Microsoft Corporation

12 Strategies to Secure Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft 365 is the go-to, cloud-based productivity platform for businesses across the globe. It offers go-anywhere workflow and collaboration capability that hasn’t been available in the past.

The only hesitancy that business owners have is, “How do I make sure that my data and my clients’ confidential information is safe while using Microsoft 365?”

It’s a fair question … and one that has been around a while.

Business leaders have been skeptical over the years of the “cloud,” but with cloud adoption on the rise and the pandemic forcing at-home work, the fears of the cloud have been overcome.

The truth is that your data is significantly more secure in a well-governed data center than it is on a server at your place of business.

But still, you want to make sure that Microsoft 365 doesn’t pose a security risk for your business … right?

In this article, we’ll give you 12 strategies to secure Microsoft 365.

Let’s get started!

#1 – Microsoft Secure Score

Microsoft has an analytics tool called “Microsoft Secure Score” which gives you a “score” reflecting your organization’s security posture using Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Secure Score considers factors such as user activity and 365 configurations to deliver a security snapshot within a user-friendly dashboard.

 Alongside this “Secure Score” comes a list of recommended steps to further improve your security. It’s essential to act upon those recommendations and work to improve your “Secure Score”

#2 – Multifactor Authentication

Multifactor authentication is used throughout the industry and serves as a failsafe method of identity confirmation. 

Instead of merely using a username and password, which could be easily hacked, Microsoft 365 adds on a security layer using one of your devices.

When using multifactor authentication, your username and password will trigger a text to your phone or an email to your email address. A code within that text or email allows you to access your Microsoft 365 account and apps.

#3 – Alerts by Email

When you dive into the Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Center, you will find alerts configurations.

Alerts can be set up to make you aware of anomalies that could indicate a security issue. Usually, arranged alerts go to your Systems Administrator, where they can review and address any potential issue proactively.

#4 – Admin Accounts Only for Admin Tasks

It’s tempting to think of “streamlining” and have your IT staffer to use an admin account for everyday work tasks.

However, this isn’t recommended, and your admin should have separate accounts for daily workflow and admin only tasks. This separation of accounts helps reduce risk if their everyday workflow account becomes compromised.

#5 – SharePoint and OneDrive Sharing Precautions

The default settings in Microsoft 365 are not sufficient when it comes to collaboration outside your organization. Organizational policies need to be reviewed and updated to reflect the dangers inherent in sharing to unsecured domains.

Your settings should be configured for sharing only with trusted domains. Also, SharePoint can be set up to provide public-facing information in conjunction with link expiration dates, so the data is only available for access/use for a limited time.

#6 – Mail Transport Rules

One of the dangers with email is the potential of a bad actor gaining access to your account and forwarding everything in your inbox to another address without your knowledge.

The Mail Transport Rules allow you to disable the auto-forwarding of email, and helps you keep the vital data contained in your emails in-house.

#7 – ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) for Email Attachments

Microsoft knows that sometimes your staff gets forgetful and can accidentally click on a malicious email attachment, allowing the bad guys access to your systems.

This can be avoided.

Microsoft 365 has a “sandbox” environment where the Advanced Threat Protection function reviews any suspicious email attachments before they’re delivered to your employees’ inbox.

#8 – ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) Safe Links

In close relation to the suspicious attachments that we have just mentioned are the suspicious links within emails.

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection has URL verification that covers both links within Microsoft 365 files and emails. An admin can set up auto-verification of these links to protect your systems and data.

#9 – Role-Based Access

Not everyone within your organization should have access to every workstation or file inside its IT ecosystem.

Specifically within Microsoft 365, role-based access – set up by your Microsoft 365 admin – is a set of IT rules that gives employees permissions based on their legitimate work need for access to a specific database or file.

#10 – Mailbox Auditing

Since January 2019, Office 365 has enabled Mailbox Auditing by default. But if you’ve subscribed before January 2019, you will need to ensure that auditing is in effect.

Mailbox Auditing is that feature that gives you transparency into the actions taken within your employee’s mailboxes and their interactions with other mailboxes.

#11 – Updates, Upgrades, and Patches

Although Microsoft 365 is updated automatically, your systems may not be so fortunate. Your operating system and other applications need to be continuously updated and patched to ensure that they don’t become vulnerable.

Solzorro provider can set you up with a management protocol to keep everything up to date for you.

#12 – VPN

Another way to protect Microsoft 365 (especially when working outside the office) is using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN acts as an encrypted tunnel through the internet through which you can send and receive data without exposing that data to prying eyes in transit.

Solzorro can help you set up a VPN or equally secure remote-work security option.

Want to know more about working securely with Microsoft 365?

The Solzorro team is here to assist you in your efforts to protect your data and your clients. Give us a call or send an email to begin a no-obligation conversation.

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