How Secure Is The Data In Microsoft 365?

data analysis in microsoft 365

The growing popularity of the cloud-based work environment has encouraged businesses to move their operations to the cloud. While they are migrating the data online, a common question they ask is “What’s the security they can expect from the cloud”?

The demand for SaaS, like Microsoft 365, is on the rise. But, does it feature crucial security tools? Or, does it need to be integrated with third-party security applications for improved security?

Most IT help desk service providers rely on Microsoft 365 for emails, calendars, and other office tools. Here’s why.

Microsoft 365 Security: Here’s How Secure it is

Used by millions of users worldwide, Office 365 is a popular security and productivity suite. It’s a cloud-based service that covers Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other applications that boost your productivity and allow businesses to run routine management operations flawlessly. Office 365 brings cloud services, productivity apps, and security tools into one place.

Security-wise, Microsoft 365 is an ideal tool for all sizes of businesses. It offers anti-phishing, anti-malware, and other advanced security tools that protect your organization from cyber threats. Let’s check out the security features of Microsoft 365 to learn more about its function and safety.

Security Features Explained

Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan includes advanced security capabilities. Overall, the security service of the application is based on the following areas.

1. Identity and Access Management

A primary concern of every business is giving secure access to the company’s confidential resources. With hundreds of employees working in your organization, you need to ensure that each employee is authorized to access only what’s needed to conduct their jobs.

Microsoft’s IAM (Identity and Access Management) protects users’ login credentials and ensures safe and authorized access to sensitive databases, networks, and other resources. It enables your IT help desk providers to set access levels based on the user’s role in your organization.

Not only are they safe, but Microsoft’s IAM boosts employees’ productivity. The fast sign-in saves employees the time spent on remembering and managing passwords.

2. Threat Protection

Protecting your database and network from emerging cyber threats must be your main priority. Fortunately, Microsoft 365 has built-in automated security solutions that are designed to protect your emails, Microsoft accounts, apps, and devices from unauthorized access.

  • Security Information and Event Management: Microsoft’s Sentinel is a robust security tool, which offers clear visibility into an organization’s security operations. It helps identify the threats before they cause any significant loss to the business.
  • Extended Detection & Response (XDR): XDR is another security tool that extends Microsoft’s security beyond the email and user’s accounts. The service covers a wide range of products and enables in-depth investigation, visibility, and analytics to better assess and mitigate the risk of security threats.

3. Information Protection

Protecting your data from third-party access is vital for your overall business security. Microsoft Purview Information Protection enables people to identify, govern, and protect users’ sensitive data within the systems and during transmission. Here’s how it protects your sensitive information.

  • Classification: Identify sensitive and crucial data stored across on-premises and cloud platforms. Knowing which data carries higher risk allows businesses to modify, delete, and update the data to prevent criminals from accessing it.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): It’s a set of security procedures that determine who should get access to your confidential data. This security protocol implements encryption and authentication to avoid data security threats and data loss.

4. Security and Risk Management

Microsoft 365 has built-in risk management protocols and is compatible with third-party security tools that assess the risk level and detect suspicious activities before they cause any harm to the employees, customer, and the company.

The machine-learning capabilities with AI-powered security tools give detailed risk-management insights, allowing businesses to prevent insider threats. Do you know the average cost of preventing insider threats is up to USD $15.4 million? The average time it takes to contain such threats is 85 days. Imagine the level of damage it can cause if left unaddressed.

Fortunately, Microsoft 365 has advanced security and risk management protocols in place. It detects and prevents insider threats and communication risks. The Customer Lockbox feature, for instance, offers businesses greater control over their data. It allows employees to grant or deny permission to get access to specific applications.

Best Security Practices for Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 comes with built-in security functions and productivity tools that automate your hectic manual tasks and ensure safety across on-premise and cloud-based operations. Here’s how to use them wisely.

  • Enable MFA: Multi-factor authentication creates an additional layer of security for your sensitive accounts. It requests the user to enter a one-time password sent to their mobiles, scan their IDs, or put their fingerprints on the system to get access to the restricted applications. This ensures that even if a hacker knows the passwords to your accounts, they can’t log in until they complete the multi-factor authentication.
  • Least Privilege Model: Following a least privileged model enables users to access only what’s necessary. Disabling employees to access admin accounts will enhance your organization’s security by controlling insider threats.
  • Encryption: Office 365 comes with Office Message Encryption capabilities that encrypt your message and ensures that no one except the recipient and the sender can decode the message. It makes it impossible for a third party to read the message even if they conduct a man-in-the-middle attack to get unauthorized access to the data in transmission.
  • Implement Anti-Phishing Protection: Educating your employees about phishing attempts and enabling Safe Attachment protection for your Microsoft 365 accounts will prevent data loss due to phishing attempts. The built-in anti-phishing tools in Microsoft Office 365 detect suspicious attachments or malicious links and warn you about them.

Bottom Line

Microsoft offers a 99.9% ultimate guarantee, which covers a vast range of insider threats and security risks. However, it doesn’t guarantee protection from human errors, programmatic mistakes, and ransomware attacks. Implementing its security features can protect employees and the organization to some extent, but for advanced security, it’s important that you work with IT teams and implement third-party security solutions.

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