How to increase security in M365

by | Apr 21, 2023 | Microsoft

In today’s digital landscape, the importance of robust security measures cannot be overstated. As cyber threats continue to evolve at an alarming pace, businesses must be proactive in safeguarding their sensitive data and systems. Enter Microsoft 365; a robust suite of productivity tools that millions rely on every day. But with great power comes great responsibility, and securing your Microsoft 365 environment is crucial to prevent data breaches and unauthorized access.

In this article, we will explore top strategies to enhance your Microsoft 365 protection, ensuring that your valuable data remains safe and sound. From implementing multi-factor authentication to customizing security policies, these battle-tested approaches will fortify your digital defenses and provide you with the peace of mind you deserve. So, buckle up and get ready to boost your Microsoft 365 protection like never before!

Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA)

One of the most effective security features in MS365 to enhance security is by implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all user accounts. MFA requires users to provide at least two forms of identification when logging in, such as something they know (e.g., a password), something they have (e.g., a hardware token), and/or something they are (e.g., a fingerprint). This additional layer of security makes it significantly more difficult for attackers to gain unauthorized access to your Microsoft 365 environment, even if they have stolen or guessed a user’s password. In fact, according to Microsoft, MFA is highly effective in preventing more than 99.9% of attempts to breach accounts, making it extremely challenging for intruders to bypass.

Microsoft 365 offers several MFA options, including the Microsoft Authenticator app, which generates a unique, time-sensitive code that users must enter when logging in. To enable MFA in Microsoft 365, administrators can configure security settings in the Azure Active Directory portal, ensuring that all users are required to complete the MFA process when accessing their accounts.

Utilize dedicated admin accounts

Admin accounts have more privileges, features, and security options, allowing users to grant access rights to software and other users. This means admin accounts are a higher risk for cyber threats and hackers. Every admin should have their own account specifically for administration tasks and a separate account for non-admin jobs.

Admin accounts should be routinely monitored to ensure they adhere to security protocols and access control policies. When an admin leaves your business, ensure the associated admin account is shut down immediately to avoid compromised accounts.

Protect against ransomware

Ransomware is a growing problem for organizations around the world. Ransomware is a type of software that limits a compromised computer’s ability to access information by either securing the device or encrypting the data. Upon being locked out of the computer, the individual is typically requested to pay a “ransom” as a means of extorting funds from the victims.

To prevent this type of cyber-attack, it is possible to establish email workflows designed to prevent file formats frequently utilized by cybercriminals for ransomware purposes. You have the option to either restrict all file types potentially carrying malicious code or ransomware or implement a regulation that alerts your employees when they are on the verge of accessing an Office file attachment containing macros.

Office message encryption

Using email encryption creates an extra layer of security for emails being sent internally and externally. If an email is accidentally sent to the wrong email address, the unintended recipient can’t view or forward the information. Encryption only allows the correct recipient to view the email when they open it.

Utilize advanced threat protection tools

Microsoft 365 offers a range of advanced threat protection tools designed to help you detect, prevent, and respond to cyber threats. One such tool is Microsoft Defender for Office 365, which provides comprehensive protection for your email, files, and applications. This includes features such as Safe Attachments, which scans email attachments for malware and other threats, and Safe Links, which checks URLs in emails and documents for malicious content before users can access them.

Additionally, Microsoft Defender for Office 365 includes advanced anti-phishing capabilities that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify and block phishing attacks. It also offers automated incident response capabilities, which can help your security team quickly investigate and remediate security incidents, minimizing the potential impact on your organization.

Regularly updating and patching your software

Maintaining a secure Microsoft 365 environment requires regular software updates. This helps minimize risks from attackers exploiting vulnerabilities, ensuring your systems and data remain protected against cyber threats.

Microsoft frequently updates Microsoft 365 for security, bug fixes, and new features. Promptly applying these updates is crucial to prevent attacks on known vulnerabilities. Furthermore, keep operating systems, web browsers, and other software applications up-to-date.

To streamline the update process, you can leverage tools like Windows Update for Business, which allows you to manage and deploy updates across your organization. By implementing a robust patch management strategy, you can stay ahead of emerging threats and maintain a secure Microsoft 365 environment.

Employee training and cybersecurity awareness

Last but not least, fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness among your employees is a crucial aspect of enhancing your Microsoft 365 security. Human error and negligence are often the weakest links in an organization’s security posture, making it essential to educate your employees about the importance of cybersecurity and their role in protecting sensitive data and systems.

Effective cybersecurity training should cover topics such as the identification and reporting of phishing attacks, the importance of strong passwords and MFA, and best practices for securing devices and data. Additionally, you should regularly communicate updates and reminders about your organization’s security policies and procedures to ensure that employees remain vigilant and informed.

By investing in employee training and cybersecurity awareness, you can empower your workforce to become active participants in your organization’s security strategy, helping to minimize the risk of data breaches and other cyber threats.

Strengthen your Microsoft 365 security

In the ever-changing threat landscape, robust security for Microsoft 365 is crucial. Enhance your organization’s security posture with the Microsoft experts at Aquarius IQ and to minimize the risk of cyber threats and protect your valuable data and assets.

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