How To Secure Your Microsoft 365 Data With These 11 Effective Steps
In order to get the most out of your Microsoft 365 apps, you must adopt appropriate security measures.
Collaboration and productivity are two of the best features of Microsoft 365. Various features such as seamless communication, scalability, and remote work are available for users. Security is also a top priority with a variety of defense mechanisms.
But this doesn't mean you're impervious to cyberattacks.
Still, data leakage, unauthorized access, and malware can jeopardize your system and provide ideal entry points for hackers. Depending on the severity of the attack, your business can suffer significant reputational damage as well as operational disruptions.
Taking your Microsoft 365 data protection to the next level is the only way to keep hackers at bay. I will provide you with a list of the 11 most effective security measures that can protect your Microsoft 365 data in this article.
THE 11 EFFECTIVE SECURITY MEASURES
SECURITY MEASURE #1 - ACTIVATE MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
When using a username and password, Microsoft 365 users only have one way to verify their identity. Unfortunately, many people don't use strong passwords. As a result, you expose your organization to intrusions.
This is where multi-factor authentication (MFA) comes in.
You can use one-time passphrases or other methods to verify user identities with Microsoft 365 security. The best part is that this measure is easy to implement.
However, enabling MFA should only be your first step. As a next step, activate Security Defaults, a Microsoft feature that forces multi-factor authentication in every administrator account.
MFA can also be implemented in all accounts without administrator permissions. Due to the fact that these accounts can still endanger services and apps in your ecosystem.
SECURITY MEASURE #2 - USE SESSION TIMEOUTS
The majority of employees fail to log out of their accounts and lock their mobile devices or computers. As a result of this, hackers may have access to enterprise accounts and may be able to compromise your data.
By implementing timeouts into internal networks and accounts, users are automatically logged out after a certain period of inactivity. By doing so, hackers are unable to gain access to sensitive data.
SECURITY MEASURE #3 - REFRAIN FROM PUBLIC CALENDAR SHARIN
Syncing and sharing calendars allows your employees to keep track of one another's schedules. While this enables team collaboration, hackers can also gain insight into your operations and exposed users.
As an example, if your security administrator is on vacation and this information is publicly available, attackers can launch malware through this window.
SECURITY MEASURE #4 - EMPLOY ADVANCED THREAT PROTECTION
The Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) solution provides the capability to identify and protect against advanced threats that often bypass traditional antivirus and firewall defenses.
Access is granted to a database that receives real-time updates, allowing users to understand threats and integrate the data into their analyses.
No matter what the source of an attack is, ATP notifies you about it, its severity, and how it was stopped. It is especially effective at protecting against phishing attacks.
This tool uses machine learning and a massive database of suspicious sites notorious for phishing or malware delivery.
SECURITY MEASURE #5 - LEVERAGE POLICY ALERTS
Microsoft 365 lets you customize policy notifications in the compliance center to meet your company's security needs. For example, they send your employees tips on sending sensitive information whenever they're about to send an email to someone outside of your network.
By warning your team about safe data sharing methods, you can protect against data leaks.
SECURITY MEASURE #6 - SECURE YOUR MOBILE ACCESS
Many members of your team access work email, contacts, documents, and calendars via smartphones, especially if they work remotely. You should prioritize protecting data by securing their devices.
The most effective way to accomplish this is with Microsoft 365 mobile management features. Security policies, permissions, and restrictions can be managed and stolen and lost devices' information wiped.
SECURITY MEASURE #7 - DEACTIVATE LEGACY PROTOCOL AUTHENTICATION
Microsoft 365 offers several security features that reduce the possibility of intrusion, including multifactor authentication, which legacy protocols do not support. This can make them the ideal gateways for adversaries who want to target your organization.
That said, your best bet is to deactivate legacy protocols to mitigate risks.
However, you may not want to disable legacy authentication if your team needs it for older email accounts. By restricting access to users who do not need this protocol, you can still make your network safer.
SECURITY MEASURE #8 - INTEGRATE ROLE-BASED ACCESS CONTROL
Access management allows you to control the flow of private information across your business. Through it, you can determine who can access company data.
By restricting rank-and-file team members from accessing executive-level files, you can minimize data leaks.
SECURITY MEASURE #9 - RELY ON UNIFIED AUDIT LOG
Unified audit log (UAL) includes logs from several Microsoft 365 services, such as Azure AD, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams. Administrators can gain insight into malicious activity and actions that violate organizational policies by enabling it.
You may also want to include your logs in an existing SIEM tool (Security Information and Event Management). It is possible to detect abnormal activity by connecting logs to current log monitoring and management solutions. Plus, it can improve the overall security of your Microsoft 365 suite.
SECURITY MEASURE #10 - ENCRYPT EMAILS
When dealing with data breaches, encryption is often the last resort. Cyberattacks can access emails, but robust encryption tools can prevent them from being read. This is why email encryption is important.
Users of Microsoft 365 who regularly send and receive emails and files will find this feature useful.
SECURITY MEASURE #11 - TRAIN AND EDUCATE YOUR EMPLOYEES
These measures are undeniably effective, but if you leave out your employees, they will be ineffective. Most data breaches are caused by human error.
The best way to prevent security breaches in your business is to train and educate your employees. Through the program, they can become aware of potential threats and learn how to deal with them.
When recruiting employees, this is especially important. Before granting them access to sensitive data and organizational devices, make sure they undergo comprehensive security training.
DON'T LEAVE YOUR BUSINESS’S DATA PROTECTION TO CHANCE
There are many intuitive and convenient tools available in Microsoft 365. You may forget that your data is protected since the experience can be so smooth.
However, you're taking a huge gamble in doing so, as it leaves your system open for hackers.
Taking these defense mechanisms into consideration, applying them to your business will dramatically reduce security threats.
We can help you further ensure your security when using Microsoft 365 apps. Contact us for a 10-15-minute chat that’s obligation-free. Let’s discuss how you can keep cyber threats at bay.