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Effective Security Measures to Enhance Your Microsoft 365 Data Protection

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Maximise Your Microsoft 365 Data Protection For Your Company

Adopting the appropriate security measures will help you make the most of your Microsoft 365 apps. Microsoft 365 is a highly efficient collaboration and productivity tool. Its range of features supports remote work while providing seamless communication and scalability within your team. The level of security is also robust due to its wide array of defence mechanisms. However, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean you’re impervious to cyberattacks.

Events such as the introduction of malware, viruses, data leakage and unauthorized access, can still jeopardize your system and offer ideal entry points for cybercriminals and hackers to take advantage of your IT security vulnerabilities. Should your business fall victim, the consequences can be dire, ranging from operational disruptions to severe reputational damage that you and your business may not be able to recover from.

The only way to fend off cybercriminals is to take your Microsoft 365 data protection to the next level! In this post, we will list eleven of the most effective security measures to help shield your data in Microsoft 365 and ensure your sensitive company and customer data remains protected at all times.

Microsoft 365 data protection for your business - IT Leaders

Top Security Measures To Adopt for Microsoft 365 Data Protection

SECURITY MEASURE #1 - EMPLOY MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

Microsoft 365 users have just one method of verifying their identity when using a username and password. Unfortunately, many people fail to follow robust password protocols. If you’re doing the same, you’re exposing your organisation to potential intrusions and security breaches. That’s where multi-factor authentication (MFA) comes into play!

Utilised MFA can boost your Microsoft 365 security with one-time passphrases, passcodes, or other factors to verify user identity. Best of all, this measure is easy to apply across all your systems and devices.

However, enabling multi-factor authentication should only be your first step in ensuring ultimate Microsoft 365 data protection for your business. The next one is to activate Security Defaults – a Microsoft feature that enforces MFA in each administrator account. Another great idea is to implement MFA in all accounts without administrator permissions. This is because these accounts can still endanger major services and apps in your ecosystem.

Microsoft 365 data protection - Multi factor authentication

SECURITY MEASURE #2 - USE SESSION TIMEOUTS

Many employees fail to log out of their accounts and consistently lock their mobile devices or computers. This can grant hackers unlimited access to enterprise accounts, enabling them to easily compromise your data.

Incorporating session timeouts into internal networks and accounts automatically logs users out after a certain period of inactivity. That means people are unable to take over devices and will not be able to access sensitive information.

Session timeouts for Microsoft 365 data protection

SECURITY MEASURE #3 - REFRAIN FROM PUBLIC CALENDAR SHARING

Calendar sharing enables your employees to synchronize and share schedules with colleagues. While this facilitates team collaboration, it can also give hackers valuable insights into your business operations and vulnerable users. For example, if your security administrator is on holiday and this information is publicly available, attackers could potentially use this window to launch malware on their account or system which may potentially go unnoticed until they return.

SECURITY MEASURE #4 - UTILISE ADVANCED THREAT PROTECTION (ATP)

Advanced threat protection (ATP) is a robust solution that recognises and prevents advanced threats that usually bypass antivirus and firewall defences. It grants access to a database that receives real-time updates, allowing users to understand the threats and integrate the data into their analysis.

ATP notifies you about attacks, the severity, and the method that stopped them, regardless of the source. It’s especially effective at preventing phishing, relying on machine learning and a massive database of suspicious sites notorious for malware delivery or phishing attempts to provide you with the best threat protection.

Microsoft 365 Advanced Threat Protection

SECURITY MEASURE #5 - LEVERAGE POLICY ALERTS

Microsoft 365 lets you establish your policy notifications in the compliance centre to meet your company’s security needs. For example, they send your employees tips on sending sensitive information whenever they’re about to send a message to a contact outside your network. These warnings can safeguard against data leaks while educating your team on safe data sharing methods.

