Organizations have been transiting to cloud-based software rapidly over the last few years. The transition sped up during the Covid-19 pandemic due to its remote features of working. The companies that invested in cloud-based platforms were at an advantage to continue their businesses as the employees were made to work from home.
The adoption of Office 365 and other similar Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions was feared due to cloud app security. Microsoft Office 365 is gaining popularity due to its unique features but taking steps to ensure the environment is secure is essential. Many practices do not involve further investment into security systems but use what is available in Office 365.
How Does Microsoft 365 Security Work?
Microsoft Office 365 security prioritizes safeguarding businesses from external attacks via access to enterprise-grade resources and protection. The threat protection facilities prevent the business from malware, spam, viruses, malicious links, or phishing attempts. Advanced methods are used for protection from complex threats such as ransomware attacks.
Why is Your Data More Secure in Office 365?
Office 365 has built-in security capabilities to protect businesses and empower the staff to work from anywhere in the world, using devices of their own choice.
Below are a few reasons why the data is safer in Office 365.
Microsoft has declared how much they have committed to making its products safe. The Multi-factor authentication used across all services makes it safer than most other cloud services.
A suite of controls allows users to customize who can access their details and files. Due to the huge amount of personal data being shared over the web must be contained in a safe place.
No one can stress about backing up the data enough. The loss of important information will require the client to pay a high price. A regular data backup feature in office 365 does the job automatically.
Office 365 has automated many jobs. Most security issues are caused when a user accidentally opens an infected email, reveals personal data, or other errors that are largely cut down through automation.
Office 365 Best Security Practices
Microsoft has become one of the leading cloud-based services with its Office 365. The remote work that can be practiced through this platform and its security features has brought it back in the line.
Some ways to keep information in office 365 safe from cyberattacks are mentioned below.
Phishing attackers often target Microsoft Office 365. The attacks access the emails and data and share the capability to distribute malware and malicious links within and out of the organization to fulfill their money-minting purposes.
Spreading security awareness to employees via phishing simulators or otherwise is an essential strategy to keep the organization’s emails and database security.
Microsoft Secure Score
Microsoft 365 has two ways of security reporting. One is a part of Office 365 security, known as Microsoft Secure Score. It is a summary of the security position based on system configuration, security measurements, and user behavior in a numerical form. Though, this will not be an absolute measurement of how many chances there are that the system or data will be breached.
It will scan the system and send alerts of ways to improve tenant configuration that will provide the best security features.
Identity Secure Score
Identity secure score is a relatively new feature designed to help clients check if their security policies match the recommended practices by Microsoft.
It is like a division of the Security score and a segment of the Azure Active Directory Admin Center. Professionals recommend reviewing the scores regularly to improve overall security efforts.
Identity secure score will check the environment and notify the steps to take for better security measures.
Enable Unified Audit Log
Prioritizing the security of Office 365 tenants is the first step. After this, the organization must keep a plan of action to take in case of an intrusion.
Logging can find the exact location and date of which part was attacked and when. For the administrator, the mailbox audit logs will be activated automatically.
The log information can be gathered and searched easily on the Microsoft compliance portal. The software will create alerts for a specific event automatically.
The entries in the Unified Audit log will be saved for about 90 days. To extend the use of this feature, e5.5 is required.
Configure Multi-Factor Authentication
It is highly recommended to enable multi-factor authentication(MFA) is highly recommended for the security of Office 365. It safeguards the accounts against password sprays and phishing attacks. All accounts, including admins and users, must have multi-factor authentication enabled.
Multi-Factor Authentication Settings
To activate MFA, log-in to the portal at https://aad.portal.azure.com/. In the user’s column, enable Multi-factor Authentication.
It’s necessary not to allow the users to create passwords, as such features are required by apps that don’t support modern authentication. The option of calls and text messages must be disabled, as they can make the system vulnerable to attacks and theft of sensitive data.
Choose the option of setting the devices for 90 days. Add the notification for additional context and number matching MFA request to identify who made the requests.
Don’t Allow Reuse of Corporate Passwords
Strong and fresh passwords fill in the gaps in cybersecurity in any organization. Common passwords for personal and work accounts increase the chances that security will be jeopardized while the hacker tries to break through the system or can be easily guessed by the hackers.
Set a Unique Password
While resetting the password, it is compared with the previous passwords and those kept for other user accounts. This limits the possibility of vulnerabilities in the accounts by using easy-to-guess credentials and ensures that it is strong enough not to allow access to other Microsoft Office 365 accounts.
Install Anti-Malware solution
The hackers are creating new ways of getting past the security solutions and challenging the efforts of the organization to protect their documents. Malware and ransomware attacks are gaining strength, making it difficult for cybersecurity to perceive and respond before it jeopardizes the organization.
The security features of Office 365 include vectors for malware for accessing the organization initially and spreading throughout its networking environment. A focused malware solution can block the distribution of malware in the organization through Office 365.
