Making Office365 More Secure: Hardening Steps to Know

Making MS Office 365 More Secure: Hardening Steps to Know

Office365 – A Central Role in Your Business

Chances are good that Microsoft Office365 plays a central role in your business. You probably use Word and Excel, send emails with Outlook, create presentations in PowerPoint, and brainstorm with Notes. It’s a truly handy set of productivity tools.

However, it’s also a potential point of vulnerability that may leave you exposed to security threats.

The good news is that you don’t have to toss out Office365. In fact, your IT provider can do a lot to mitigate the threats you face. The process is called “hardening”, and there are several key steps that can enhance your safety and security.

Five Microsoft Office365 Hardening Steps to Know

  1. Multifactor Authentication
    One of the first things your IT provider should do is set up multifactor authentication. This basically boils down to a two-step process to log into MS Office365. First, the employee will sign in with their credentials. That triggers the system to send an authorization code to their smartphone. The code is then entered into the system and access is granted. Without the code (and without access to the smartphone), access is impossible.
  1. User Training
    No system is secure if its users are unaware of security best practices. Your IT provider can offer critical training, such as good password hygiene, how to protect devices, and how to enable security features in Windows and OSX. Without this training, other hardening steps are only stopgap measures and threats can still proliferate.
  1. Protect Administrator Accounts
    Admin accounts have access to additional capabilities not available to regular users. This makes them prime targets for attackers. Your IT provider can protect these valuable assets in several ways, including creating dedicated administrator accounts specifically for admin-related purposes. Users should then have a separate account for non-admin related needs. Multifactor authentication for admin accounts is also an important step.
  1. Add More Protection in Outlook
    Email is a vital business tool, but it’s also a gateway for attackers. Your IT provider can offer an additional layer of protection by enabling additional safeguards in Outlook that help prevent malware and dangerous attachments with Microsoft’s built-in threat management tools.
  1. Defeat Ransomware Before It Starts
    Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing cyber threats to businesses. It works by encrypting files or locking the entire system down and holding it hostage. Attackers then extort the business, demanding money (the ransom) in exchange for releasing the system. Your IT provider can offer vital protection against these types of attacks by creating mail flow rules that block the most common extensions used in ransomware events. Two rules should be created – one that warns users about opening attachments including macros, and another that blocks file types that contain ransomware and other malicious code.

These are just a few of the steps that your IT provider can take to make MS Office365 more secure and to mitigate threats. Others include stopping auto-mail forwarding, using message encryption, creating an ATP anti-phishing policy, and enabling ATP Safe Attachment protection.

For more information, contact WCA Technologies online or call 212-642-0980.