protection systems on the market. Failure to monitor email can lose your company data protection standards accreditation and that can be a threat to winning new business. So, this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
Here is our list of the best email monitoring software:
- N-able Mail Assure EDITOR’S CHOICE This cloud-based email security and archiving package is structured for use by managed service providers when protecting the systems of their clients. Access a 30-day free trial.
- Trustifi Inbound Shield (ACCESS DEMO) A scanner for malicious content in emails that also checks links and attachments. This is a cloud-based service that integrates into mail servers with a plug-in.
- Teramind Email Monitoring Part of the Teramind user monitoring suite of services, this tool monitors both incoming and outgoing emails for malicious activity.
- Mimecast Secure Email Gateway This cloud-based email protection system roots out malware and phishing attempts.
- Proofpoint Essentials Online security system aimed at SMB. Protects email and social media accounts.
- SolarWinds Spam Experts Aimed at ISPs and web hosting companies, this on-premises software adds an extra security service to clients.
- Topsec Email Security Blocks spam, viruses, malware, and ransomware, identifies phishing, and quarantines questionable email content.
- Barracuda Email Security Gateway A hardware-based email that blocks incoming threats and outgoing data theft attempts. A cloud-based version is also available.
- Zerospam A cloud anti-spam system that filters out phishing and malware attempts.
- SpamTitan Online service that blocks spam, malicious links, phishing, malware, and spyware.
- modusCloud Cloud-based protection for Microsoft Outlook and Office 365. Includes archiving and email encryption as well as spam, phishing, malware, and link filtering.
- Hornetsecurity Spam and Malware Protection An online email filter that blocks spam and malware.
- Sophos Email Security Cloud-based email security solution that uses AI to block phishing attempts as well as spam and malware.
The number of email monitoring systems available has exploded in recent years, so it can take a lot of time to research the industry to find the right solution for your business. We have cut down the time that the task will take you by identifying the best email security monitoring tools available today.
The best email monitoring software
All of these solutions are cloud-based while a couple also offers an appliance-resident alternative.
Our methodology for selecting an email monitoring package
We reviewed the market for email monitoring software and analyzed tools based on the following criteria:
- Spam filters and customizable content filtering rules
- Blocks on malware
- Phishing attempt detection
- Scanning of URLs embedded in emails
- Attachment sandboxing
- A free trial or a demo for a no-risk assessment period
- Value for money is represented by a comprehensive tool offered at a fair price
With these selection criteria in mind, we have investigated a selection of tools that are excellent at monitoring emails.
SolarWinds has two email security solutions on our list. The first is a cloud-based service offered by the N-able division. N-able Mail Assure is marketed as a service that MSPs can add on as an extra income stream to offer to clients, but there is nothing stopping companies from subscribing to the service directly.
- Designed for MSPs
- Email traffic monitoring
- Spam filter
- Content blocking rules
- Email archiving
The email filtering service is complemented by an archiving facility. The company maintains a threat database from the experiences gleaned from serving all of its clients. The threat database is just one technique that Mail Assure uses to block threats. This analysis means that the system is able to detect phishing and impersonation attempts as well as root out malicious links, malware, spoofing, and spam. The system also examines outbound mail for data disclosure.
- Based in the cloud, no surprise infrastructure costs
- Designed for MSPs and multi-tenant use
- If self-learning, and uses data collected internally to improve threat detection
- Supports protection for cloud-hosted email servers
- The platform has many features which will require time to fully explore
The N-able Mail Assure is able to protect cloud-based mail servers, such as Office 365 as well as your own on-premises mail servers. The company is cagey about its prices and each potential customer needs to contact the sales team for a customized quote. However, you can get a 30-day free trial first to put the system to the test.
N-able Mail Assure is our top pick for an email monitoring system because it provides active protection against scams and data theft as well as performance monitoring. This service provides throughput and delivery statistics as well as implementing security services. This means that it can be used for volume-based analysis and reporting in addition to protection against ransomware, phishing attempts, data theft, and policy violations. The multi-tenant architecture of this cloud-based system means that it is ideal for use by managed service providers and can be priced through as an add-on service for clients.
Official Site: https://www.n-able.com/products/mail-assure/trial
OS: Cloud based
Trustifi Inbound Shield is one of three modules offered by Trustifi, all of which monitor emails for malicious activity. The other two units available are Outbound Shield, which is a data loss prevention system, and Account Compromise Detection, which looks for account takeover. All three modules are hosted on the cloud.
The Trustifi system integrates into email servers through a plug-in. This is available for on-premises mail servers and also for Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
- Looks for malware in email bodies and attachments
- Roots out spam emails
- Spots masquerading
Inbound Shield uses AI-based routines to spot impersonation and spoofing. It can also identify spam by looking at the contents. This method is supplemented by a blacklist of known spam email sources. The system checks links in email bodies for fake and infected sites.
