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How to improve your security in Microsoft 365

More businesses today than ever before are using cloud-based solutions and services to get things done. With remote work options becoming ever more popular, many organisations are using Microsoft 365 to ensure productivity and business continuity remain optimal.

It’s important to keep your business information safe, which is why Microsoft 365 comes with a number of built-in security features. These security features may need to be turned on or tweaked to suit your specific business security needs. Don’t know how to enable the security features in your Microsoft 365 service? A managed services provider can ensure you get the best from your Microsoft 365 investment while keeping your data secure.

Here are some ways to boost your security in Microsoft 365:

Multi-actor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security measure that requires the user to provide more than one form of identification before access is granted. Usually, the first form is a username and password combination, but it can also be an email address or phone number.

This first form of identification is called the primary factor because it’s required for every login attempt. The second factor of authentication can be something like a PIN number that is sent to a phone or emailed to a specific address. More advanced systems can have biometric scans (fingerprints, voice recognition) as secondary factors.

Mobile device management

While most employees are keen to return to the office, many have stated a preference for a hybrid work model, with some of their weekly hours offsite. This means ongoing management of mobile devices, as users can potentially be open doors for security breaches.

Mobile device management (MDM) makes it easier to control access to your organisation’s data and manages the mobile devices your employees use and the information they can access.

There are many benefits of MDM for employers. It provides them with the ability to remotely wipe lost or stolen devices, monitors usage, and control how apps are used. It ensures mobile devices are used in a safe, secure, and efficient manner. It also supports the organisation’s overall security posture by maintaining accurate logs of all activities on mobile devices and providing damage-control support when necessary.

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Advanced threat protection

Now recognised as Microsoft Defender for Office 365, this tool protects emails, files, and Office 365 applications against potential malware attacks.

Email encryption and data loss prevention

Encrypted email ensures that only the intended recipient can read and/or send the communication, which is usually required for companies to meet regulatory needs like HIPAA. The use of encryption also helps protect your personal information from being accessed or stolen by unauthorised individuals.

Sensitive data such as financial information, personally identifiable data, and health records need to be protected from being inappropriately shared with others that shouldn’t have access to it. This is called data loss prevention (DLP) and is implemented by defining and applying policies, which identity, monitor, and automatically protect sensitive information in services and applications, such as Teams, Exchange, SharePoint, etc.

Admin privileges

Admin accounts are at higher risk of being breached by malicious actors and put your company and its data at serious risk. Restricting how many users in the organisation have admin privileges and allowing for separation between their work accounts is a good way to lower the risk of this happening.

This is where Microsoft’s Azure Privileged Identity Management system comes in. This is a security tool that can be used to manage, control, and monitor access to resources across the Microsoft 365 suite, ensuring admin privileges are only assigned when necessary and reducing the risk of human error leading to security breaches.

Security awareness

Most cybersecurity breaches are linked to human error, so it’s vital to ensure your employees are educated on security measures so they can be part of the first line of defence. When employees are empowered to uphold security strategies, they are more likely to know what kind of emails to flag as suspicious or explain how to spot a potential cyber threat, and your security will be far more effective.

Regular security policy updates should include employee training – even if you have not implemented any new security programs, training programs keep the information fresh in your employees minds.

If you are thinking about subscribing to Microsoft 365, or want to know more about the security features that come with your current subscription, the security experts at NetworkIQ can help you find the best solution and give you peace of mind for a secure future.

Author

Ajani Bandele

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