Many companies use the enormous platform known as Microsoft 365. It is considered the world’s most well-liked office productivity tool and plays a crucial role in daily business tasks and transactions. Due to its high level of features that protect your data, convenient cloud storage system, and accessible tools, it is no surprise that M365 has become the best tool for businesses. 

During COVID, companies were forced to incorporate remote working into their routine; therefore, the Microsoft 365 platform became an essential tool for remote workers. The M365 tool brought about numerous benefits, including scalability and easy collaboration. However, this has allowed hackers and cyber-criminals to target business networks. 

According to a study, 65% of businesses in Singapore have experienced cyber-attacks in the past year. Microsoft 365 has a variety of built-in security capabilities and features. Still, some essential M365 security tips are available to help you significantly improve your cyber security posture, secure your company, and handle threats like targeted phishing, insider attacks, business email compromise, and more. Here are some of the best security essentials for using Microsoft 365. Keep in mind that no one-stop-shop solution can completely protect your business; however, having a layered security strategy is the only way to reduce cyber-attacks and risks to your business. Be sure to consult with a certified Managed IT provider to get the best advice.

7 Security Essentials for Microsoft 365

Although M365 has many built-in security features, there are also various ways businesses can strengthen their cyber security posture. Here are 7 ways you Microsoft 365 security tips to consider

1. Ensure Multi-factor Authentication is compulsory and enabled

Multi-factor authentication is one effective way to increase Microsoft 365 security and prevent account hacking. Users must provide various pieces of proof (factors) in order to authenticate using multi-factor authentication. MFA is already supported by Microsoft 365, and it is a must-have feature. When the multi-factor authentication is enabled, you will be asked to input a unique code or provide another form of MFA verification when logging in to use Microsoft Office 365. Adding this Microsoft security essential helps prevent hackers from taking control of an account should your employees use easy-to-guess passwords or leave the password written down in the open.  Consult with your IT team on how to set up the MFA without employee resistance.

2. Create and Implement a Strong Password Policy

Cyber-attacks are increasing each day, and it is easy for hackers to breach a Microsoft 365 organization because of the easy-to-guess passwords that are constantly being used or left in the open. Therefore, one way to prevent a breach is to implement and enforce a strong password policy.  Here are some rules to follow to create a strong password

  • Mix uppercase, lowercase, digits, and symbols.
  • Avoid using common phrases, names, or words.
  • Use long passwords (should be at least eight characters)
  • Do not use the same username and password for different accounts. Instead, have various login details for all the accounts you have.
  • Do not use passwords like abcde…z, 1234…0, etc.
  • Regularly revise your password, at least every three to six months.

This goes without saying that using strong passwords is essential for maintaining high Microsoft 365 security.

3. Reduce Permissions and Use Admin Accounts

It may be practical to give all employees unrestricted access to vital data. However, employees having free access to vital information can lead to a serious security risk. Therefore, access and permissions to sensitive information should be restricted instead. Limit permission by creating dedicated admin accounts for specific employees or use one admin account that administrators share and use only when conducting admin activities. Equip the admin accounts with MFA and limit these accounts to a few. This makes the unauthorized use of an administrative account easier to spot.

4. Activate and Use Advanced Threat Protection

One of the biggest cyber security threats is phishing emails. These frequently contain dangerous links and email attachments that spread malware. Microsoft 365 advanced threat protection is a very powerful security essential. This tool identifies, prevents, and reacts to advanced threats that can evade some security protections such as antivirus, firewall, and monitoring solutions.  Advanced threat protection also provides access to a real-time updated database.

5. Deploy Mobile Device Management

Whether you are operating a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy or not, your employees, especially those who work remotely, are probably accessing business data using their phones, tablets, or laptops. Thanks to the built-in MDM feature (Intune), which is available with Microsoft 365 Business Premium and certain enterprise plans, employees can access email using mobile devices provided by their employers. This Microsoft 365 security essential will prevent users from having access to your Office 365 environment unless they have the MDM solution installed on their device. With the help of mobile device management (MDM), you can set up restrictions for mobile devices, create user-level policies, and even completely wipe a device if it has been lost or stolen.

6. Use M365 Message Encryption

Microsoft 365 comes with a pre-configured feature called message encryption. This security feature encrypts your email messages. Thanks to this security functionality, you will be able to send and receive encrypted emails. Only people authorized will be able to view the message content.

7. Enable Unified Audit Logs

Adequate security requires taking every care to prevent unwanted access to your Microsoft 365 and all platforms within your network. The benefit of the unified audit log is that it records all application, domain, group, user, and directory operations made in the Microsoft 365 admin center. This way, you will be able to trace suspicious behaviors.

Get in Touch with A Microsoft 365 Security Expert

The Microsoft Office 365 security specialists at Managed IT Asia keep our client’s data secure in Asia.  To schedule an appointment, contact us or call +65 6748 8776.

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    MANAGED IT ASIA, we are an IT Support, IT Solutioning and Managed IT Service Provider specializing in serving Small Businesses across Asia. Call us at +65 6748 8776 and let us manage your Small Business IT today!