The protection system extends to attachments. Emails and attachments that are suspicious can be held back and quarantined for investigation. The exact actions performed by the Trustifi system can be adapted according to your wishes, expressed in the settings of your account.
- Easy-to-install with an API
- Spots and blocks emails and attachments containing malware
- Identifies spam emails and masquerading
- Validates links contained in emails
- Would prefer access to a free trial.
The Trustifi service can be adapted by applying security policies. These are available as templates that can be applied or they can be created individually. There are templates in the Trustifi library that create compliance with specific data protection standards, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and GDPR. You can request a quote and access a free demo.
Teramind is an insider threat protection system that can be accessed as a cloud service or installed as on-premises software. The Teramind system is available in three editions: Starter, UAM, and DLP. The email monitoring system is included in the UAM and DLP packages.
- Monitors outgoing emails
- Blocks data transfers
- Includes a range of data controls
- Insider threat detection
As an employee monitoring system, this email threat detector is completely different from all of the other email protection services on this list. Rather than looking for spam and phishing, this system blocks disclosure. So, if a phishing email comes in, the response containing a password gets blocked rather than the original scam request.
The main focus of this email tool is to prevent data disclosure in outgoing emails. As an extra feature, not included with the other systems in this list, this service detects subterfuge and employee sabotage. The service can also measure response times of client-facing staff to incoming customer emails.
- Great user interface – simple to navigate and learn
- Highly visual reporting and real-time monitoring
- Built with compliance in mind
- Goes beyond email monitoring with options for actively monitoring and keylogging
- Platform tries to do it all which can be overwhelming for those who only wish to use one or two features
- Some features like keylogging can be invasive
- Steep learning curve during implementation
Both the on-premises software and the hosted service are priced on a subscription basis with charges levied per month per monitored endpoint. Bills can be paid monthly or annually. However, charges have to be paid in advance. Customers paying annually get two months for free. All cloud-based editions are available on 7-day free trials and Teramind’s on-premises software can be had on a 14-day free trial for any edition.
The Mimecast Secure Email Gateway scans all incoming emails for malicious URLs, infected attachments and other malware intrusion tactics. It is also able to spot spam, phishing scams, and impersonators. Mimecast compiles a live threat intelligence database from records of previous attacks experienced by all of its customers and the gateway references this information source as it processes each incoming email.
- Email security monitoring
- Blocks malware
- Identifies phishing attempts
The detection system used by Mimecast is a hybrid of many different scanning measures. The email filter uses pattern detection as well as threat intelligence. These autonomous detection methods aim at spotting zero-day attacks that have yet to be recorded in the threat intelligence database. Mimecast references DNS servers to authenticate the domains on the addresses in incoming emails against the IP address of origin. This enables the system to spot spoofing attempts and block the emails of those fake senders.
- Acts as a full email gateway for completely mail security
- Uses pattern recognition and behavior analysis to detect unregistered threats
- Can help identify traffic not using proper DNS security measures (DKIM, SPF, DMARC)
- Only available as a SaaS
- Admin console could be made easier to use
- Whitelisting could be made more user friendly
The Mimecast Secure Email Gateway is delivered on a Software-as-a-Service model, so you don’t need to install any software. While most of the services on this list are aimed at SMBs, Mimecast is definitely suitable for large organizations.
Proofpoint Essentials is a complete email solution that includes archiving and social media protection as well as email filtering. This is a cloud-based service that is charged on a subscription model. This solution is aimed at small and middle-sized businesses.
- Security monitoring for email and social media
- Archiving and recovery
- Threat intelligence
Another bonus included in Proofpoint Essential is a continuity service. This provides a hosted replacement for your regular email service should your email server go down or get damaged. The email archiving service can store emails for up to 10 years.
Email protection includes a threat intelligence database, URL validation, spam protection, and malware filtering. The system can protect cloud-based email systems as well as on-premises mail servers.
- Combines email archiving and security into one package
- Can retain emails for up to 10 years, great for compliance
- Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses
- Offers URL validation to help stop phishing attempts
- Could use more customization options
- Would like to see an encryption feature added to help companies comply with standards such as HIPAA
You can get a 30-day free trial of Proofpoint Essentials, but you will have to meet a sales representative in order to get it. The company doesn’t reveal its prices online.
Spam Experts is the second SolarWinds email protection system that we recommend. This has a completely different target market to Mail Assure. This email protection system is offered to ISPs and web hosts so that they can improve their services to their customers. Another incentive for hosting companies to implement this protection is that a malicious email on a hosted system could damage that network as well as the customer.
