How Can You Secure Your Data in Office 365?

In August 2017, one of the most concerning data breaches happened. Microsoft accidentally leaked Office 365 usernames and email addresses across multi-tenant admin dashboards while updating their cloud systems.

The leak reportedly affected a number of users in multiple Office 365 data center regions, like EMEA and the US. Though Microsoft fixed this problem as soon as it began receiving complaints from its users, it still poses the very real probability of data breaches.

Naturally, you don’t want this situation on your hands when you’re using Office 365. The benefits of using Office 365 in your business outweigh the potential security risk, so you can’t just stop using the service either.

What can you do to secure your data in Office 365, then? Here are some effective suggestions that you can look into to improve your data security.

Data Security in Office 365

The first step you need to take in securing your data is to have a backup copy of your office files through a service that backs up office files. This way, you’ll at least have two secure sites storing your sensitive data.

Research from an IT magazine revealed that in a survey of more than 1,000 IT professionals, 40 percent completely rely on Office 365 for storing their data. These professionals don’t use third-party sites for data backup, which is a big risk.

Don’t let your company become a part of the unprotected 40 percent and backup your office files without fear of losing them on Office 365. Always have a backup ready because when a data breach happens, you’ll lessen its impact to your business.

Implement Multiple Layers of Security

After storing back-up copies of your files, the next step is to do the following:

  • Use multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication is the easiest way to increase the security on your files. Setting this up sends a code to your phone that you can use to log-in. This is your file’s first line of defense against hackers who know your Office 365 password.

  • Train your users for security awareness

Microsoft urges business like yours to train your employees for security awareness. Training involves educating your employees about phishing attacks and how to identify spam mail.

Additional training involves setting up stronger passwords and enabling security features on every device you use for Office 365, like PCs and mobile phones.

  • Only use dedicated admin accounts

You should limit the use of admin accounts to a select, trusted few in your team. Admin accounts include elevated privileges, which may be prone to data breaches once accessed. To keep its usage to a minimum, create different accounts for your employees, and assign limited admin account privilege to one or two people you’ve vetted.

  • Increase malware protection in mail

Laptop with microsoft office

Office 365 comes with protection against malware. Though, you can increase this by blocking attachments with file types similar to that used for malware. You should toggle the settings under the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center and click on the Anti-Malware section to increase protection.

Be smart about where you store sensitive information about your business. Back up for your files may prevent loss of data if a breach or a cybersecurity attack occurs.

Leave a Comment