With a worldwide market share of 48% in 2022, a staggering number of businesses use Microsoft 365 to operate—but many of them still aren’t leveraging the platform’s full security capabilities. Is your organization? Let’s tap into a simplified overview of Microsoft’s robust security offering for Microsoft 365 users.
What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive suite of cloud-based productivity tools and services. It combines the traditional features of what was formerly Microsoft Office with additional collaboration, communication, and security capabilities. Designed to enhance productivity, streamline business processes, and enable seamless collaboration among individuals and teams, the Microsoft 365 suite includes familiar applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, as well as applications including Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Exchange Online, OneDrive and more.
What sets Microsoft 365 apart is that it offers flexible subscription plans tailored to the needs of individuals, small businesses, and large enterprises. With its extensive range of tools and security features, the platform has become a go-to choice for businesses seeking to enhance productivity, streamline workflows, and bolster data security.
Security Features in Microsoft 365
Identity and Access Management
Microsoft 365 employs robust identity and access management capabilities, such as Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), which acts as the underlying identity provider for authentication and authorization. It supports features like multi-factor authentication (MFA), conditional access policies, and single sign-on (SSO) to enhance identity security.
Microsoft 365 incorporates encryption technologies to protect data both in transit and at rest. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is used to secure data during transmission, while BitLocker drive encryption helps safeguard data stored on devices. Plus, Azure Information Protection (AIP) enables document-level encryption and classification. Long story short? You can rest assured your data is in good hands.
Threat Intelligence and Protection
Microsoft 365 utilizes threat intelligence from various sources, including the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, to provide proactive protection against malicious activities. It includes features such as Exchange Online Protection (EOP) for email filtering, Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) for defending against sophisticated threats, and Microsoft Defender Antivirus for real-time protection against malware.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM)
Microsoft 365 offers comprehensive mobile device management capabilities through Microsoft Intune. It allows your organization to manage and secure mobile devices and applications accessing company data, implementing policies such as device enrollment, data encryption, application restrictions, and remote wipe.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Microsoft 365 provides Data Loss Prevention capabilities to prevent the accidental or intentional disclosure of sensitive information. It includes predefined and customizable policies that can detect and protect sensitive data across various Microsoft 365 services like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.
Security and Compliance Center
The Security and Compliance Center is a unified portal within Microsoft 365 that allows administrators to manage and monitor security and compliance-related settings. It provides access to features like threat management, information protection, data governance, and compliance reporting.
Advanced Security Analytics
Microsoft 365 leverages advanced analytics and machine learning to detect anomalies, identify potential security threats, and provide insights to improve security posture. Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps, for example, offers visibility and control over cloud applications and identifies risky behaviors.
Microsoft 365 promotes secure collaboration through services like SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. These services enable secure file storage, sharing, and collaboration, with features such as access controls, versioning, and document tracking.
Best Practices for Microsoft 365 Security
If your IT team is looking to get your Microsoft 365 security in check, reference this simplified checklist to determine where you’re safeguarded and where you may be falling short. Or, visit Microsoft’s full article for a more in-depth view.
- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) — Add an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide multiple forms of authentication.
- Use strong passwords and password policies — Encourage users to create complex passwords and enforce password policies to strengthen security.
- Implement data loss prevention (DLP) — Set up policies to prevent the accidental or intentional leakage of sensitive information.
- Enable unified auditing — Monitor and track user activities, such as logins, file accesses, and changes to settings, to detect and respond to security threats.
- Regularly update and patch applications — Stay up to date with the latest security patches and updates for Microsoft 365 and its associated applications.
- Enable email filtering and anti-malware protection — Implement measures to scan emails for spam, phishing attempts, and malicious attachments.
- Enable mobile device management (MDM) — Secure mobile devices accessing company data by implementing MDM policies, such as device enrollment and remote wipe capabilities.
- Use Azure Information Protection — Classify and label sensitive data to control access, protect information, and ensure compliance.
- Educate users on security awareness — Conduct regular training sessions to raise awareness about potential threats and teach employees how to recognize and respond to them.
- Enable conditional access policies — Define and enforce access controls based on specific conditions, such as location, device, and user risk level.
- Regularly back up your data — Perform regular backups to protect against data loss due to accidental deletion, hardware failure, or security incidents.
- Enable threat protection services — Utilize built-in threat protection services, such as Exchange Online Protection and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, to detect and block malicious activities.
- Monitor and investigate security incidents — Set up alerts and monitoring systems to detect and respond to potential security breaches promptly.
Take the Stress Out of Cyber Security
As security threats get increasingly complex, so do the measures your organization must take to protect its assets. That’s where we come in. As your partner in IT, IX Solutions can help your business stay steps ahead of the threat landscape with proactive cyber-threat monitoring, detection, response, and remediation.