Office 365 Security Best Practices

Office 365 Best Practice Security

Millions of businesses run their daily operations on Microsoft Office 365’s suite of cloud-based applications. But, these powerful and well-resourced applications aren’t without vulnerabilities. Sensitive data, email security and data loss prevention (DLP) are just a few Microsoft Office 365 security concerns you need to be aware of.

Whether the data you’re responsible for runs only through Outlook or the whole suite of 365’s product offerings, there are several Office 365 security best practices you should know in order to protect your network.

Fundamentals of Office 365 Best Practice Security

There are four main areas of focus intrinsic to any good approach to preventing or mitigating an Office 365 security breach.

Office 365 Security ManagementWhether you’re a lone administrator, or working out of a centralized security and compliance center, utilizing Office 365’s security features effectively is a prime component of ensuring a high Microsoft secure score.

External Threat Protection: It’s always important to keep potential threats top of mind when defending your network’s data. To protect against ransomware, malware, phishing scams and other suspicious activity, it’s essential you keep on top of all areas of Microsoft Office 365 security compliance.

Identification and Access Management: One of the most common ways for attackers to gain access to your network is by gaining unauthorized access to user accounts. It’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that these Office 365 security issues are mitigated.

Data Protection: A core component of Office 365 data security is making sure network and/or company information is protected against potential loss, leaks or any form of data tampering such as modification or deletion.

Office 365 Security Best Practices

Top Microsoft Office 365 Security Best Practices

Before we get into the details of how you can employ these expert strategies for protecting your company’s network and information, here’s a quick list of the top Microsoft Office 365 Security Best Practices:

  1. Encrypt Office Emails
  2. Educate Employees
  3. Protect Against Ransomware
  4. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  5. Backup Data
  6. Devise an Active Directory
  7. Use Office Message Encryption
  8. Manage Corporate Devices


  1. Encrypt Office Emails

The ability to encrypt office email within 365 (using Outlook, for example) is a built-in Office 365 security feature.

Often, employees share sensitive data via emails, and cybercriminals see this as an easy opportunity to acquire corporate information. With Office 365 you can activate settings that let you restrict copy or printing functions, or restrict how a person can access emails (if attempting to access from an email client other than Microsoft).

  1. Educate Employees

Human error is one of the most convenient tools in a cybercriminal’s arsenal. Luckily, this is something that can be easily corrected with proper security training.

Most importantly, when new employees are onboarded, it’s vital they’re put through security training and pass with an adequate score. Only then should they be permitted to access company data and use corporate devices.

  1. Protect Against Ransomware

Ransomware is a malicious program created by nefarious hackers designed to encrypt your own company’s data, thereby preventing you from having access to it. They then typically demand a ransom in return for unlocking it.

Protection against this tactic within Office 365 involves creating a mail flow that automatically blocks any file extension a hacker might use for ransomware. This can be done by blocking all file extensions that possess bad code or ransomware, or by setting a rule to warn employees that the file they’re trying to open contains potentially malicious triggers.

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  1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Possibly the most effective way of ensuring Office 365 security compliance is by setting up MFA on your 365 accounts.

This way, all employees will be required to provide a unique, always changing code in addition to their username and password. Also, insisting they all have strong passwords is vital to the continued success of using multi-factor authentication.

  1. Backup Data

Backing up your data is a cornerstone of any good cybersecurity strategy. In the event of a catastrophic breach or data loss, your data can be easily recovered and restored if you’ve been employing the right backup services.

  1. Devise an Active Directory

An active directory is an Office 365 security feature that can be used to block sign-in attempts if suspicious activity is detected.

It can easily be enabled by all admins for every employee, and also alert users about these suspicious events.

  1. Use Office Message Encryption

Whether using Outlook or Microsoft Teams, sending messages creates an easy target for cybercriminals to attempt to gain access to sensitive data.

One of the many useful built-in security features of Office 365 is the ability to easily create a set of encryption conditions for all sent messages. For example, you could set it up so that recipients must be logged into Outlook to even view the message, or encrypt messages based on specific keywords contained within them.

  1. Manage Corporate Devices

End-point user devices, especially personal devices like smartphones, are prime targets for cybercriminals because they often receive less unified security protection.

The best way to combat this vulnerability for Office 365 is by having employees register their devices as ‘Corporate Compliant’ so that admins can manage access and data on those devices remotely.

Summing up Office 365 Security Best Practices

Here at Executech, we’re committed to providing you with only the best setup, migration, and Office 365 experience.

We’re a certified Microsoft partner and are equipped to expertly manage all your Office 365 needs.

Request a quote today, or view our IT Cost-Cutting Guide to learn how to maximize your IT ROI.

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