4 easy tips to increase security in Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 (or M365 for those of us that prefer its shorter name) is built for businesses that want to make employee burnout a thing of the past! It offers a whole slew of Microsoft apps designed to streamline scalability and productivity. But M365 is only as effective as it’s secure, meaning that to take advantage of the full potential of Microsoft 365, users need to deploy cyber security solutions that make everything more secure than a citadel.

But the million-dollar question business owners need to be asking themselves is this: how can security within M365 be increased? So glad you asked. We’ve got 4 tips to increase security in Microsoft 365, but before we dive into them, a little housekeeping is in order. 

An overview of Microsoft 365

M365 encompasses a suite of productivity and collaboration tools that were designed to create more cohesive work environments and streamlined operations. Outside of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (because let’s be honest, we’ve all heard of them!), the suite can supply users with:

M365 is offered to businesses via subscriptions that increase in costs depending on how advanced the features and capabilities are. All subscriptions are available to anyone (and are also customisable).

The beauty of M365 lies in its cloud technology. To cut a long story short, the suite is hosted in the cloud, meaning that Microsoft 365 apps are accessible via the internet. It’s a handy solution in an era of remote work where people can do their jobs anywhere in addition to the office. With M365, companies can improve the employee experience, drive collaboration, and modernise their workplaces.

4 tips to increase security in M365

Cyber threats are like insects. They buzz around our organisations and dart in close at any opportunity. Our IT solutions and office apps are vulnerable to various cyber security threats. 

No piece of technology is totally weakness free. But we do have cyber security solutions to keep our network’s security status in the green. And in a Microsoft environment like M365, our apps and services can be protected by several security features and best practices.

1. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication is a security measure that involves using more than one factor to verify someone’s identity – fingerprints, passcodes, etc. While M365 already includes a variety of features that can help secure accounts (for example, Advanced Threat Protection), adding MFA can make accounts even more secure.

An endpoint security best practice, MFA can help protect M365 accounts from being compromised by threat actors. For example, MFA can require a user to enter their password as well as a code that they receive via text or email. This way, if someone were to steal their password, a threat actor would not be able to access their account. It’s a nifty way to reduce data breaches and make it more difficult for hackers to worm their way into our IT infrastructures.

2. Data encryption

Data encryption can be used to protect company data from being seen by threat actors and other stickybeaks. Just like when a TV is broken and the image looks like a static snowstorm, encryption effectively does the same thing to organisational data, making it unreadable by anyone other than authorised parties. Within M365, we can encrypt emails, messages, Teams calls, etc.  

3. Set policies surrounding passwords and regulatory requirements

No one would use sticky tape to lock their front door. They’d use keys and hardy locks. And in this case, we’re talking about strong passwords and company security policies. It’s incredibly important to keep M365 accounts secure with effective passwords. 

They require a minimum of 12 characters and ought to be a unique combination of letters, symbols, cases, and numbers. When business owners set up password policies, it’s a good idea to make it mandatory that they are changed routinely. And under no circumstances can employees reuse passwords! Whenever businesses struggle with this, effective password managers can help.  

Now cyber security policies and regulations need to be foolproof. They need to consider all possible security risks and their impact on the company’s digital (and physical) safety. For M365 and its cloud-based IT solutions, security regulations and policies may cover: people’s degree of access to certain information, how files are shared, what devices employees are allowed to use for work, the specific security configurations that admins are allowed to enforce, and more.  

4. Invest in managed IT services

For companies that may not have the time or resources to manage Microsoft security tools, managed IT services are the perfect way to secure M365 and company information. Offered by managed service providers (MSPs), these services can take care of all Microsoft-developed cyber security solutions, ensuring that data is safeguarded and employees are able to work to the best of their ability.

An MSP’s Microsoft security services can include:

With an MSP administering security and supportive services, a business’s IT solutions and Microsoft tools can be tailored to its specific safety needs, increasing compliance while making employees more collaborative.

Cost-efficient cyber security solutions for M365

Microsoft 365 streamlines company operations, making staff happier and customers more satisfied. Like with all IT solutions, enforcing robust security measures (whether they be real-time network monitoring or cloud security tools) is vital to protecting sensitive information and organisational wellbeing.

The Microsoft 365 professionals at Atarix can help any business configure, launch, and maintain security tools and solutions within their M365 accounts. If you’re ready to take your cyber security to the next level, Atarix is here to help!