June 13, 2024
min read
Roy Martinez
With over 16 years in Microsoft and IT infrastructure, Roy uses his SharePoint, Power Automate, and Microsoft Teams expertise to help organizations develop strategies for adoption, collaboration, automation, and governance.
Computer system hack warning

According to a study conducted by CoreView across 1.6 million Microsoft 365 users, 90% of organizations have gaps in their configuration settings that could leave them vulnerable to attacks. 

Without the right strategy, IT teams have to manually monitor gigabytes worth of Microsoft 365 audit logs, constantly checking for security issues each time a change is implemented. When a vulnerability is found, the entire department must scramble on their feet to resolve it before an attacker can take advantage.

Needless to say, this approach is extremely error-prone. IT teams at enterprise-grade organizations deserve a better way to manage security operations in Microsoft 365. This article will talk about:

5 Microsoft 365 Security Vulnerabilities You Should Be Aware Of

Tenant misconfigurations are a leading cause of Microsoft 365 security issues because administrators often fail to adjust default settings, implement best practices, and turn on available security controls. Here’s an overview of a few common scenarios that could compromise the security of your Microsoft 365 tenant, often without you realizing it:

Disabled Unified Audit Logging

Unified audit logging (UAL) records user and administrator activity across Microsoft 365 services. Having unified auditing disabled makes it difficult or impossible to perform forensic analysis and determine root causes of security incidents. Microsoft 365 audit logs are critical for detecting breaches and identifying suspicious activity.

No Multi-Factor Authentication Requirement

Not requiring MFA, especially for administrator accounts, is a common misconfiguration that enables attackers to take over Microsoft 365 user accounts. With only username and password authentication, threat actors can breach accounts through tactics like password spraying, phishing, and credential stuffing. Enforcing MFA is one of the most important steps to secure Microsoft 365.

Allowing Legacy Authentication Protocols

Older email protocols like POP3, IMAP, and SMTP can't enforce modern authentication controls like MFA. Permitting legacy authentication leaves an opening for attackers to compromise accounts without needing additional verification beyond stolen credentials. Blocking legacy authentication and requiring modern authentication for all services is a key Microsoft 365 security best practice.

Broad Global Administrator Privileges

Microsoft 365 tenants often have too many global administrators or don't follow least privilege principles for assigning admin roles. Accounts with excessive privileges are prime targets for attackers, as compromising one enables broad access to control Microsoft 365 configuration and data. Restricting global admin privileges and using granular role-based access is vital.

Lack of Data Loss Prevention Policies

Without data loss prevention (DLP) policies in place, it's easy for sensitive information to be accidentally or maliciously exposed through Microsoft 365 services like Exchange Online, SharePoint, and OneDrive. Not having DLP configured to identify, monitor, and protect critical data creates risks of data leakage and compliance violations.

3 Real-World Examples of Office 365 Security Issues (+ Solutions)

At CoreView, we have helped 30,000+ IT leaders solve pressing challenges with Microsoft 365 security and automation. To better understand how the right solution can help organizations streamline Microsoft 365 security operations, let's take a look at three real-world case studies: 

Asmodee: Empowering Local Admins While Maintaining Security

Asmodee, a leading international board game publisher and distributor, has experienced significant growth through acquisitions. This expansion led to challenges in managing Microsoft 365 licenses and security risks across multiple acquired companies, each with its own unique settings and configurations.

Asmodee needed a solution that would allow them to maintain the autonomy of each business unit while ensuring centralized control and consistent security standards. However, Microsoft’s default user permissions were too broad, with no way to audit or regulate them. 

CoreView's Virtual Tenants feature proved to be the perfect fit, enabling Asmodee to create isolated environments within Microsoft 365 for each acquired company. 

CUNY: Secure Delegation and Automation for a Large University

The City University of New York (CUNY), the largest urban university system in the United States, comprises 25 campuses and serves over 275,000 students. Managing Microsoft 365 across such a vast and diverse organization presented significant challenges, particularly in terms of automation, security, and delegation. 

Building automations for Microsoft Office 365 is hard, since there’s no built-in automation capability and you’re forced to rely on custom scripts to get by. But maintaining these scripts is an ongoing process that eats at your IT team’s precious time.

CoreView's Custom Actions feature enabled CUNY to automate repetitive tasks and enforce naming conventions for group creation, ensuring consistency across the organization. This automation not only saved time and reduced the risk of human error but also contributed to a more secure and efficient Microsoft 365 environment.

Oney: Streamlining Administration and Reducing Security Risks

Oney is a prominent European banking and retail group that experienced a significant increase in Microsoft 365 usage during the COVID-19 pandemic. This surge in usage led to a growing number of IT administrative tasks and security risks associated with misconfiguration and human error.

Microsoft 365 forces you to manually work through thousands of potential configurations each time you want to deploy a new tenant. Once deployed, it also makes it very hard for teams to track changes across these tenants.

To address these challenges, Oney sought a solution that would streamline day-to-day administration, reduce the risk of misconfiguration, and optimize license management. By leveraging CoreView's automation and management features, Oney reduced the risk of human error and ensured a more secure Microsoft 365 environment.

Why Choosing the Right Security Platform for M365 Matters

Choosing the right security solution for Microsoft 365 helps ensure consistent policy enforcement, reduce the risk of human error, and enable rapid response to potential threats. Right now, your options are:

  • PowerShell Scripts: Administrators can write custom PowerShell scripts to automate various security tasks in Microsoft 365. This requires strong PowerShell skills, plus ongoing maintenance of the scripts.
  • Microsoft 365 DSC: Microsoft's native solution that uses PowerShell and DSC to define and enforce the desired configuration state of a Microsoft 365 tenant. It enables configuration-as-code but has a steep learning curve.
  • CoreView: Our comprehensive SaaS platform that simplifies Microsoft 365 administration, reporting, and automation. It provides an intuitive interface, pre-built workflows, and advanced capabilities for securely delegating tasks and governing the environment.

If you’re wondering how to evaluate the right solution for your organization, just take a look at your team’s bandwidth and skills. IT teams looking to use PowerShell Scripts or Microsoft 365 DSC to automate their security operations will need to be familiar with Powershell Cmdlets. Otherwise, they will need to be prepared for a steep learning curve that may require department-wide training. 

Either way, you’re looking at hundreds of extra engineering hours spent monitoring, flagging, and diagnosing each security issue. Plus, each time a vulnerability is discovered, your team must race against time to address it before hackers can take advantage.

We built CoreView to break through this tedium. It’s a simple platform that lets you set up virtual tenants and delegated administration inside Microsoft 365, so employees only have access to the exact permissions they need for work. Plus, our no-code builder lets you design automated security workflows like Zapier or Integromat.

Our platform also helps you make better sense of Microsoft’s complex audit logs, receive real-time alerts whenever a new security issue is found in a tenant, and automatically push baseline configurations to tenants based on tried-and-true best practices.

Want to see it all in action? Book a demo with our sales team today!

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Created by M365 experts, for M365 experts.