9 easy and smart ways to enhance your security with Microsoft 365 Business
In the previous article we have discussed the best practices that will enhance the cyber security of your Office 365 Business. This time let’s discover what Microsoft 365 has to offer in terms of security. Let’s clarify a few things before we move on, as Office 365 and Microsoft 365 are often mixed up. Microsoft 365 is a bundle solution that comprises Office 365 Business Premium, Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Keep it in mind if you’d like to make sure your employees can collaborate effectively, stay mobile and feel secured from cyber threats 24/7.
A little spoiler – Microsoft 365 (M365) is super cool in terms of security because you get everything you need in one package and you can control all the great features from one portal. It enjoys all the best from Office 365 but also includes features available only as add-ons for Office package, plus, of course, Windows Defender and EMS. Let’s see what these features are:
Office message encryption
In M365 Business a functionality of message encryption is available. It makes it possible to:
*send encrypted emails to anyone inside your organization or outside, to any email address, including Office 365, Microsoft accounts (like Hotmail or Outlook.com), and Google ID to just name a few;
- receive encrypted messages and open them from any app on any device;
- be sure that recipients won’t be able to forward this email to others, as encrypted emails are sent with a “Do Not Forward” setting.
Encryption can easily make your corporate communication a lot safer. You can find more about message encryption here.
Anti-phishing protection (ATP)
Social engineering brought phishing scams to a new level, where they look almost like genuine. But where human can be tricked artificial intelligence will trace suspicious details. M365 Business includes Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), where specialized code unmasks phishing attacks trying to penetrate the organization via corporate e-mail. Often such attacks are impersonation based. You can easily set it right by choosing among various policy options to better identify and prevent phishing and spoofing attempts.
ATP safe attachments and safe links
ATP safe attachments tool opens every attached file in a virtual environment before releasing it to the user. The possible outcomes are:
- safe attachment will be open right away after scanning;
- attachment containing malicious content will be removed and a warning message will be displayed.
What if an e-mail containing malicious content managed to squeeze into user’s inbox folder? ATP safe links policy can still save you – when user clicks on a link ATP verifies web address (URL), included in the e-mail or Office document. If for some reason the link does not pass verification one of the warning alerts will pop up:
Exchange Online Archiving
Organizations often need to keep their business correspondence for litigation, compliance or other purposes. Online Archiving can complete the task of backing up your emails the most convenient way. When Online Archiving is enabled:
- an archive mailbox is created within the user’s primary mailbox;
- users may use both their archives and primary mailboxes;
- deleted items or even a deleted mailbox can be recovered;
- retention tags may be applied both by users (personal tags) and by admins (retention policy tags). Retention tag specifies how long the message is kept and the action taken when retention time expires; retention policy is a method of applying a group of retention tags to the mailbox, it defines the time e-mails, folder or the whole mailbox will be retained and whether it will be then deleted or preserved to comply with litigation or government requirements;
- if retention tag is not applied, default retention tag will be applied to the file.
Check out this link to enable archive mailboxes.
Azure Information protection
Given the exponential amount of data generated in our environments today, it is obvious that the instrument able to find sensitive information in those gigabytes of data and protect it, is needed. This instrument is Azure Information Protection. It offers capabilities for detecting, classifying and labelling files. Once applied label makes them confidential, general or any other to your choice. AIP can classify and label your data:
- at rest;
- in use;
- in motion.
And wherever it may reside:
- Microsoft’s Cloud;
- SaaS apps;
- non-Microsoft Clouds;
- your own data center in on-premises file servers;
- other platforms such as Apple/Mac;
- non-Microsoft file types (e.g. PDFs in Adobe Reader).
This is pretty cool. It means that your data is protected no matter which service it actually ends up in, because all these services recognize the labels, so protections, implied by labels, are always going to be respected.
Microsoft developed Intune, a tool which helps organization to reach outside of its perimeter, manage and control both Microsoft and non-Microsoft devices. It’s compatible with the most common devices and apps in the marketplace, so the employees’ mobility has grown considerably. And the best thing about Intune is that with such a great number of various devices supervised, it still guarantees corporate data security.
To learn more about Intune and how to get started using it, please, see here.
Data loss prevention
Data loss prevention (DLP) is a specific policy which may assist you in detecting personal sensitive data stored in various locations, like SharePoint or OneDrive etc., and prevent your users from inadvertently sharing it. They are offered policy tips that help them to comply with your DLP policies and still don’t interfere with their work. Here you can find the overview of DLP policies and get started with DLP policy recommendations.
Windows Defender in M365 is protecting end points running Windows in your organization. Similar to O365 and Azure AD, Windows Defender has its own Advanced Threat Protection and these three ATPs actually collaborate. Windows ATP uses a sensor that monitors activity on the operating system on the end point trying to identify anomalous activity, that might be indicative of a potential threat having taken hold of that machine.
Windows Defender Exploit Guard consists of:
- Exploit protection detects the possible intrusion and use mitigation techniques to protect you from advanced threats like zero-day exploits;
- Reduce attack surface configuring rules helping to find apps and files that act like malware, infecting machines;
- Network protection capabilities which block traffic to low reputation destinations by applying reputation analyses. This prevents users from accessing phishing and exploit sites, and downloading malicious files;
- Controlled folder access protects files from malicious software (like ransomware). It assesses all apps and doesn’t let malicious or suspicious ones make changes to files in protected folders.
Microsoft 365 Secure Score
Office 365 Secure score was already mentioned in a previous article , but with M365 it is also more “advanced”, as it analyses how well both Office 365 and Windows are secured and gives recommendations, suggesting specific controls you can apply to improve your security positioning. It’s easy to use and helps to understand where you are in terms of security.
Summarizing the above, let’s note that M365 offers many more advanced security features that will turn threat protection into an exciting “journey” of customizing its instruments to meet all your needs and requirements, helping your business flourish and you sleep with a peaceful mind. But if all this customization becomes confusing, don’t hesitate to reach out, and we’ll be glad to assist you.