The shift to remote work has contributed to the surge in cybercrimes. This means that installing protective applications is important to safeguard your data. But as the risk of cyber threats evolves along with technology, the right applications must have the necessary features to ensure the security of your data and business.
So how does Microsoft 365 protect your data? Microsoft 365 secures your data while enhancing productivity. The security features of Microsoft 365 allow for secured and authorized access to identity, protection from potential cyber threats, safeguarding of sensitive information, and management of malicious activities.
How Secure is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a highly secured platform that has security features centered around the management of potential cyber threats to your system and data. It’s a widely used productivity suite in the world with many active users worldwide. For Microsoft 365, Microsoft provides a financially backed 99.99% application uptime guarantee.
Microsoft has always emphasized its commitment to security, and the multi-factor authentication that Microsoft 365 uses means that it’s more secure as compared to other cloud services.
It also has features to reduce the risk of user error that may make them vulnerable to cyber threats. Microsoft 365 allows you to block attachments that are considered malicious to increase your malware protection. They have also included regular data back-up services to ensure data back-up.
Aside from that, Microsoft 365 also provides more control of the data and information of the company. The company controls authorized access to its resources while its users may customize the visibility of their information to other users.
The data centers of Microsoft 365 are protected by security infrastructure and processes that can’t easily be breached directly. These data centers are ISO certified and have disaster recovery plans.
Lastly, the Microsoft 365 Defender portal allows you to check your Microsoft 365 secure score. This shows the reports on your organization’s security health. The Microsoft 365 secure score ensures that organizations are doing their part in risk management and regulatory compliance. Here, you are given points when you configure security features, perform security-related tasks, or address security recommendations. It is easy to manage the security of your company data and resources from a centralized dashboard in the portal.
Security Features of Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 provides the overall protection of the company’s own data and third-party data through the following security features:
- Identity and access management
- Threat protection
- Information protection
- Security and Risk Management
1) Identity and Access Management
Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions secure access to your company’s resources by allowing the company’s IT staff to manage user identity profiles held by the company. This is done by assigning access levels to manage the extent of access that a user has to the company’s resources.
It also protects user credentials by detecting suspicious login attempts. Some aspects of this feature include the following:
- Secure adaptive access
- Seamless user experience
- Unified identity management
- Simplified identity governance
a) Secure adaptive access
IAM allows you to secure your users against identity compromise. Using strong authentication options and risk-based access controls, your organization may control who has access to critical resources and data by authorizing particular users to have access to it. It also ensures that the information is accessed through reliable devices.
b) Seamless User Experience
IAM secures user data while boosting productivity. Sign-ins are made easy and fast as IAM reduces the time spent on managing passwords.
c) Unified Identity Management
Whether your users are working on-site or remotely, IAM allows you to effectively manage all identities and access to apps as this feature provides you with greater visibility and control.
d) Simplified Identity Governance
IAM doesn’t only allow you to control authorized access of your users, it also allows you to control the access of administrators on all company resources.
2) Threat Protection
Microsoft 365 helps secure your data, devices, accounts, and applications against cyber threats. It provides security from potential threats such as malware and ransomware. Blocking attachments with certain file types is one way to increase your protection against malware.
The threat protection security feature includes integrated automated security solutions against potential threats, which include the following aspects:
- Security information and event management
- Extended detection and response
a) Security Information and Event Management
This feature involves efficient detection and response to threats before they cause any damage. Having a holistic view across the entire platform is important to prevent potential cyber-attacks.
b) Extended Detection and Response
Fast detection and response to cyber threats also extend to user credentials, endpoints, email, data, and cloud applications.
3) Information Protection
Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) capabilities and solutions involve protecting critical information while preventing data loss. Securing user data is important as a single compromised account can allow cybercriminals to have access to other company data, information, and resources.
With Microsoft 365, information is protected across clouds, apps, and endpoints. It also helps you know your data by allowing you to locate and organize sensitive information. Some aspects of this feature include the following:
- Data classification
- Data loss prevention
- Microsoft information governance
a) Data Classification
MIP allows you to organize data by identifying important information regardless of where it is located (cloud or on-premises environments). It ensures that data is properly classified with labels to control where it travels – if it’s to be stored or deleted.
b) Data Loss Prevention
Microsoft 365 allows organizations to encrypt and back-up essential data. A surge in ransomware attacks was experienced during the pandemic. The option of backing up and encrypting your data is important to prevent cyber criminals from selling your data online or holding it for ransom.
Policies for data loss prevention may be created in the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center to help protect the organization and its user’s confidential information.
c) Microsoft Information Governance
The MIP security feature helps you consistently comply with data privacy regulations by integrating tools for efficient management of the information life cycle, automated policies, and pre-built data connectors.
