This year has not been kind to Microsoft Exchange users - thousands of businesses using Exchange have been the victims of cyberattacks exploiting major holes in Microsoft's email server software. These troubling events have led to emails being stolen by attackers, prompting Microsoft to respond with emergency security updates to address the security holes found in the software. While Microsoft has worked to address the security flaws in its email software, attacks are being carried out daily. Many Exchange users are running Servers that have not yet applied the security patch deployed by Microsoft.

Security holes in Microsoft Exchange lead to massive cyberattacks

Widespread attacks by an alleged state-sponsored group from China were unveiled in late March 2021, with a number of zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange being specifically targeted. Microsoft is said to have learned of these vulnerabilities in early January, around the same time the attacks may have started. Microsoft patched the vulnerabilities in early March, but it was too late - the tech giant announced that same month that attackers had exploited these security bugs, obtaining Exchange credentials and gaining access to thousands of business email servers.

Since rolling out the patches, Microsoft has urged its users and administrators to apply security fixes to ensure that their Exchange Server is protected from future attacks. Unfortunately, these same users may have also had their Servers compromised or backdoored prior to the security patch rollout. In response to this very real problem, Microsoft followed up by releasing a script on GitHub which admins can run to detect indicators of compromise. A single-click tool has even been introduced to help Exchange users mitigate risks to their Servers - especially useful to companies without dedicated cybersecurity or IT teams to oversee these things.

Unfortunately, not every organization running Microsoft Exchange Servers have successfully applied the security patches, meaning that thousands of users are still operating within vulnerable versions of Exchange. As of late March, it was believed that only about half of affected users had applied the security patch, essentially giving free rein to cybercriminals looking to exploit well-known security holes in Exchange Servers. Additionally, many businesses are still running legacy editions of Exchange which Microsoft has long since stopped supporting, leaving these internet-connected servers vulnerable to attacks.

The solution to your security woes

Recent attacks have made it clear there is a fundamental flaw to the on-premise server approach. A few minor "security bugs" let cyberattacks gain access to sensitive email Servers and may end up costing organizations large sums of money. The solution is to look towards an email solution with security at its core. Gmail, backed by the might of Google's security infrastructure, is the most secure email client available to businesses. Google's popular email platform is part of Google Workspace, which features ISO/IEC 27701 certification - the first office suite to be granted this certification.

In addition to industry-leading certification, Google admins have access to the Google Admin console's powerful security center, where they gain total visibility into the security of the domain. Through the security center, admins can identify and triage threats as they arise, see when accounts or devices have been compromised and take instant action, and use the investigation tool to take action on privacy and security issues within your domain. The security center is one of the most powerful tools offered to Google admins, making it easier than ever before to check up on the health of your organization's cloud security and take immediate action when needed.

Gmail users also have access to the Security Checkup, which can be used to identify when passwords have been compromised, when suspicious devices have recently signed into accounts, and which third-party apps have access to your inbox. The Security Checkup feature can also be used to activate 2-Step Verification and manage other sensitive Gmail settings easily. In addition to the many security features offered by Gmail and Google Workspace, organizations will never again have to worry that their email server is outdated - with a cloud email platform, you always have the most up-to-date version.

When it comes to security, your organization should never settle for anything less than perfect. Recent attacks targeted at Microsoft Exchange users have made it clear that running these Servers may be too risky. A viable alternative exists in the form of Gmail, part of Google Workspace, which is backed by industry-first certification and features a wide array of security features for administrators and users alike so your entire team can identify, control, and take action against cyberattacks before they happen.

UpCurve Cloud is a trusted Google Cloud Premier Partner with a full team of Google certified deployment engineers, trainers, and consultants ready to help your business take back control of its cybersecurity. To schedule a consultation with one of our experts, get in touch with us today.

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