Office 365 is an advanced cloud platform used by all kinds of industries to get their work done with the help of its suite of applications. It has led to enhanced creativity, efficiency, and productivity of all professionals. Email is the most preferred form of communication in the professional environment, and colleagues like to exchange information with each other through emails. Since these messages contain crucial information, their security also becomes a high priority. With thousands of Office 365 users working in a company, the amount of data generated is also in bulk. Microsoft does provide advanced security systems, but cyber attacks have also become advanced with the growing use of technology. You need to tighten the security of all your email data and protect it from all kinds of internal and external risks. But how to secure Office 365 mailboxes? Don’t worry. This article will guide you through all the top methods to secure Office 365 emails.
These are the methods that can help you to keep the Microsoft 365 emails secure, and they have been discussed at length below-
- Enable multi-factor authentication.
- Train employees to become cyber safe.
- Separate accounts for admin.
- Protect data from malicious activity.
- Protect against ransomware attacks.
- Use message encryption for confidential data.
- Disable auto-forwarding of emails.
- Save a local copy.
- Enable multi-factor authentication
Often users get careless and put an easy password or use the same ones across multiple platforms. In these technologically advanced times, a simple username and password are not strong enough, and it cannot keep your data safe from all threats and attackers. To maintain an additional level of security, you must use multi-factor authentication. Along with a strong password, it adds an extra factor that is unique, like a code received on your phone, biometric, or fingerprints. Any skilled attacker can crack your password in seconds but will never be able to get to your phone or fingerprints. Hence, MFA ensures that your data is doubly protected from all kinds of risks.
- Train employees to become cyber safe
Not having the right knowledge about the security of data poses an even greater risk to the data involved. It is of immense importance to train all your employees about the need for data security, ways of phishing attacks, and methods to protect their own data. This ensures them to be responsible and careful with the data with which they are dealing. An informative read in this context is the Cybersecurity Campaign Handbook which is written by the Harvard Kennedy School and provides a deeper understanding of security awareness in the workplace.
- Separate accounts for admins
You must be aware that the admin’s account comes with additional rights and privileges. These are used to manage other users. Due to the special benefits, these accounts are even more prone to attacks and must be secured properly. To keep them protected with multi-factor authentication and Azure Active Directory features. In addition, double-check to log out of the session once the work is completed. It is always suggested that the admins create and use a separate account for all their non-admin jobs.
- Protect data from malicious activities
Malware is a broader term for a virus, spyware, ransomware, worms, and other malicious activities that create havoc on the user’s system. Microsoft 365 stops malware from entering the server and client’s account with the help of certain protection features that it applies against the malware. To begin with, the anti-malware software runs regular scans of the environment and system. Every file also has to go through a real-time scan before downloading or opening it. Despite all these facilities, even if malware is detected, it is immediately blocked, and all the necessary Microsoft 365 security teams are notified at the earliest.
- Protection against ransomware attacks
A ransomware program limits the user’s access to their own system by either locking the screens or encrypting the files. In return for their data, they demand a sum of ransom. To avoid this situation, you must apply a few email rules. Also, block all those file types and macros which have the potential of carrying any hidden attacks. While transferring some sensitive files, you should use OneDrive since the control and access of the data will be in your hands. Thus, there are different steps to recover data in Office 365 from ransomware attacks.
- Use message encryption for confidential data
Encryption allows users to convert the actual message into a code to maintain its confidentially and limit its access. The Office Message Encryption, which is included in Office 365, provides the flexibility to send and receive encrypted messages to individuals who are or are not part of the organization. This utility works well with email clients like Outlook.com, Gmail, Yahoo! etc.
- Disable auto-forwarding of emails
If the employees in your organization tend to forward emails very often, it can become a route for the threat to spread across all the systems. Once a hacker gets access to a system, they can enable the auto-forwarding rule on the entire inbox. They can use this to send viruses across the company and even steal some important data. To avoid it, you must disable the forwarding rule. Instead, set up a few email flow rules to control the emails and their attachments.
- Save a local copy
Creating a backup of your emails is always recommended as a precaution against data loss. Data loss is a nightmare for companies, and it holds power to put all the workflow at a standstill. That is why many users prefer to save a local copy of all their important email messages. This can be easily done using the Office 365 Backup tool. This professional utility can take backup of all the user’s mailboxes and save them into any of their selected output file format. The entire procedure is completed in four simple steps, which can be easily conducted even by a beginner.
So, these are some common security practices for good governance in Office 365 environment.
All organizations rely on email communication for the transfer of data. Since these emails contain crucial information, keeping them protected from internal and external threats is equally necessary. Office 365 has various facilities which adhere to this task brilliantly. All the existing methods which keep the emails secure have been discussed in detail in the above article. To save a local copy of the email messages, a professional utility has also been recommended.