Microsoft 365 offers multiple embedded tools to help organizations get a handle on all aspects of their security landscape, from identity and access management, workplace protection, cloud and gateway protection and data protection. If your organization is using Microsoft 365 and you are looking for ways to improve security, here are four specific tool sets that can be part of your larger security strategy.
Identity and Access Management
Insider threats can be one of the most significant threats to your organization’s security. For example, a well-meaning employee may make an error that compromises their access credentials, or a disgruntled ex-employee may intentionally wreak havoc on your critical documents.
Thankfully, Microsoft understands that organizations sometimes need to protect themselves from inside threats. That’s why they offer several solutions that make it easier to protect and restrict access as needed.
- Multi-factor authentication: With the Windows Hello feature, you can implement two-factor authentication at either the device or Active Directory level, with users verifying their identity using their smartphone and either a biometric marker or a PIN. There are other advanced multi-factor authentication options as well, which allow you to further improve identity verification and access management.
- Conditional access: With conditional access, you’ll gain control over which users and devices get access to your most sensitive corporate data. This feature also uses the latest intelligent tools to evaluate requests for information against risk profiles. This means that even if you forget to revoke that angry ex-employee’s access, your Microsoft 365 could automatically lock them out and prevent them from enacting a scorched earth policy the second they lose access to an approved device.
- Identity protection: M365 includes a variety of solutions that help you proactively manage your users’ identities, helping to protect your business against malicious actors by ensuring compromised identity credentials cannot be accessed. For example, Azure ID Identity Protection monitors accounts on an ongoing basis for suspicious activity. The Microsoft Cloud security app provides a single-pane security view across your applications and data to help ensure identity protection at that level.
On the surface, threat protection can seem simple - set up an antimalware suite, configure your firewalls, and make sure nobody clicks on dodgy links. Unfortunately, the reality is that in today’s increasingly complex digital landscape, companies can’t rely on the simple security measures of yesteryear. M365 offers multiple tools to manage threat protection across your digital environment. Some examples include:
- Azure Security Center: Unify your security management and threat-detection activities across your cloud workloads, with proactive monitoring and real-time remediation for issues that arise.
- Azure Active Directory: This identity and access solution allows you to leverage adaptive machine learning to monitor, identify, and address issues that highlight compromised identities.
- Advanced Threat Protections: This cloud-based solution helps your IT team identify and investigate a variety of issues, from advanced outside threats to malicious insider attacks.
- Office 365 Threat Intelligence: Within the M365 dedicated security center, Threat Intelligence monitors and gathers data from different sources — user activity, verifications, emails, and device level insights — to help you quickly identify and address any issues that impact your users or endanger your data.
While you are relying on Microsoft 365 to support your productivity, it’s almost inevitable that some business-critical proprietary information will eventually enter a cloud-connected Word or Excel document. If left unprotected, this can compromise the security of your data.
Fortunately, Microsoft has embedded a significant number of solutions that can help protect against attempts to destroy, alter, or share data in an unauthorized way. This ranges from industry standard offerings, like encryption that protects data in transit and at rest, to specialty solutions unique to M365.
For instance, organizations can utilize advanced labeling and capabilities across data sets and applications with integrated content management. When information is created or updated, it can be labeled according to its sensitivity levels, enabling you to develop a streamlined approach to applying policy-based security standards to help protect information. Those labels determine how each piece of information is monitored, accessed, and even deleted or retired — allowing more holistic controls across the information lifecycle.
With smart tools, organizations don’t have to rely only on user decisions. Content discovery tools can help you identify sensitive data that may be governed by obscure or complex regulations and apply the appropriate security solutions to protect it long-term. In addition, M365 has encryption that’s built into the software to protect data in transit and at rest.
M365 has a dedicated security center designed to help organizations track their security across applications, data, and identities. With these tools, it’s possible for your security administrator to track device activities, set up security alerts, and take a holistic view of organizational security.
The security center offers a centralized Secure Score dashboard to provide at-a-glance, actionable insights, while their security solutions also provide intelligent recommendations to help you identify and close security gaps quickly and efficiently. Finally, with software-defined management capabilities, you can eliminate challenges and enforce solutions across the organization with policy-based management.