Admin’s job is to maintain the Microsoft Office 365 environment safely and efficiently. Preventing data loss, configuring malware protection, and reducing user error’s negative impact are some of your daily tasks. Here are some of the best security tips that will help you to protect your company’s data stored in Office 365.
Maintain Strong Password Policies
Password in the backbone of the security of your Microsoft 365 business environment. Having powerful passwords will protect you from data breaches, especially caused by brute-force attacks.
Microsoft recommends admins to keep passwords at least 8-character long and
ban common passwords.
Protect Your Account with MFA
It’s hard to break through the strong password. Stealing is a much easier way. By setting up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), you’ll add another security layer.
With MFA enabled, the Office users require both password and mobile phone to log in. In other words, even if the password is stolen, the account is safe from unauthorized access.
Migrate Data from Inactive Accounts
As Office Enterprise licenses cost up to $35.00 per user/month, maintaining inactive accounts may be a significant burden for a corporate budget. However, a company may continue to pay for ex-employees’ licenses to preserve important business contacts, accesses, documents, and other data.
Performing Microsoft 365 data migration helps both to preserve important data and save on licenses. With all the critical files moved from old accounts to the new ones, you do not need to retain inactive accounts.
The most important thing about data migration is that migration should be done correctly, without having critical data lost. Here’s a detailed Office 365 migration guide to help you with migrating your data securely.
Encrypt Outlook Emails
The best way to ensure that Outlook email reaches its destination safely is to encrypt it. An encrypted email can’t be read by anyone apart from the sender and the receiver. You can encrypt not only one email but all emails you send. Here’s how:
- On the File choose Options >Trust Center > Trust Center Settings.
- On the Email Security tab, under Encrypted email, select the Encrypt contents and attachments for outgoing messages check box.
Use Cybersecurity Software
Microsoft puts a lot of effort into the security of its systems. However, data loss still happens. Perhaps, the biggest data factor is user error. Users’ behaviour may initiate data breaches and malware attacks. For example, the whole corporate network can be infected with ransomware if one of the employees clicks a link in a phishing email.
To protect your company from the negative impact of user error, you can use various cybersecurity software: backups, ransomware detection solutions, firewalls, and other tools. With Microsoft 365 protection for business and enterprise tools, you can protect your data from user error, malware and ransomware, cyber-attacks, and other data security threats.
Configure Data Access in the S&C Center
Microsoft 365 uses the Role-Based Access Control model. This model means that to configure certain settings, you need to have an appropriate role. Security and Compliance Center allows you to configure roles and permissions to limit data access to authorized users only.
Configuring and optimizing roles and permissions in the Security and Compliance Center is vitally important to prevent data from being manipulated. Microsoft 365 provides the default list of role groups. Some roles are view-only meaning; some are geared toward managing only a certain scope of settings. The Global Admin role has the widest range of permissions and should be assigned only to a limited number of users.
Here you can read more about permissions in the Security and Compliance Center and how to assign them.
Set Up Device Policies
With many employees using their devices for work, the security of devices becomes an issue worth paying the highest attention to. Microsoft 365 has an advanced device management functionality, with device security policies as its key element. Setting up device policies will ensure that you won’t experience data loss due to the security flaws of your employees’ devices.
You can use Basic Mobility and Security to manage mobile devices connected to your Microsoft 365 cloud environment. For example, you can configure device security policies and information access. If a device was lost or stolen, you could prevent data loss by blocking access to the account.
Check the Secure Score
Microsoft Secure Score is an analytics tool that helps you to assess the security of your system and detect potential threats. This tool gives you an opportunity to monitor your Microsoft 365 data and users from a centralized dashboard. Based on implemented security measures, you’ll see a score that represents their effectiveness.
With the Secure Score functionality, you can get the security overview and visualize the information for a report.
Arrange Security Awareness Trainings
User error prevention plays a major role in data security. Phishing, ransomware attacks, accidental deletion are just a few examples of how a careless click may cause a breach.
Security training is a great way to make your colleagues aware of cybersecurity threats and how to avoid them. An aware employee is less likely to click a phishing link or install a corrupted application.
As an admin, you can arrange training for your users. Some courses include specialized software that you can use to run a simulated phishing attack to test your colleagues.
Protect Your Account
Last but not least. You have to take care of your own account. An admin’s account is key to the whole system, and having the access compromised is definitely not something you wish to face. To give your admins’ account additional security, you should:
- Assign the least permissive role. Limit the number o account with the Global Admin’s access level. More account means more potential targets for cybercriminals. If the job requires maintaining SharePoint only, assign the SharePoint admin role.
- Set up MFA. Sure, MFA is essential for all users, but it’s a matter of life and death for an admin.
- Be aware of tailgating. Keep an eye on your device and protect it with a password.