SECURITY MEASURE #6 - SECURE MOBILE ACCESS

Your team often uses devices, such as smartphones, to access work emails, contacts, documents, and calendars, especially if they work remotely. Therefore, securing their devices should be your top priority when protecting your company’s data. The best way to do this is to install Microsoft 365 mobile device management features. They can let you manage your security policy, permissions, restrictions, and wipe crucial information from stolen or lost devices as needed. Following this measure can definitely help towards providing top-level Microsoft 365 data protection for your business devices, company wide.

Secure Mobile Access to ensure Microsoft 365 Data Protection

SECURITY MEASURE #7 - DEACTIVATE LEGACY AUTHENTICATION Protocol

It’s worth noting that legacy protocols don’t support several security features in Microsoft 365 that reduce the chances of intrusion, such as MFA. This can make them perfect gateways for cybercriminals who want to target your organisation.

That said, your best bet is to deactivate legacy protocols to mitigate risks. However, you may not want to disable legacy authentication if your team needs it for older email accounts. The good news is that you can still make your network safer by restricting access to users who don’t need this protocol.

SECURITY MEASURE #8 - ROLE-BASED ACCESS CONTROL INTEGRATION

Access management is a convenient security feature that can limit the flow of private information across your business. It allows you to establish the users who can access data in your company. For instance, you can minimise data leaks by preventing rank-and-file team members from reading and editing executive-level files. As an effective Microsoft 365 data protection measure, role-based access control integration is highly recommended to implement in your business, no matter its size.

SECURITY MEASURE #9 - RELIANCE ON UNIFIED AUDIT LOG (UAL)

Unified audit log (UAL) includes logs from several Microsoft 365 services, such as Microsoft Teams, Azure AD, OneDrive and SharePoint Online. Enabling it can give the administrator insight into malicious activity and actions that violate organisational policies.

You may also want to incorporate your logs into an existing SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) tool. Doing so enables you to connect audit logs with current log monitoring and management solutions to reveal any suspicious or abnormal activity. Plus, utilising a UAL can improve the overall security of your Microsoft 365 suite.

Unified Audit Log to protect Microsoft 365 data

SECURITY MEASURE #10 - Email Encryption

Encrypting sensitive data is often the last resort when dealing with data breaches. But if cyber criminals access your emails, robust encryption tools can make them unreadable. That’s why email encryption is definitely something worth looking into. This feature is essential for Microsoft 365 users who share emails and files regularly and is highly recommended for any sized business.

SECURITY MEASURE #11 - CONDUCT REGULAR STAFF EDUCATION & TRAINING

The above measures are undoubtedly effective, but they may amount to nothing if you leave your employees out of the loop. In fact, human error is the leading cause of most data breaches. One of the best ways to prevent future security breaches in your business is to schedule regular employee security training and education sessions. These can help raise their awareness of potential threats and guide them on how to address them properly in different scenarios.

This is especially important when recruiting new employees too. Make sure they undergo in-depth cyber security training before granting them access to sensitive data and organisational devices.

regular staff cyber security training to ensure microsoft 365 data protection

Don't risk your business's sensitive information!

Learn how to protect your Microsoft 365 data & Minimise the risk of data breaches

Microsoft 365 offers a comprehensive range of intuitive and convenient tools for you and your staff to utilise. The experience can be so smooth that you may even forget about protecting your data. However, you’re taking a huge gamble in doing so, as it leaves your system wide open for hackers and cybercriminals to infiltrate at any time.

With that in mind, applying the defence mechanisms mentioned in this article will dramatically decrease security threats to your business. Don’t leave your business’s Microsoft 365 data protection to chance – speak to the professionals at IT Leaders today! Our team can help you further ensure your security when using Microsoft 365 apps within your business, no matter your size or industry. Contact us today to learn more about our cyber security, IT consulting and managed IT services or organise an IT security audit for your business. We would love to have a short obligation-free chat so you can find out how we can keep your organisation safe from cyber attacks and minimise potential Microsoft 365 data breaches!

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