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What is Email Security Software?

Article Details
  • Written By: S. Gonzales
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 01 August 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Email security software refers to software programs that help protect a user from security threats that can arise during the transmission and receiving of email. Security threats can include the activation of viruses, spam or other forms of malware that compromise a user's privacy and the health of his or her computer system. For businesses, email security software is used, at least in part, to guard against information leaks.

Standard email security software can include antivirus, antispam and attachment filters. Aggressive scanning for viruses, spam or attachments harboring them can ensure that an inbox is kept free of security threats. Additionally, the discovery of viruses, spam or bad attachments can lead to an automatic deletion or quarantine of the files, allowing the inbox owner to continue emailing without having to worry about opening a bad file.

Features vary across software programs, but many software programs are configurable to an inbox owner's particular needs. For example, a user can configure his or her email security software to scan all incoming and outgoing email for security threats, or he or she can decide to scan only email that comes from untrusted sources. Similarly, a user can set the options so that all email is scanned from within an organization's network.

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Some email security software can control the actions of email recipients. Certain programs have customizable options that allow a user to determine how much freedom the recipient has regarding the handling of the email. For example, copying, printing and forwarding are all functions that can be enabled or disabled by the sender of the email. This allows the sender of the email control over its content, even after the email has been sent and has arrived in the recipient's inbox. Encrypting emails and attachments can make deciphering emails nearly impossible if the emails are intercepted by unwanted third parties.

Email security software is often employed by organizations and businesses. Companies that invest in email security software generally seek to safeguard confidential information about the businesses' practices, operations or plans. Trade secrets can be especially valuable to businesses that operate in highly competitive sectors. Software that can guard against leaks of information helps protect businesses and their employees.

Security software for email is often not tied to just one email client. The software can be used across a variety of clients and programs so that a user does not have to switch over to a special client for compatibility purposes. This also means that a user can continue emailing without having to make any drastic changes to his or her routines.

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