Cloud resources are inherently susceptible to cyber-attacks because they are accessed remotely. Because of this, cloud vendors – like Microsoft with Office 365 – have gone to great lengths to build security features that allow administrators to mitigate the vast majority of these threats. However, these features need to be employed and managed precisely to protect an organization’s cloud-hosted resources effectively.
And while this is certainly possible with native M365 tools, the reality is that it is inherently complex to leverage these tools as intended for a variety of reasons – ranging from organizational structure to the sheer technical know-how required. To get a better sense of the range of problems that commonly arise when configuring M365 security features (here are 26 Microsoft 365 security pain points and how to relieve them.)
Below, we’ll look at some of the most important security features available in M365, and then we’ll look at how CoreView can simplify the process of employing these security features such that they are more likely to be employed correctly – regardless of the various constraints your IT team almost certainly faces.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA), also referred to as two-factor authentication (2FA), is a means of increasing the security of the login process your employees go through to gain access to your M365 tenant (and a way for you to increase your Microsoft Secure Score). MFA may be enabled by default within your Azure Active Directory (AD) instance. However, if it isn’t you will need to navigate through the Azure AD dashboard associated with your Office 365 tenant to update the security defaults.
Once MFA is enabled for your O365 tenant, users will be prompted to set up a secondary authentication type upon signup. This will likely require the user to associate a mobile device with their O365 account, so that when they go to sign in, they will need to first enter a traditional username and password, and they will then need to confirm their identity via their associated mobile device.
The benefit of MFA is that if a username and password become compromised, the account will still be inaccessible to anyone who doesn’t have access to the associated mobile device.
Email is still one of the most used avenues for bad actors to gain access to your M365 resources. And while most users consider themselves savvy enough to recognize these sorts of attacks, they are continually becoming more and more sophisticated. In order to protect your organization from data breaches, Microsoft offers Microsoft Defender, which includes a variety of tools specifically geared toward mitigating current-day, email, and file sharing-based security threats.
Microsoft Defender has built-in protections for file attachments in email, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams. These are not turned on by default, but when activated they can scan file attachments before a user has opened them, to prevent users from accidentally introducing malware into their personal computer, and potentially the larger tenant.
Additionally, M365 offers admins the ability to block attachments with file types that are commonly used to execute a malicious script on the user’s computer when they are opened.
Hackers can imitate someone within your organization, or potentially a known vendor or service provider. Their goal is to direct an M365 user to a site that looks familiar, but that is really intended to gather the information that can then be used in an attack.
Within the Microsoft Defender tool for M365, administrators can define rules within Safe Links, which provides time-of-click verification of URLs, to prevent users from inadvertently navigating to a malicious web address and potentially opening your organization to attack.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a feature offered by Microsoft that actively scans internal documents for potentially sensitive information according to a set of rules defined by an administrator. For your convenience, a wide variety of pre-built rules exist that scan for specific categories of information, such as financial, medical, and health (HIPPA related), and privacy.
When this system identifies information that has been defined by an administrator as sensitive, DLP can either send a notification that this information is being shared externally, or it can stop members of the organization from sending it in an email or otherwise sharing it externally through SharePoint, OneDrive, and other Office programs such as Word and Excel.
It is important to limit the number of global administrators you create in your O365 tenant, as should these accounts become compromised, there is a potential for far-reaching security implications. However, at times it is necessary to grant temporary administrative privileges to certain users. To accommodate this, Office 365 offers Privileged Identity Management, which allows admins to mark specific users as eligible admins who can request elevated privileges as needed. The duration during which these elevated privileges remain active can be defined by an admin.
CoreView simplifies and extends these security features so that IT teams can more effectively implement a coherent combination of all of these features to best protect your O365 environment. Because all administrative actions are carried out via the CoreView UI, there is far less complexity involved in getting each of these security features aligned and working.
Moreover, with CoreView’s Virtual Tenants, it is simple to delegate administrative responsibilities as needed without the concern of accidentally granting full admin privileges to peripheral administrators indefinitely, as can happen all too easily when using Microsoft’s native tooling.
Additionally, because CoreView can be configured to monitor your M365 environment for all manner of security-based inconsistencies and can act immediately – either by notifying admins or blocking certain events within M365 altogether – when such an inconsistency is discovered, organizations using CoreView enjoy far greater confidence that their M365 tenant is well secured at all times. Find out how today – schedule your demo.