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AI-based Email Security

AI-based Email Security

How a leading US insurance company adopted Teneo’s AI-based Email Security, powered by Abnormal Security, to protect against email attacks and improve team productivity.

At a glance

A leading US insurance company was seeking to stay ahead of email security threats and further reduce exposure to potential business email compromise.
Teneo introduced the company to Abnormal Security, the leading behavioural AI-based security platform, that protects against the full spectrum of inbound email and email platform attacks.
Since implementation, they’ve stopped a significant number of attacks, including ransomware, Business Email Compromise (BEC) and invoice fraud, and have seen an increase in productivity of their SOC team, with less time spent manually checking emails.

About the Company

This leading US insurance company provides services to more than 1 million customers in 11 US states. With $1.1bn in revenue, the company has over 350 service centers and circa 3000 employees, offering a wide range of insurance coverage, including automobile, property, life, and business.

The company’s key stakeholder is the IT Systems Specialist Manager. Reporting to the IT Director, he and his team are responsible for maintaining the company’s servers, cloud and email infrastructure, ensuring system uptime and business continuity.

Previous way of operating & business limitations

The shift to cloud email has opened new attack channels and given rise to phishing attacks, ransomware, supply chain compromise, and account takeover. In the second quarter of 2022, for example, the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) observed 1,097,811 total phishing attacks, a new record and the worst quarter for phishing that APWG has ever seen.

To protect against email attacks, the company – which utilizes Microsoft Office 365 – previously worked with an internet service provider that offered email security as part of its package. However, the solution was not catching all potential threats and, as such, the team manually checked emails for bad actors. When the previous provider changed its package, which was more expensive and included unrequired features, the IT Systems Specialist Manager knew it was time to explore other options.

down quote up quote As an insurance company dealing with a vast amount of sensitive customer information, we needed to cut down the possibility of an attack – which could lead to financial liability, compliance violations, and reputational damage. However, our previous approach was not fit for purpose: malicious emails were still getting through. It exposed us to risk and was incredibly time- consuming to manage, putting stress on the team and taking them away from other important tasks.
IT Systems Specialist Manager

A better way forward with Teneo

Having enjoyed a trusted relationship with Teneo as a long-term AppDynamics customer, the IT Systems Specialist Manager was keen to hear about alternative email security solutions suggested by their Teneo account manager.

As well as fulfilling the key requirements of stopping email attacks and reducing the hours spent manually checking emails, the company also wanted to better understand the most common attacks in their environment to improve their security posture. It was also important that they could easily report on these attacks to enable them to share value and justify spend to upper management.

With this in mind, Teneo introduced the company to Abnormal Security, the leading behavioral AI-based security platform that protects against the full spectrum of inbound email and email platform attacks.

Integrating with Microsoft 365 (as well as Google Workspace), Abnormal’s cloud-based solution uses thousands of signals to separate legitimate messages from dangerous threats. Providing a fundamentally different approach to email security, it builds a picture of what ‘normal’ email behavior looks like based on email usage within an organization and in other Abnormal deployments worldwide.

When a new email is received, Abnormal uses its advanced behavioral analytics engine to assess if it is ‘normal’ behavior between the sender and the recipient. This enables it to catch malicious emails that traditional email gateway services miss, especially if they don’t contain attachments or links to known bad websites.

“The fact that it’s not a hosted solution was very appealing,” said the IT Systems Specialist Engineer. “It’s not an appliance we need to put between our users and Office 365. It’s inline, very fast, and very efficient.”

Having been impressed by the solution’s functionality, its simple integration with Microsoft 365, and the cost, the company initially started with a 30-day PoC. Implementation was achieved in just a few minutes via API. Immediately the platform began working in read-only mode, auditing the previous 45 days of emails to determine if any breaches had occurred and highlighting all of the active threats still sitting in the inboxes of various corporate email users.

During the 30-day PoC, Abnormal identified in excess of 700 potential attacks, spanning Malware/ Ransomware, credential phishing, Business Email Compromise (BEC), extortion, scam, and invoice fraud.

Abnormal also identified a successful phishing email attack during the PoC, where an employee had fallen victim to a scam when selling a purse online. Unfortunately, as the breach had already occurred before the PoC, the employee lost quite a lot of money.

Following the PoC, the company instructed full implementation in April 2022. Since then, the company has seen a significant reduction in risk and an 8 – 9% reduction in time spent looking for phishing attacks. This has improved team productivity, allowing them to free up their time to concentrate on other important activities.

“In the long term, we expect to continue to see a reduction of risk,” said the IT Systems Specialist Manager. “That’s the benefit of AI-based security: it’s not a stagnant system that works with hard-set rules. The system continually improves, grows, learns, and adapts to employee behavior over time. Of course, letting our guard down completely would not be prudent, but we have that safety net, which helps our team save time with confidence that the solution is catching malicious emails.”

down quote up quote Setting up the PoC was a very smooth process; the guys at Teneo made it easy. But it was more than just a PoC. Teneo was behind the scenes showing us what the system could do if it was live and would call if something unusual happened to let us know if it was something we needed to follow up on. They brought huge added value to the process.
IT Systems Specialist Manager

Solution value

The company’s IT team has built a strong partnership with Teneo, holding regular meetings to discuss their progress and challenges with Teneo’s team of seasoned experts. Teneo’s Strategic Account Manager also brokers their relationship with Abnormal.

down quote up quote Our relationship with Teneo is great, and they work on building it, which is so important. We don’t just want to buy a product, implement it, and renew it – we want a two-way relationship, and that’s exactly what we get with Teneo. Their knowledge is exceptional, and we can breathe a little easier knowing we have a partner to rely on.
IT Systems Specialist Manager

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