4) Security & Risk Management
Safeguard your organization’s critical information from malicious activities through Microsoft 365 as this feature helps you detect and remediate risks. Some aspects of this feature include:
- Insider risk management
- Communication compliance
- Information barriers
- Customer lockbox
- Privileged access management
- Advanced audit
a) Insider Risk Management
This feature enables you to efficiently detect, analyze, and remediate insider risks through insider risk policies that help you manage cyber threats.
b) Communication Compliance
Messages that have malicious content across communication channels are minimized through fast detection and response. This feature allows you to identify and remediate messages that violate your company’s code-of-conduct policy.
c) Information Barriers
Microsoft 365 allows you to control the communication and collaboration of certain users or groups to protect internal information.
d) Customer Lockbox
Manage the extent of your data and content that Microsoft support engineers have access to. This feature provides you with more control over your company’s data.
e) Privileged Access Management
Manage access by all administrators by removing or adding privileges to control their access to critical tasks and data.
f) Advanced Audit
Increasing audit log retention allows you to perform investigations for forensic and compliance purposes. This provides a better understanding of the scope of cybersecurity threats.
How Microsoft Further Secures Your Data
Microsoft 365 gives you complete visibility into your applications to improve management and encourage regulatory compliance. They offer tools to enhance the security of your data and information.
Microsoft cloud app security and compliance management allows you to safely migrate to the cloud while providing you with more control over your data and tools that help you meet legal and regulatory requirements.
1) Microsoft Compliance Manager
As a compliant management solution, Microsoft Compliance Manager helps you ensure that your data and information are secured and protected. It also provides you with seamless management of compliance requirements. This includes ease of taking inventory of data protection risks, being updated on regulations and certifications, and reporting to auditors.
Microsoft Compliance Manager allows you to create and manage DLP policies to ensure that the company’s critical information and resources are not lost, misused, or accessed by users that are not authorized.
2) Microsoft 365 Security Center
Microsoft 365 Security Center acts as the centralized hub to monitor and manage cybersecurity risk across the entire platform and its users. It allows administrators to effectively manage and protect data and information including identities, devices, apps, and infrastructure.
3) Microsoft Cloud App Security
Keep your organization and cloud data secure with Microsoft Cloud App Security, which is a Cloud Access Security Broker that runs on multiple clouds. It improves the visibility of cloud applications, allows for centralized management, and provides necessary analytics to manage cyber threats.
Best Practices for Securing Your Data with Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 is equipped with multiple security features that companies must fully utilize to protect their sensitive data and information. Some of the best practices include:
- Setting up a multi-factor authentication
- Training your users
- Using dedicated admin accounts
1) Setting Up Multi-Factor Authentication
Further improve your security with Multi-factor Authentication (MA). This involves using two or more ways to verify users who log in to their accounts as definitive proof of being the authorized owner of the account that they’re trying to access. This ensures that even if cybercriminals know your password, they still can’t gain access to your apps and data.
Multi-factor authentication requires extra steps to ensure the security of your account, which may sometimes include using the code sent to your phone, using fingerprints, other passwords, etc. This protects users against lost or stolen passwords.
For organizations using Microsoft 365, you can set up your multi-factor authentication by adding a setting that requires users to log in with that extra step along with their password. Doing so would allow users to set up their accounts for two-factor authentication.
2) Training Your Users
Your users are considered the weakest link when it comes to cybersecurity. This means that regularly educating employees is important to constantly update their knowledge on cyber criminal activities and how to avoid them.
Microsoft 365 recommends that companies provide a strong culture of awareness of cybersecurity within the organization by training users to identify and report cyber threats. They should also be well-equipped with the knowledge of the security features of Microsoft 365 for their own security and protection. Users must know the basic steps to protect their account such as the following:
- Using strong passwords on all their accounts and devices
- Protecting devices from cyber threats
- Enabling security features on their software
3) Using Dedicated Admin Accounts
The elevated privileges that admin accounts have made it more valuable to target cyber criminals as it means more access to the company’s information and resources. Ensure that admin accounts are only used when necessary by providing them with user accounts for regular and non-administrative tasks. Other recommendations include:
- Set up multi-factor authentication for admin accounts
- Close unrelated browsers and apps before using admin accounts
- Log out from the account after completing admin tasks
Some Risks That Come With Microsoft 365
Microsoft emphasizes shared responsibility in the area of security of using Microsoft 365. This means that there’s a certain extent that’s covered in its security features because managing your risk of cyber threats and compliance is a partnership. The responsibility to protect and manage your data isn’t solely borne by Microsoft.
Despite the financially-backed 99.99% uptime guarantee by Microsoft 365, you still need a third-party backup to ensure that all your data and information across the platform is secured from cyber threats.
Secure Your Data with Abacus’ Managed Microsoft 365
Abacus offers a wide range of IT services for all of your IT needs. You can count on us to secure your data while you use Microsoft 365. To know more about the necessary security features that you need to have to best secure your data, information, and resources, book a consultation with us today and talk to our team of experts on our website at https://goabacus.com/.