If you want to protect your organization on the cloud, consider exploring the Office 365 security features. Every business using the Microsoft Office 365 suite should implement the industry’s best practices to prevent data theft and loss.

This short guide will help you understand the numerous Office 365 security features and give you the best practices for data loss prevention. So with all that said, let’s start.

Understanding Microsoft Office Security

person using laptop

Before we get into the security features and best practices, it’s important to understand Microsoft’s operation model regarding data security. Namely, Microsoft refers to a model called “the shared model.” This model says that Microsoft isn’t responsible for your data but is responsible for maintaining service upkeep.

In short, Microsoft will ensure all of its services are running and data on the cloud is fully secure. But, on the other hand, you’re responsible for your data. Another thing to mention is that you can use Microsoft’s security features and best practices to protect against data theft. However, Microsoft also recommends using third-party software for total protection.

With that out the way, let’s see some of the industry’s best practices regarding data continuity.

Microsoft Office 365 Security Best Practices

Cybersecurity experts agree on a series of best practices for M365 to protect your data. These practices utilize Microsoft 365’s native security tools to protect user accounts. Let’s see what they are.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

person using computer

Courtesy of the Microsoft authentication app, every user can enable multi-factor authentication to protect against unauthorized log-in attempts. MFA provides users with another layer of defense by preventing user access to unauthorized actors.

With MFA, users must type a code from their authentication app. If the typed code doesn’t match the code on the app, the user cannot gain access. Fortunately, this code refreshes every 60 seconds, giving you enough time to get it right and not enough time for hackers to try and bypass it.

Enable Unified Audit Logs

The following “best practice” is possible thanks to the numerous security features in the Security and Compliance Center. Enabling unified audit logs allows administrator accounts to keep track of all the user and admin activity in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

The center is the hub for all user, group, app, domain, and directory activities. The UAL (Unified Audit Log) contains events from various Microsoft applications and services, including Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, etc.

Administrators can also look for specific user and admin activities after they enable the Unified Audit Log and gain greater search capabilities.

Use Separate User Accounts

Microsoft 365 has two types of accounts; user and admin accounts. As one might imagine, user accounts lack the elevated privileges of administrator accounts. But a person labeled as an “admin” should only use their admin account to perform specific roles.

Therefore, another in the series of “best practices” should be to encourage admins to use separate user accounts when handling everyday tasks and use the admin account for administrator-related tasks.

Consider the fact that admin accounts are high-value targets for hackers and cybercriminals.

Use Anti-Phishing And Safe Attachment Protection

Hackers target organizations by sending malicious links through email. Since email is the preferred communication channel for businesses and organizations, protecting your email accounts from phishing attacks becomes a priority.

For that, you can use anti-phishing and safe attachment protection in the Security and Compliance Center. This feature scans incoming emails for phishing links and ensures total protection. In addition, if the feature identifies a malicious link, it will quarantine the email and even delete it should you choose to do so.

Use Email Encryption

person reading email

Encryption is a Microsoft Office 365 email security feature that prevents unauthorized access by only allowing the intended recipients to view the email. This feature is fully operational on Microsoft 365 and works in two ways.

Every user in your organization receives an encryption and decryption key. Users must use the encryption key to encrypt email messages and the decryption key to decrypt incoming emails. However, the user that sends the email can specify the recipients. Therefore, only they can decrypt the email if the email message has specified recipients.

Conclusion

That concludes this short guide on Microsoft Office 365 security features and best practices. With these features and best practices, you can keep your organization safe against internal and external threat actors. However, these aren’t all the things tenants can do to protect organizations. So, consider further exploring the numerous Microsoft Office security features.

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