Businesses using Microsoft 365 must find ways to protect sensitive information and business data. Luckily, the suite offers numerous security features to help you stop external and internal threat actors from harming your business.
In addition, you can turn your attention to the various Microsoft Office 365 security tips from cybersecurity experts to protect your accounts even more. By combining both, you will have an easier time protecting your organization as a whole.
But that begs the question. What are the expert Office 365 security tips that achieve total protection? Fear not, as we will give you the best practices and tips to protect your company data.
With all that said, let’s start.
6 Tips For Microsoft Office 365 Total Protection
Microsoft recommends taking a series of steps to protect everything from Office 365 tenants to mobile device management. These steps apply to various sections of Office 365 and are capable of adding multiple security layers to your apps and services.
Here are the best tips for M365 total protection.
Using Multi-Factor Authentication
A multi-factor authenticator is the first and easiest security feature to add to your Office 365 tenant. MFA adds an additional layer of authentication security by requesting a code every time you log in to your account.
You might think of MFA as tedious, especially since you need to add the code every time you log in, but it’s a small price to pay for data security. Given the massive collaboration capabilities of Microsoft 365, one wrong move could spark the end of your security capabilities.
Therefore, preventing unauthorized access by implementing multi-factor authentication becomes a necessity. Simply put, MFA is the very first security feature to add to every tenant. To add MFA, you must use a code or authentication app on your smartphone to sign in to Microsoft 365. It’s that simple but highly effective at preventing unauthorized access.
Protecting Admin Accounts
Admin accounts are responsible for a lot of functions vital to Office 365. In addition, admins have privileged accounts that allow setting permissions for other accounts. Access to any information in Office 365 makes these accounts highly valuable and susceptible to cyberattacks.
Potential cybersecurity threats will explicitly target an admin account. That’s why it’s essential to prevent data breaches by protecting these accounts specifically. So what’s the best way to do that?
We can already leverage MFA as one layer of security, while another way to protect these accounts is to assign roles through Azure Active Directory. In addition, grant only the access users need to the data and operations they need to perform. That way, you are minimizing the risk of compromised accounts.
One last tip before we move, ensure admins have a separate user account. One for non-administrative use and one for admin use.
Use Microsoft Preset Security Policies
Microsoft gives each account a set of preset security policies that apply the recommended security settings. These settings include anything from anti-phishing protection to data loss prevention.
It’s important to use these security policies as they include the recommended steps to prevent malware from harming your suite. You can also create custom security policies to better suit your business needs. But we recommend against using custom policies if you have little to no experience with cybersecurity.
If you do want to create custom policies, you can apply them to any Office 365 app or service, such as OneDrive, SharePoint Online, and more.
Provide Employee Training
If you truly want to protect sensitive business data, you must provide cybersecurity employee training. Unfortunately, employees are frequent cybercrime victims, as hackers know they have limited cybersecurity knowledge. In addition, an employee is far less likely to spot cybersecurity threats than trained admins.
But what should the training focus on the most? There is one thing that employees must know regarding cybercrime, and that’s email protection. Email is the preferred vector of attack for most cybercriminals.
They explicitly target organizations through email messages containing malicious files or links. Therefore, you must provide essential email protection training so employees can spot threats such as phishing attacks, malware, and ransomware.
Use Microsoft 365 Apps
Microsoft 365 includes every MS app that can be downloaded on your PC or used through a web browser. M365 apps are also called Office apps; chances are you’ve used all of them (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).
Office apps allow us greater control over document sharing between devices. For example, you can start working on a document on your work laptop and resume on your home PC. Before Microsoft or Office apps, the only way to share these documents across devices is to send them as email attachments.
You should avoid doing this at all costs, as potential threat actors with access to your email account can steal sensitive data on attached documents. Instead, you should share links to documents stored in SharePoint Online or OneDrive.
The easiest way to share any document, even on mobile devices, is to add them to your OneDrive cloud.
Use Stronger Passwords
This next tip is rather simple but one that can directly bypass your Microsoft security features. Namely, we’ve all been in a situation where we’ve reused passwords. While it might be difficult to keep track of all accounts and passwords, you must implement a strong password for your Office account.
If a hacker already has the standard password that you use on every account, they can gain user access to your Office tenant just by knowing your login address. Therefore, don’t get sloppy and create a dedicated password for your Office 365 tenant. Ensure the password is strong, and never use it on other user accounts.
That concludes the Microsoft Office 365 security tips to keep your business data safe. Implementing these tips and native Office features will bring you closer to total protection.
But user error remains the number one reason why hackers are so successful. So, from all the tips on the list, training employees on cybersecurity is a worthwhile investment. In addition, you can try third-party advanced threat protection tools to shore up Microsoft Office 365 security completely.