Office 365 is the most common prey of phishing scams which includes business email compromise (BEC) attacks. The hackers can launch spear phishing attacks for a powerful foothold and achieve their objectives if they successfully breach through the Office 365 account.
An email security system consolidated with anti-phishing features can minimize this danger in several ways. Suspicious attachments and links are detected by checking emails within a sandbox environment. Artificial intelligence is employed for natural language processing (NLP) to detect doubtful language. It notifies attacks and other phishing email red flags.
Deploy a Combination of App Security
Phishing and distributing malware are mostly carried out through emails, but other collaboration apps can also become a source for this motive. Applications used as online collaborations are offered by Office 365, such as OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.
The risks of phishing attacks on these applications are similar to those of phishing emails. Malicious links and malware can be sent on chat windows or buried in shared files and folders saved in OneDrive. There is a need for securing emails in Office 365 as much as safeguarding collaboration apps.
Applying Mobile Security Settings
Covid-19 has invented new trends of work, increasing work from home. The use of mobile phones for work has accelerated, and employees are told to bring their own devices to their workplaces. The devices are often not updated, and employees neglect to install anti-malware for its protection.
Security requirements for mobile devices are unique and need security solutions that are designed exclusively for them. Applying security measures on mobile phones is fundamental to ensure that a phone with compromised security does not access Office 365 mobile applications. This reduces the chances of hackers attempting to gain access to the company’s sensitive systems and data.
Office 365 Compliance Center
The customers can scan their files to verify the kind of data within the system. Mostly this will consist of scanning for exchange, OneDrive workloads, personally identifiable documentation on SharePoint, and many other compliances and scan scores that will be available on the Microsoft Compliance Score.
Compliance and Security Dashboard
A quick overview of threats and different events in the networking surroundings is displayed on the compliance and security dashboard. The Exchange workload is the riskiest of attacks, but the facilitations also cover DLP policies and cover labels.
The feature of alerts coming to users is activated by Office 365 Tenant. The activities of users and admins can be traced and send alerts of threats or loss of data.
Continuous Access Evaluation
Authentication in Office 365 depends on the OAuth 2.0 access token. These restrict access to the services, like logging in to SharePoint or opening Outlook. The token is only valid for an hour and automatically refreshes once it expires.
The issue around this is that any changes made to the user’s credentials that authorize it are detected after an hour. Enabling Continuous Access Evaluation can lessen the period almost to real-time.
Office 365 has capabilities to host external users into OneDrive, SharePoint, or other tools for team collaboration. The users can choose whichever sharing policies suit them and their company the best.
Many end users do not have enough IT knowledge about restricting sharing internally. The best approach would be to exclude people who have been selected by IT for collaboration, also known as existing guests.
Azure Portal Inactivity Timeout
By using the Azure portal, the portal and admin users can configure inactivity timeouts. The user can have Global Administrative rights to alter settings. Inactive users for more than 60 minutes are excluded automatically.
Conditional Access Through Azure
Access to Office 365 can be secured via Azure AD conditional access features. Tenants are protected from threats that may come due to their location, applications used, or iPhone IP addresses. When consolidated with user properties of AD, the user’s access can be blocked from a malicious site.
Sharing links configuration is essential for automatic generation by the users. The most optimal solution is to offer the option “Specified people” for those specified by users. The user can still send a link to other users working in the organization, the access to the files will be restricted and limited to those only who are allowed.
Block Access to Azure Portal
Authorized people can use Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Azure Portals. The user can change it from read-only. The random users will not need to visit the settings of Azure AD, where the users can be easily blocked by changing passwords.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
The use of a multifactor can drastically increase your security. The phone code can be entered into Office 365 or typed as a login code into a mobile application. It will benefit by protecting from phishing or snooping accounts against scammers if the user’s passwords are traced. This often calls for two-stage verification for optimal security.
Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection
Microsoft Office 365 aids companies in protecting themselves from emails and viruses. The insights on attacks are represented using reportability, administrator features, and URL traceability.
Microsoft is continuously working to improve its security, and these features are expanded with advanced features. It’s advised to read the product’s documentation before subscribing to it. ATP is an application software based on Microsoft windows.
Classification of Data
There is a data classification option for Office 365 on the admin console to secure the data from unauthorized third parties. The sensitive nature and processing of the data are specified with labels, including mandatory encryption and waterproofing. Any attempt to breach the data is carefully monitored, and the source is traced. The application of Endpoint Protection makes sure the files do not leave the organization.
Microsoft’s strategies for keeping the cloud secure are one of their highest priorities. Their commitment is shown through the features built into the system to secure the information and, thus, the organization. The security features aim to protect both large and small organizations that call for extensive control over their operations. Some obvious shortcomings exist, but the Office 365 security best practices outrun those costs.