- Aimed at ISPs and Web hosts
- Includes a spam filter
- Monitors both inbound and outbound traffic
The email filtering procedures cover both inbound and outbound emails. Inbound emails are checked for spam, malware, and phishing content, while outbound emails are checked for data disclosure. Malicious threats are detected by reference to a central threat intelligence database that SolarWinds maintains by recording events encountered by its customers around the world. The package also includes an email archiving service.
- Designed specifically for MSPs and ISPs
- Cloud-based service makes scaling easy, great for new service providers
- Supports email archival
- Supports many multi-tenant options
- Misconfiguration could lead to large-scale email outages
- Could be made easier to navigate
The service is cloud-based, so there is no need to install any software. The pricing is kept private and is only disclosed per customer by a sales agent. You can get a no-obligation 30-day free trial of Spam Experts.
Topsec Email Security is a web-based service that checks both inbound and outbound emails. Inbound emails are filtered to strip out malware and spam. Companies can also implement policies over email content, and block those that have illicit content from reaching their destinations. It also scans all attachments for malicious content.
- Cloud-based service
- Monitors both inbound and outbound emails
- Archiving add-on available
As the Email Security system is an edge service, all of this activity takes place away from the network. Thus, the Topsec Email Security system reduces traffic on your own network and also lessens the load on your email server.
The reduction of spam also improves worker productivity because each employee spends less time scanning through spam emails.
Topsec offers a number of add-on services that will enhance your email system. These include mail archiving and a continuity service that will provide a secondary host for your mailboxes if your main email server goes down or gets damaged.
- Completely web-based service makes onboarding easy
- Acts as an edge service, redirecting mail flow for processing
- Doesn’t overwhelm you with features, additional services comes as optional add-ons
- Filtering can be time-consuming, would like to see more bulk configuration options
- Make it easier to release emails from spam
The Topsec price list is only available to potential customers who contact the sales office. However, it is possible to get a 30-day free trial of the system to try before buying.
Barracuda Email Security Gateway is a physical appliance that plugs into your network. The full service also involves remote elements provided by Barracuda, so this is a hybrid cloud/appliance solution.
- Implemented as a physical appliance
- Covers on-site and cloud-based email systems
- Offers encryption for emails
The appliance gathers all of your inbound email traffic before it hits the network, so it is able to absorb DDoS attacks as well as blocking malicious emails. The email filtering system will strip out viruses, spam, phishing attempts, and infected attachments.
The service also includes email encryption for security and a stand-in email server in case your own mail server becomes unavailable. Outbound content checking looks for unwanted data disclosure to enable your business to stay in compliance with data protection standards.
If you don’t want to have to install a physical piece of equipment, you can opt to get the email security gateway as a virtual appliance or as software that you can run on your own virtual servers in AWS or Azure.
- Flexible deployment options include on-premise, cloud, and hybrid cloud configurations
- Can redirect DDoS attacks away from network infrastructure
- Includes email encryption for added security
- Would like to see more data visualization in the interface for NOCs
- Port mapping feature could be made more user friendly
There is a hosted cloud-based version of this service, which is called Barracuda Essentials. Barracuda Networks makes the Email Security Gateway available on a free trial for evaluation.
Zerospam is a cloud-based email security system. The service acts as a front-end for your email server and also stands-in for it whenever it is unavailable. All incoming email first passes through Zerospam, which filters out spam, malware, and phishing attempts and absorbs DDoS attacks.
- Email security
- Spam and malware filters
- Monitors both inbound and outbound emails
The Zerospam system also includes outbound email monitoring to block data disclosure and identify insider threats. The outbound email service will also encrypt emails that contain sensitive data.
- Lightweight cloud-based service
- Can scan outbound emails for data leaks and insider threats
- Can absorb DDoS attacks
- Could use better visualizations for monitoring
- Service can sometimes release emails slowly, causing a delay
Zerospam offers a 30-day free trial of the email protection system.
SpamTitan is a product of TitanHQ. Its main activities block spam, malware, infected attachments, malicious links, and phishing attempts. The service also performs recipient verification and scanning of outbound emails to prevent data disclosure. The system deploys AI-based predictive technology to spot zero-day attacks without relying on a threat intelligence database.
- Spam, malware, and phishing blocker
- Correspondent verification
- Attachment sandboxing
The service is created through several different security tactics, which include the use of blacklists that automatically block emails that arrive from known hacker and scammer addresses. The system is able to spot spoofing and includes sandboxing to protect against advanced email attacks. The service can also be set to implement your company’s content policies, blocking emails that contain inappropriate text or images.
