Your organization’s office 365 needs as much security as it can get. Of course, Microsoft Office does have an inbuilt security mechanism but for starters, it’s safe to assume that you’re a weak link. So, what practices should you implement, and continuously follow to ensure your office 365 security doesn’t get compromised. In no particular order of importance, we would discuss best practices for office 365 security.
Best Practices for Office 365 Security
1. Make your passwords hard to decipher
Your office 365 has security in place for a reason. The software developers expect your organization to use strong passwords. We understand that it is important for employees to always remember their passwords. Nevertheless, this mustn’t be an excuse to use easy to guess and weak passwords. Unless your organization is a joke or as weak as your current password. You should make office 365 passwords a blend of alphabets, codes, numbers, and symbols as long as they are hard to decipher. As a rule of thumb, except you have organizations everywhere around the world. You can set conditioned access; this means your office 365 can only be accessed from countries or locations you approve access to.
2. Use Extra Security For Login
If for some reason or the other you have to easy to remember passwords. Include two-factor authentication to ensure you authorize every access to your office 365. Whether you’re using a strong or easy-to-remember password. A Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) would secure your office 365. MFA is was a solution triggered by increased phishing and theft of login credentials. With an MFA you have an extra layer of security other than the password that’s auto-generated for every employee to access features on your office 365. MFAs would demand; calls, messages, or other in-app features as an extra pre-requisite to access the cloud.
3. Customize Organization’s Office 365, Login Page
It’s easy for scammers to duplicate the office 365 login page. They do it so well that employees may fail to pick that something is off about the login page. This is why Microsoft offers branding services to organizations that want to customize their log-in page. It’s harder to track an employee with their own branded login page compared to the regular office 365 login page. It’s almost impossible to duplicate branded pages that have the organization’s theme colors, logo, and other specific information.
4. OneDrive is good enough for a Primary Folder
Often employees store files in their personal computers. This can increase the bottleneck associated with uploading information to the cloud. Office 365 has a solution to this problem. Through group policy files your employees store my documents folder on their personal computers are automatically redirected to the drive. This means by default files in your employees’ custody are automatically backed up in the OneDrive. If they are attacked there would be no data loss. Even better, this feature scraps the need to upload to the drive as a separate process. This is because it silently uploads every file your employee stores in that folder. Although data loss prevention is guaranteed, you must put proactive measures to ensure sensitive data cannot be access from the personal computers of your employees.
5. Monitor External Access
If the security of your organization’s office 365 would remain uncompromised you must monitor external access. Recall that you and your employees are the only possible weak link in the security. The reason why your organization must monitor external and internal access to data in your office 365 is far-fetched. OneDrive, SharePoint, or whatever cloud you use to facilitate the transfer of data has a seamless external access protocol. If you do not do the hard work of reviewing the security of external access you can send sensitive information to the wrong hands. Start by reviewing your external sharing settings and ensure they sync with your compliance policies.
6. Regulate Mobile access to Cloud
Employees may want to access the organization’s files from the comfort of their mobile phones. This makes work easy, but it is a potential threat to the security of your office 365. You can extend monitoring, and control of access of OneDrive or SharePoint to mobile phones. You get to restrict download, prints, screenshot, and possibly choose which employee accessed what files via their mobile phones. As an office 365 administrator, you can monitor and control the access employees’ mobile phones enjoys in the organization’s office 365 cloud. Generally, you get to control how employees view, edit, review, and share files.
7. Use the Auditing Feature
The administrator in an organization can optimize the security potential of office 365 by taking advantage of the auditing feature. The auditing feature accounts for all the activities in an office 365 cloud. The activities of all employees can be seen from the auditing tool. These auditing features also detail changes to data made by employed. These changes are not limited to but include:
- Changes to Exchange Online configuration settings.
- Changes to documents and folders by employees.
- Changes to SharePoint tenant configuration rules.
Through the auditing tool, administrators can be aware of what’s happening to data in the workspace. They also get to query employees who perform actions that compromise the security of the organization. Employees being aware that the auditing tool tracks their activity would caution themselves against doing anything contrary to the organization’s compliance policies.
8. Review Employees with Privileged access
Not every employee in an organization would earn or be given privileged access to the organization’s data. Nevertheless, there is a need for the administrator to watch and periodically review the activity of those with privileged access. Their accounts are prone to more misuse because of fewer limitations. Even worse, if their accounts are compromised, the criminals get access to your organization’s sensitive data. The office 365 administrator must periodically and frequently review employees with privileged access. If they resign or leave the organization. Their access must immediately be revoked. For safety, the login credentials and other info can be changed for every new individual who occupies a position of privileged access.
Organizations must implement these best practices for office 365 security. Always remember that these are the best practices. There are little things you can add up to the list to ensure the security of your office 365 never gets compromised.