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New Survey from ESG Reveals Trends Shaping Communication and Collaboration Application Security

More than two thirds of IT and security leaders are concerned that attackers are leveraging communication and collaboration channels beyond email to evade security controls

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SAN FRANCISCO, May 2, 2023 - Abnormal Security, the leading behavioral AI-based email security platform, announced today the results of a new report, The Freedom to Communicate and Collaborate: Challenges in Securing an Overabundance of Tools. The report is based on a survey commissioned by Abnormal and conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), capturing responses from nearly 500 IT and cybersecurity professionals about how their organizations are responding to the emerging threat vectors created by the rise of cloud-based communication and collaboration applications.

As more companies shifted to distributed and remote working models, these organizations now depend on additional methods of digital communication beyond email. According to the survey results, 47% of respondents are currently using six to ten communication and collaboration tools at once, with video conferencing ranking as the most used tool (80%), followed by email (77%) and messaging (71%).

Despite the productivity benefits that these tools provide, they are not without risk. In contrast, they are increasingly becoming attractive targets for threat actors looking for new paths into an organization. The survey findings revealed that:

  • More than two-thirds of respondents are concerned that attackers are leveraging communication and collaboration channels beyond email to evade security controls.

  • More than half of respondents reported weekly or even daily social engineering attacks across multiple tools.

  • Ransomware, phishing, and malware deployment were the top three threats that leaders are concerned will be exposed through their communication and collaboration tools.

“The rise of additional cloud-based communication and collaboration channels provides new opportunities for socially-engineered attacks to evade traditional security controls,” said Dave Gruber, principal analyst at ESG. “Most are the same types of attacks that were previously targeted at email, creating an opportunity to extend and leverage proven email security controls with an expanded view across multiple channels.”

The good news is that organizations are focused on strengthening all communication

and collaboration channels collectively, including email. More than a quarter (27%)

consider strengthening security controls across multiple communication and collaboration

channels their top priority relative to other security threat vectors, with another 54%

classifying it as a top three priority.

“Email is no longer the sole communication channel in most organizations, and cybercriminals know this,” said Mike Britton, chief information security officer at Abnormal. “IT and security leaders need to ensure they’re employing scalable threat detection capabilities beyond the email inbox, and this is precisely what Abnormal is delivering today. Now, customers can have comprehensive protection across their broader communications landscape to prevent multi-channel attacks and those that target collaboration platforms for their initial entry.”

To see all the results from the survey, download the full report from ESG here.

To learn more about Abnormal’s new products, focused on expanding email-like security detection to Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, read the latest product announcement here.

About Abnormal Security

Abnormal Security provides the leading behavioral AI-based email security platform that leverages machine learning to stop sophisticated inbound email attacks and dangerous email platform attacks that evade traditional solutions. The anomaly detection engine leverages identity and context to analyze the risk of every cloud email event, preventing inbound email attacks, detecting compromised accounts, and remediating emails and messages —all while providing visibility into configuration drifts across your environment. You can deploy Abnormal in minutes with an API integration for Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace and experience the full value of the platform instantly, with additional protection available for Slack, Teams, and Zoom. More information is available at

Media Contact

Jade Hill

Director of Communications

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