Cybersecurity Keys to Securing Microsoft Office 365

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The rise in remote work has turned the already popular Microsoft Office 365 suite into an even more widely used digital platform. Many firms rely on Microsoft Office 365 for the effective management of employees. Among other advanced online capabilities, such as version control, document sharing, and collaboration. As employees shift more interactions online, however, a higher level of cyber risk follows. This is especially true when employees handle the sensitive information of clients or other employees. Leading many businesses to take steps for securing Microsoft Office 365 to keep their environment secure.

Securing Microsoft Office 365 for Enhanced Cybersecurity

Collaboration between employees within an online space is mostly beneficial, but firms must take note of the increased cyber risk that comes with the use of these spaces, and take appropriate defensive action. Strong cyber defense can be achieved through cyber protocol and advanced monitoring procedures.

While Microsoft has cybersecurity solutions in place for Office 365, cyber threats will continue to lurk around every corner. Cybersecurity protocols regarding securing Microsoft Office 365 should also be created in-house. Relying upon a separate party for all of your security needs can be a detriment to cyber risk posture.

Control User Permissions

One method for a more secure Office 365 environment is to tightly control user entitlements and permissions. Employees who have access to all aspects of Office 365, but who may only need access to a select few, can open up firms to vulnerabilities. When employees have open access to every aspect of Office 365, including areas they are unfamiliar with, hackers may be able to access private data. Our advice is to grant the lowest level of access possible, and to write–and closely follow–user access management policies.

For example, Office 365 is also hosted on the cloud. Anyone with permissions can access sensitive information, whether they are in a physical office location or not, including users who may no longer be employed by a given firm. Terminating permissions right after employment is another key to keeping your Office 365 environment safe from breaches.

Access to certain parts of Office 365 should be limited to particular roles. By managing permissions down to the level of certain offices, departments, and seniority levels, based on their needs, you can achieve both efficiency and security in your cyber protocol. This “lowest level of access” approach limits what sensitive data are accessible to all employees, and are and important tool in the fight to keep cyber breaches contained. 

Use Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) also has a critical role to play in a firm’s cybersecurity. In fact, wherever important tools do not have MFA in place, implementing MFA is often one of the first pieces of advice we offer. The threat landscape of 2022 is filled with malicious parties looking to steal credentials. In particular, Office 365 has become the target of credentials stealing due to its widespread use and likelihood of containing important information.

For use of any online platform, particularly one hosted in the cloud, a cybersecurity plan should be implemented in order to keep employees and customers safe. While the provider of a given SaaS platform does work to maintain the integrity of their platform itself, it is each user and client’s responsibility to monitor, control, and protect access to their own data and instances of the software. When disaster does strike, keeping employees informed about cyber risk and having the tools to manage breaches can keep firms strong in the face of growing cyber adversity. 

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