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3 Tips to Secure Your Office 365 Instance Against Hackers

Hacker – a word that conjures up images of a man in a baseball cap, alone in a dark room, surrounded by machines and blinking lights, out to spread chaos around the universe. While this image is often inaccurate – hackers can be anyone, anywhere, with any device – the threat is very real. You know the danger exists, but how can you protect yourself and your data from a threat that seems invisible and undetectable?


Interested in taking your client’s Office 365 security to the next level? Contact us and get an Office Protect free trial.


You really can’t on your own. Fortunately, if you use Office 365, the solution has three ways to protect your business from cyberattacks.


Tip #1: Stop Hackers in Their Tracks

The first goal of any data security feature is to act as a strong perimeter. Office 365 is no different and has taken many measures to ensure no unverified users can get into your system.


Multi-Factor Authentication

Passwords are easily compromised. Employees might choose an easy-to-guess password that they can remember, or keep all of their files in a Word document on their desktop. Some employees might even write their password on a piece of tape and stick it to the bottom of their computer

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) realizes this weakness and adds another level of security to the log-in process. In addition to having a password, a user must also verify their identity with a device they have, most commonly a mobile phone.

This basic two-factor authentication program comes with Office 365, but if you need something even more secure for your business, they offer a higher-level plan as well.


Azure Identity Protection

Identity Protection learns your habits to flag unusual activities. For example, if you log in from a different source than usual, or try to log in multiple times, the system will send you an alert and ask for additional authentication methods.

Most of us have experienced this when we use a different machine, or log on to a coffee shop’s internet. Some find it to be a nuisance, but in reality, it is an effective method to stop hackers in their tracks. Without it, you may not know you are under attack until it is too late.


Ransomware Prevention

Unfortunately, ransomware has seen a lot of headlines in recent months. This particularly unpleasant attack usually involves a hacker accessing data and then locking the business out of their own system, demanding thousands of dollars in Bitcoin payments before they will release the data. Some larger enterprises have even encountered and endured threats of releasing private customer data online if they do not pay the ransom.

However, this isn’t just a big business problem. Office 365 has recently taken steps to prevent ransomware attacks for all of their customers.

Their new security feature detects ransomware attacks and will send you an alert via email, desktop, or phone to let you know of a possible attack. It even walks you through the steps to restore your system to a point before it was compromised.


Link Checking in MS Office

Everyone has had a moment when you click on a link without thinking about it. Important questions like, “What is this link’s source?”, “Is it safe?” or “Could it contain a virus?” often do not occur to us when we’re hurried or looking through many documents. Fortunately, Office 365 thinks about this for you with advanced link checking in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that will alert you of any suspicious links before your computer gets to the corrupted site.


Encrypted Email

This one is pretty simple – with end-to-end encryption for all email, you can ensure that no one intercepts or receives your communications except for the intended recipients.


Tip #2: Get Control Over Your Data

One of the best ways to prevent hacking is to make sure you maintain control over your data at all times. Only you should determine who can access your most important assets.


Privileged Identity Management

One of the most devastating attacks is one where an administrative account is breached, so naturally, you will want to limit the number of admin accounts that are given out. However, this can create difficulties when users need an admin account to complete a particular task.

Privileged Identity Management solves this by allowing you to create temporary admins for a designated amount of time. Users on a list of “eligible admins” can request temporary access for certain tasks, and their admin status will be revoked after the work is completed. You can even control what sort of information these eligible admins must provide to grant access.


Mobile Device Management

The modern employee often checks email and performs other work tasks on many different devices that may or may not be company-sanctioned and controlled. Mobile Device Management gives you the ability to protect your data even on devices that are personally owned by your employees.


Data Sharing Prevention

Not all threats come from outside your organization. Office 365 has two measures to protect your data from threats inside your organization as well, whether it be accidental or malicious. Password Protected Sharing Links lets you set passwords for certain shared folders and files to prevent unauthorized access, and Prevent Forwarding allows you to restrict recipients from forwarding or copying any emails you do not want others seeing.


Tip #3: Get Better Visibility

Knowledge truly is power. If you can see a hole in your perimeter, you will know where to patch it. If the hole remains undiscovered, someone can get in. Office 365 has features both to help you find gaps in your system and fix them before something can happen, and to repair your system just in case something does happen.


Secure Score Check

This feature allows you to get an overall view of how secure your data is with just a click of a button. Office 365 will assess what security features you are and are not using, find weak links in your system, and suggest ways to improve your overall security score.


File Restore

But what if all of this is not enough? Nothing is entirely hacker-proof, right? This is an unfortunate truth of the technological age. Knowing this, Office 365 has a full file restore feature so even if someone destroys, deletes, or locks you out of your data, or even in the event of a natural disaster, all your data can be restored and your business can stay up and running.


How Office Protect Can Help You

Does all of this sound like a lot to keep up with? You definitely want to keep your business secure, but keeping track of all of these features can be challenging. How would you even know if something happened?

Office Protect is here to help. You can manage everything from one pane of glass in an easy to understand interface. Any unusual activity will trigger an alert that you can investigate, and it even generates reports for you to examine and gain valuable insight into the security of your organization.

Want to know more about how Office Protect can keep security simple? Contact your SherWeb representative today.



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