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Microsoft Office 365 Security Best Practices

The importance of security in today’s world is underscored every time a company experiences a data breach. The ensuing media coverage and fallout from a data breach can result in loss of reputation, loss of customers and loss of revenue.

Therefore, it’s crucial in today’s world that businesses take all the steps necessary to avoid data breaches or compromised accounts. As more organizations migrate to cloud services, this becomes an even bigger consideration, and you must make sure that your service provider is safeguarding the security of your data as closely as you are.

When it comes to data security in the cloud, the customer must be able to trust that the service provider is constantly maintaining and improving compliance. They must be able to keep technologies up to date in order to detect and ward off new threats that are constantly being developed. As companies migrate to Office 365, it’s important to understand what controls are in place to ensure data security.

Microsoft has developed a two-sided approach to data security. On one side, Microsoft manages service-level capabilities such as technologies, operational procedures and any policies that are enabled by default. On the flip side of that coin, the customer can manage the Office 365 environment in a way that lets you customize the platform to best serve the needs of your organization. Let’s take a deeper dive into the best practices Microsoft has created, ensuring the greatest level of protection to detect and prevent data breaches.

Office 365 Secure Score

Office 365 Secure Score is a security analytics tool that analyzes the security of your Office 365 environment and assigns a numerical score to it. At the same time, it makes suggestions of what can be done to improve the score and create a more secure configuration.

Instead of using the “low,” “medium” or “high” risk categories often used to calculate threat levels, Secure Score gives very specific measurements and also allows you to compare that score against the average Office 365 score.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication creates a secure environment by requiring the use of more than one verification method for each user. This means requiring each user to acknowledge a secondary notification (such as a phone call, text, biometrics or app notification) after their password has been entered.

This protects accounts against unauthorized access if a user’s password has been compromised and creates a safer overall environment.

Office 365 Cloud App Security

Available with the Office 365 Enterprise E5 program, Cloud App Security can also be purchased as an add-on for other Enterprise versions. It allows administrators to see any suspicious activity that appears in Office 365 and investigate potential threats.

Cloud App Security can send notifications of triggered alerts for suspicious activities (such as downloading large amounts of data), suspend any accounts that exhibit suspicious behavior like multiple failed login attempts and monitor how your data is being accessed and used.

Secure Mail Flow

Using Transport Layer Security, or TLS, Exchange Online allows you to set up a secure mail flow with a partner you trust using Office 365 connectors. These connectors ensure secure transmissions of communication over the internet and will configure both incoming and outgoing mail with enforced encryption.

It also allows you to set up other security restrictions such as specifying domain names and IP address ranges.

Mailbox Audit Logging

Mailbox audit logs allow you to see when a mailbox was updated unexpectedly or if items are missing from the mailbox. Mailbox audit logging lets you see actions performed by non-owners and administrators. It can be enabled for all Office 365 user mailboxes through the Windows Remote PowerShell.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

The greatest threat to your data is not malware or a targeted attack; instead, a much more common cause of data breaches is user error. Office 365 utilizes technology designed to identify, monitor and protect sensitive data. It can help users understand and manage data risk in a number of ways, such as identifying sensitive information in an email and alerting the user before they send that information.

Because of the seamless interaction of programs, the DLP is active across the platform for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive.

Customer Lockbox

The customer lockbox is designed to give Office 365 admins control over the way your data is accessed by a Microsoft support engineer during help sessions. When an engineer needs access to your data to help troubleshoot and resolve an issue, you can use the lockbox to approve or reject an access request.

This is a safe way to ensure data protection and, since the access is granted to content for a specified time, it ensures that the information cannot be accessed from outside support in the future.

The customer lockbox is included with the Enterprise E5 plan, or it can be purchased as an add-on for other Enterprise plans.

Where Security Meets Productivity

Office 365 is designed for today’s business world, empowering users to do more, regardless of where they may be. In a time when security threats and data breaches are top concerns for every business user, Office 365 is equipped with the security features that allow users to work more confidently and know that they are receiving the best possible protection.

Using the full range of security features and implementing best practices within your organization ensures that Office 365’s platform can provide security at every level. And, in a world where the cost of on-premise security continues to rise, Office 365 allows you to maintain that same level of security in the cloud at a fraction of the cost of on-premise management.

Regardless of whether you are a small business or a large enterprise, there’s an Office 365 license that provides the features you need. With a range of price points, options and even add-on features, today’s business users have the power to configure and manage a customized platform that allows them to operate more efficiently and cost effectively.

If you’d like to learn more about Office 365 and what Aventis Systems can do to help your business migrate to the cloud, contact us today at 1-855-AVENTIS or visit www.aventissystems.com.