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Microsoft 365 security best practises

Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based service that gives users access to Microsoft’s software and services. The software can be accessed from PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones and mobile device management (MDM) solutions. Users can sign in to multiple devices with one Microsoft account and access their email and other Microsoft 365 apps. 

However, being able to sign in from various devices also makes it easier for cybercriminals to gain access to user accounts. This is why your employees need to follow security practices while using Microsoft 365. 

How secure is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based service that gives users access to Microsoft’s software and services. The software can be accessed from PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones and mobile device management (MDM) solutions. Users can sign in to multiple devices with one Microsoft account.

Since it is a cloud-based service, users don’t need to download and install software on their devices. This makes it easy to access Microsoft 365. However, it also makes it easier for attackers to gain access to users’ devices. This is why users need to follow some security practices while using Microsoft 365.

Use strong passwords

This may seem like an obvious tip, but many people do not bother creating strong passwords, using only the bare minimum to access their accounts.

It is important to use strong passwords for every account. It is best to use a minimum of 12 characters, include upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. You should never use the same password for multiple accounts. 

If you need help creating a strong password, there are password management apps and websites that can help, such as LastPass, which securely stores your passwords for various sites and accounts, or Password Generator, which will randomly create a strong password for you to use.

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a security feature that adds an extra layer of protection to accounts. When logging into Microsoft 365 with a username and password, a second code will be requested. This is received via text message or email. Only when this code is input will your users be able to access their accounts.

Using multi-factor authentication will prevent an unauthorised person getting into your account, even if they have your password or device. 

Identity and access management

Identity and access management (IAM) is the process of managing user identity and access to resources. It includes the use of identity services, authentication, authorization, and data protection.

Microsoft’s IAM security solution allows you to manage all your employee’s access to your various Microsoft apps and data. Azure Active Directory and Microsoft’s zero trust assessment will help you determine where your company stands from a security standpoint, and easily implement various cybersecurity controls and conditional access.

Malware and antivirus protection

Microsoft Defender is the built-in antimalware and antivirus software. However, it must be enabled and managed manually. To manage it, select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection.

It is important to keep your devices up to date with the latest malware and virus protection. The Microsoft 365 portal shows you the status of your devices and allows you to apply updates. You can also access this from the Settings > Control Panel menu on your device.

Enable alert policies

Microsoft 365 provides security alerts in order to help organisations prevent cyber-attacks and mitigate risks. These alerts can be set up for the entire company or for specific groups of people.

The security alerts run through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These agents can detect security alerts in email and other communications, automatically flag them for admins to review, or take action on their own.

It is recommended you enable security alerts so you are notified when any of your users’ devices or accounts are compromised. Create a regular schedule for reviewing these alerts and taking corrective actions.

Train your users

Users are the weakest link in security. They are the first to be targeted by malicious actors and they can also be a source of data leaks.

Training users in Microsoft 365 security is important because it helps them understand what they need to do to keep their data safe. It helps them take ownership of their own digital safety and makes sure that they are not a threat to their company’s security.

Ensuring your employees understand cyberthreats like phishing scams will also raise security awareness, reducing the risks of data breaches or malware attacks.

Secure your Microsoft 365 accounts and apps

Microsoft 365 is a great way for businesses to simplify collaboration and access apps and data from anywhere. However, it is important for users to understand the security of the service.

The Microsoft 365 security specialists at NetworkIQ can provide training for your employees, manage and monitor your Microsoft accounts and apps, and help you implement enterprise-level cybersecurity to maximise the strength of your networks. Talk to them today and ensure your data and user accounts are secure.

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