Office 365 Security Best Practices - Defend Now or Pay Later
The pandemic has driven small and midsized businesses to unprecedented levels of remote-access work. With the physical expansion of networks, it is more important than ever to secure a company’s hard-earned data. Many businesses rely on the Microsoft suite of office tools. Office 365 is a very interconnected platform. With that connectivity come many potentially vulnerable access points through which cybercriminals can breach your data.
Microsoft Office 365 Security
Fortunately, some great security features are built into the Office 365 platform. Microsoft updates the software components regularly and continues to fix security vulnerabilities when they become apparent. Users have options in their settings to protect data created in Microsoft applications. But no matter what security measures you have in place for your network, your system will be protected only when everyone on the network follows the same cyber security protocols. Here are some essential first steps:
- Administrator Account Privileges –
- When deciding who can do what, begin by allowing the same minimal access credentials for everyone.
- Next, privileges can be added as appropriate for each job requirement. For example, the graphics department doesn’t need access to bank accounts, and the accountants don’t need to access proprietary logos and graphic designs.
- Restrict Administrator privileges to as small a group as possible. Employees can unwittingly or intentionally open the door for cyberattacks.
- Set company-wide cyber security protocols and plan initial and ongoing training to maintain compliance.
- Outlook Encryption – Securing Outlook through email encryption is a tool that comes with Microsoft 365. This built-in option is compatible with most email platforms. By setting email encryption, your company can send and receive encrypted emails, which are readable by only the intended recipient and the sender.
- Securing Outlook Using Settings – Administrator-level functions are easily set and can be applied company-wide to block certain attachment file types, commonly infected with malware https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malware. Such files will be filtered out (blocked). In Outlook Settings, Click on Common Attachment Types Filter. Then, click “On.” You can then add or delete different file types that you wish to be blocked at any time.
- Multi-Factor Authentication – The most fundamental aspect of cyber security comes with authorized users using the correct accounts. Multi-Factor Authentication or MFA is part of a secure login process. MFA works in tandem with your password and requests one or more additional credentials to prove you are who you say you are. Further security questions, passwords or codes instantly make it more difficult for a cybercriminal or another employee to steal credentials and get into an account. This strong additional security layer is worth a few extra keystrokes when you log on to your network.
- Defend Against Ransomware – Data can be frozen, encrypted and held hostage by a ransomware attack. By creating two basic mail-flow rules in Outlook: applying the file type filter (as outlined above) and warning the user of potential threats before they open attachments, you can mitigate many ransomware attacks. Rules that you build into your system and user compliance are crucial to your ransomware defense.
- Anti-Phishing Defense – Phishing is cyber forgery. Hackers disguise their attacks to look like emails from trusted or familiar sources. There is no iron-clad defense against phishing. The first line of defense is with the user, who must pause and review before automatically clicking on an attachment to an email or text. Phishing is now one of cybercriminals' most common methods to access personal and business data. Security layers can help reduce phishing attacks, but the best defense is heightened awareness and user caution.
- Cyber Security Training – Data security must become an integral part of your business culture and include ongoing training for all users' levels. Everyone who connects to your business network and accesses company data must be given basic training regarding the importance of following your security protocols. Your network is only as strong as your weakest user. You must make sure everyone in your company is on the same page.
- Stop Auto-forwarding on emails – Once hackers have breached your company’s network and gained access to your email account, they can steal mail by surreptitiously setting user mailboxes to automatically forward all mail to unknown recipients. Creating a mail-flow rule will prevent the auto-forwarding of mail to hackers.
Cybercriminals want to maximize their exploitation of breached accounts. To increase their infiltration level, many hackers will monitor the hacked accounts' activity over time to ascertain how they can “best” inflict the most damage and determine which data is most valuable.
As your business grows, expands its network and adds more devices such as smart controls, wireless access and remote access, your network vulnerability grows, too. DIGIGUARD specializes in proactive cyber threat protection, including malware defenses, and has a wide array of solutions for small and midsized businesses to defend against network data breaches. They are cyber security experts who can ensure your confidential business and banking data has the best protection possible. DIGIGUARD can provide solutions that offer early detection of potential cyber threats before they happen. DIGIGUARD can assess your cyber vulnerability and work with you to ensure you have the best network and data protection solutions for your business.
Contact DIGIGUARD CYBER SECURITY at 833-33-CYBER (833-332-9237) www.DIGIGUARDsecurity.com to discuss strategies for protecting your hard-earned business data.