- The dashboard is simple, yet informative with key email metrics
- Provides protection against both malicious links and attachments
- Can “detonate” payloads in a sandbox environment to uncover hidden viruses
- Not ideal for resellers or MSPs
- Would like to see 2FA as an enforced option
- Outlook plugin can cause Outlook to crash on occasions
TitanHQ offers SpamTitan on a free trial.
Vircom offers a range of email security systems, including modusCloud, which is a cloud-based system. The company’s on-premises equivalent is called modusGate. The modusCloud system will block spam and also phishing attempts. It seeks out malware hidden within email and attachments and verifies links in emails to ensure that they do not lead to infected or fake web pages.
- Delivered from the Cloud
- Blocks spam and phishing attacks
- Blocks malware
Other services from Vircom can be added to the modusCloud package to provide a full email protection service. These extra services include content filtering to enforce company policies. The cloud service can also provide continuity email servers in case your own server goes down. Another extra that can be added is an email archiving service. Email encryption for the transmission of sensitive data is another option.
- Simple interface makes it easy to spot patterns and issues quickly
- Provides link verification and attachment scanning
- Offers email archiving alongside email monitoring
- Can take some time to train the system to reduce false positives
HornetSecurity’s Spam and Malware Protection is a cloud-based service. The company boasts the highest spam detection rate in the industry, filtering out 99.99 percent of all spam. Hornetsecurity points out that 50 percent of all the world’s emails are spam and so blocking these before they get to your network seriously reduces the traffic that it has to deal with, freeing up capacity for productive activity.
- Spam and phishing filters
- Malware blocking
The email security service is also able to spot phishing attempts and block them. All email-borne malware whether in the email body, in images, or in attached documents. It will also detect links that lead to false or infected web pages. The service provides effective DDoS protection for your email servers.
Hornetsecurity ensures that the link between its cloud system and your home network cannot be interfered with or spied on by encrypting traffic in either direction. Spam and malware filters are also applied to outbound traffic.
- Operates solely in the cloud, making it easy to scale
- Stops phishing attempts as well as spoofed domain attacks
- Maintains a robust threat database to provide up to date scanning
- Supports multi-tenant usage
- Support could use improvement, specifically faster response times
- Would like to see more knowledgebase articles for new users
Sophos is one of the world’s leading cybersecurity companies and its Email Security product is very powerful. This protection system is available as an appliance, a virtual machine, or as a cloud service. The Email Security service controls both inbound and outbound emails. Inbound traffic gets checked for spam and viruses and outbound filters apply data loss prevention strategies.
- Implemented as a device, a virtual device, or a cloud platform
- Monitors email systems on-site and on the cloud
- Implements data loss prevention
While the appliance protects your on-premises email server, the cloud service can protect your own email server on-site and also cloud-based servers, such as Office 365. The service also includes email and/or attachment encryption and phishing defenses.
- Can install virtually, on-premise, or in the cloud
- Provides protection from inbound and outbound threats
- Can recover lost emails, acting as a DLP tool as well
- Would like to see better Active Directory integrations, supporting the removal of users
- Reporting feels canned, not much customization
- Would like to see more integration options
Sophos offers Email security on a 30-day free trial.
Choosing email monitoring software
Your decision to monitor your company’s email will be driven by a need for spam filtering, data loss protection, or both. Your security priorities will dictate which of these products suit you best. You might also consider whether an appliance would be of more interest to you or whether you think that you would prefer an edge service cloud solution.
The options on our list of recommendations are all excellent email security services. Whichever you choose, getting protection from attack or data theft through email should be your priority.
Email monitoring software FAQs
How do I monitor email activity?
All emails pass through your email server and so that is the place to implement email monitoring – for both performance and security monitoring. You don’t need to monitor email clients, but you do need to ensure that your users don’t have clients that communicate with external email servers. As long as you have your corporate email activity locked down to run through your own central server, you can implement data loss prevention by scanning outgoing emails, and cybersecurity protection by scanning incoming emails.
What is e mail monitoring?
Email monitoring operates both performance checks for email servers and security monitoring for cyber protection. Performance monitoring needs to ensure that your mail service keeps running efficiently and cyber protection blocks malware and scams and also data disclosure. Some email monitoring packages operate as plug-ins for your email server and they have integration procedures built into their service dashboards to make adoption easy. Other email monitoring systems work as proxy services and run on the cloud, catching all of your inbound and outbound email traffic.
Can emails be monitored?
Legally, all work emails can be monitored by the business. While private emails can’t legally be monitored by the company’s IT department, the use of corporate resources for private use can be blocked. It is important to prevent employees from using their own email accounts at work because they could be used for data theft and also indicates that workers are not focused on their jobs.