Securing a Microsoft 365 account requires careful attention. While Microsoft offers excellent ways to securing workstations and servers, it is ultimately up to you to put this in play.
One place to start is to check your Microsoft 365 Secure Score to identify areas that need improvement. Also, Microsoft recommends the following ten steps for improving 365 security. Some of these steps require Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).
What applications do you need to protect with multi-factor authentication?
Passwords can be guessed or stolen. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds a second form of identification; usually, by a code sent to the user's cell phone. Setting up MFA eliminates the intruders need to have only one password to breach your account. The Microsoft 365 administrator can enable MFA for one account or multiple accounts at once. Users will be prompted to enter their confirmation phone number the next time they log in to set up MFA.
Do your employees know what a phishing attack looks like?
If not, they may be more vulnerable to clicking on malicious links or visiting dangerous websites. Reducing human error is a crucial element of cybersecurity. Security awareness training will train them how to recognize phishing emails and other tricks. They will learn how to avoid giving out confidential information and downloading malware. Online user training is a necessary approach, more so than ever, because of the increasing sophistication these criminals use.
Dedicated Administrative Accounts
Do you have a dedicated network administrator account?
An outsider who gains control of an administrative account can do severe damage. Best practices call for using these accounts only when they are needed. Administrators should have separate accounts with limited privileges for routine tasks such as email and Web browsing. Administrators should log out of their admin accounts when they are not in use and should always have a strong password and multi-factor authentication.
Protection Against Email Malware
Does your email block malicious email attachments?
Certain kinds of attachments, such as executable files, are especially dangerous. Opening a malicious executable attachment will cause immediate damage. Microsoft 365 includes an administrative option to block these attachment types. The administrator can set a company-wide filter and customize the blocked file types from the Security & Compliance Center.
Protection Against Ransomware
Are your employees contacting your IT department as soon as they notice fishy emails in their inbox?
If ransomware is installed onto a machine, it encrypts important files and presents a demand for payment. This is usually an email with an executable attachment or an Office file that contains macros. In addition to blocking dangerous file types, the administrator can set up a warning whenever a user receives an attachment that could have macros. Users should be instructed to open these files only if they are expecting them and to disable macro execution by default.
Stop Email Auto-Forwarding
Do you allow auto-forwarding when an employees leaves or is on vacation?
Automatically forwarding all mail to a second account is sometimes useful. However, an intruder who gains access to a user's mailbox can change these settings to forward email to an unauthorized account. The user is not likely to notice. The Exchange admin center allows setting a rule to prohibit auto-forwarding to an external domain. The setting will not interfere with forwarding to another address in the same domain.
Office Message Encryption
Are you encrypting highly sensitive information?
Usually, email sends without encryption. Anyone on the Internet who intercepts a message can read it. Microsoft 365 allows encrypted mail to other users of the service, as well as to certain other services, including Gmail and Yahoo. This option is available in the Outlook mail client or Outlook.com.
Protection Against Email Phishing
Do you have a anti-phishing policy in place?
Fraudulent emails can catch anyone off guard. The best protection against phishing emails is to block them from reaching inboxes. With Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, the admin can set up an anti-phishing policy. By using the default policy or custom rules. Anti-phishing can check for spoofed and unauthenticated sender addresses and take specific actions, including marking a message as junk or moving it to quarantine.
Advanced Threat Protection Safe Attachments
Does your organization send and receive a lot attachments?
Dangerous email attachments are not easy to spot. Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection includes Safe Attachment protection as an option, but it has to be enabled. It covers not just email but SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams. When enabled, it will block email attachments when it detects malware. The setting is in the Security & Compliance Center, under Threat Management.
ATP Safe Links
What security measures do you have in place to ensure those websites are linking to the intended site versus rogue websites to deliver a form of malicious software?
Email and files from disreputable sources may hold links to malicious websites. Office 365 Safe Links, another feature of ATP, guards against unintentionally opening those links. You can set options for Microsoft 365 apps to be checked against known blacklisted domains and prevent them from being opened.
Get a Security Consultation
The more thorough you are carrying out these tasks, the lower the chances are of a costly intrusion. Setting the priorities that will give your Microsoft 365 accounts the security you need is a complex matter. We can help you by setting up a security consultation. If you have any questions regarding your Microsoft 365 business plan or want to increase the security of your account, contact Total Computer Solutions at 336.804.8449 or fill out the contact form.