7 Best Practices to Secure Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft 365 is an indispensable platform for many companies and is the world’s most popular cloud-based office productivity suite. However, this implies it is popular with hackers as well!

Most individuals do not understand that Microsoft 365 has many built-in security measures that may mitigate risk.

The trick is you need to turn them on!

Learning how to properly configure and deploy these features, coupled with employee training, is one of the best ways to defend your sensitive business information. Your employees use this platform daily, from Microsoft Teams to Outlook, so it is essential to protect this data!

Below you’ll find our top 7 methods to secure your Microsoft 365 platform, however, take note that there is no single solution that may fully protect your business.

A layered security method is the only solution to decrease your risk, so be sure you consult with an authorized Microsoft 365 consultant to get the perfect advice. First, however, let’s get you started on learning the essential security measures that you can make the most of today on your Microsoft 365 platform!

1. Set up Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)

Sometimes employees only have one way to verify their identity when logging into Office 365 – their user name and password. Unfortunately, you can’t count on all your employees to always be diligent about protecting their passwords.

Using Multi-Factor Authentication, MFA is likely one of the best and simplest methods to extend your organization’s safety. 

MFA combines two or extra components – e.g., a password, a code, a fingerprint or even a retinal scan – to confirm an individual’s identity and defend against “comfortable breaches.” That means even if a criminal can get your password, they can’t access your account without the other verification technique(s). The usual operation is a text message sent to the user’s smartphone.

Duo multi-factor authentication picture each time they attempt to log in to web-based software. That is becoming extremely popular not only with business apps but consumer apps as well. In addition, the built-in MFA option in Microsoft 365 can present mandatory protection for many companies.

It allows you to activate MFA at the user level, offering several options for the second verification method. However, remember to protect your other business applications, such as Salesforce, G-Suite, Dropbox and all the other line-of-business apps you utilize daily!

There are many MFA options in the marketplace, along with Duo and others, which can be friendly options to guard your apps past Microsoft 365.

2. Carefully Manage Your Administrative Privileges
Admin accounts are valuable targets for hackers and cybercriminals, as they embrace elevated privileges. When the accounts of customers with admin privileges are breached, the consequence is usually extra serious.

Ensure that your admins have a separate user account for daily non-administrative use and only use their admin account when needed. Moreover, restricting the variety of users with admin entry may help decrease your dangers.

Nonetheless, there are occasions when sure staff want limited-time admin access for specific tasks. Privileged Identification Management lets you decrease publicity and reduce dangers by giving you the flexibility to assign non-permanent admin standing to particular users. 

You can control access based on the user’s information and the length of time they require admin privileges. This is a great way to limit your exposure!

3. Take Advantage of Data Encryption

To ensure the safety of delicate information in storage or sent or in transit, it’s essential to implement an encryption protocol that provides confidential storage and communication.

This is particularly necessary if your company handles info similar to bank card info, social security numbers, or health data – and it’s good to meet regulatory requirements starting to apply to almost every industry.

Microsoft 365 provides many encryption capabilities by default: BitLocker for files saved on a Windows computer and TLS connections for information on OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online.

Another great function is the flexibility to send encrypted email messages to recipients outside the organization, letting them access the messages by signing in with a Microsoft account, using a Microsoft 365 account, or entering a one-time passcode.


4. Deploy Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Whether you have a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy, your workers will likely be accessing company information with their telephones, tablets or laptops, especially now that we’re all working from home.

office 365 security for mobile devices MDM

 Although you possibly can present the required training to workers, you still need to protect against eventualities similar to lost devices or someone apart from the worker getting access to the devices.

Microsoft 365 gives a built-in MDM option, which works effectively for workers accessing email via their company-issued mobile devices. 

If staff are utilizing their own devices or applications apart from email, Microsoft Intune provides you with extra management and offers additional safety.

Again, consult your IT security expert to determine which MDM solution is best for your company.


5. Create a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Policy

To comply with business standards and industry regulations, many organizations must create and maintain a DLP policy.

A DLP policy will ensure that sensitive data stays inside your group by monitoring confidential information and preventing users from sending the information to anybody outside of your organization.

You can either use one of Microsoft’s present templates that meet regulatory and compliance wants (e.g. HIPAA) – or customize your policy to specify the location of information and type of data to be protected.

With a Microsoft 365 DLP policy, you can:

Determine any document containing delicate info, equivalent to a bank card number, throughout many locations together with Trade Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams

Prevent the accidental sharing of sensitive info over email by automatically blocking the email being sent

Monitor and defend sensitive information within the desktop versions of Excel, Powerpoint and Word

Educate your staff on how to keep compliant and the way DLP may help them remain compliant by sending them notifications and policy tips

All in all, DLP is a pretty powerful strategy to defend delicate information from being accidentally leaked into the wrong hands!

6. Turn On Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)

One of the biggest cyber security threats is phishing emails, spreading ransomware through malicious links and email attachments.

Though you may provide employees phishing prevention training so they don’t click on suspicious links or attachments, you may depend on everybody being vigilant at all times.

It takes just one worker to click on one malicious link to cause irreparable harm to your sensitive data – and your reputation.

Advanced Threat Protection helps prevent these links and attachments from stepping into your employee’s inboxes in the first place.

It does this by opening them in a digital setting to verify for malicious activity before delivering the emails to the recipients.

Remember, although ATP and the rest of the Microsoft 365 security features above can drastically reduce your chances of being compromised, there is one essential function you can’t ignore.


7. Train Your Employees

Coaching end users on cyber security and establishing a strong culture of safety awareness is a vital part of layered protection.

Educating employees how to maintain passwords, acknowledge phishing emails, understand safety features on their mobiles and laptops, and most significantly, understand and log off on company security policies is an absolute must.

Security training is not a one-time; it’s an ongoing requirement.

Whether you do this in-house or outsource it, appropriately trained resources must be tasked with developing, sustaining and updating your safety insurance policies and applications, including regular employee training.

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