Microsoft 365 has become more than just a productivity platform. It is now the foundation for the way businesses work in a hybrid world. And while it does come with some of the most advanced security features available, cybersecurity risks still exist. Even the most secure platforms can’t achieve 100% guaranteed security.

In this blog we’ll examine some of the most dangerous cybersecurity risks that could affect your business, and how to tackle them using Microsoft 365 security best practices. But first, with so much modern cyber-security software, how do malicious actors breach your network in the first place?

How real are business cybersecurity risks?

We hear a lot about APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) groups backed by global superpowers, and independent hackers and hacktivists. It seems that every year there is another group looking to access or steal your data for various nefarious reasons. However, it is important to remember that a whopping 95% of cyber security breaches are caused by human error.

While cyber attackers are out there, often their inroads are made by exploiting existing weaknesses in your infrastructure. By reducing these vulnerabilities, and reinforcing your security, you can close off some of the possible entry points attackers might use.

How to combat the biggest threats to your business with Microsoft 365

Insecure inboxes

One of the biggest cybersecurity risks is a poorly managed inbox. With phishing scams becoming increasingly intricate, failure to filter out malicious emails could result in a security breach. Thankfully, Microsoft provides email auditing on all Enterprise accounts and prompts users to turn this on. It’s also worth remembering that multi-factor authentication (MFA) is included, preventing hackers from breaking into your account.

But despite these features, it’s impossible to reduce the risk of an attack to zero. One of the biggest mistakes we see after an email cyber-attack is users changing their password and removing any malicious content, but continuing to use the account as usual. Attackers will more than likely add a ‘backdoor entry’, which they can then use to resume control of the account at any time.

Here’s what to do if your email is compromised:

  • Reset the password, and DON’T send it to the user. Hackers can still access their mailbox.
  • Disable any suspicious forwarding addresses in the Admin Center.
  • Disable any suspicious inbox rules in the user’s mailbox.
  • Check licenses for anyone with access to the mailbox.
  • Unblock the address from sending emails – it may have been blocked automatically for sending spam.

Watch our video discussion and demonstration for what to do when an email gets compromised in Microsoft 365.

Free White Paper – Solving the Challenges of Cloud Security with Microsoft 365

Overuse of role assignments

Role assignments are a good way to set tiered levels of access within your company. However, if mismanaged you could end up with more admins than you can feasibly keep tabs on. When permissions aren’t regularly audited, it’s easier for attackers to go unnoticed via unused or external access accounts.

As the global admin, you need a clear view of all accounts and permissions. While the Admin Center will provide this to an extent, when you have a large number of employees to go through, it can be difficult to manage. Using third-party software provides visibility on the status of user accounts and the cybersecurity risks these may pose. You can keep a closer eye on the accounts you manage and remove any that show signs of suspicious activity.

Poor file sharing practice

In addition to email issues, poor file-sharing practices can also derail your company’s security. If you can’t keep tabs on where files are going and who is sharing them, you could create huge cybersecurity risks for your company. There are two main approaches to file sharing that cause problems:

  • Unchecked sharing – Gives employees the freedom to share whatever files they want with whoever they like—whether they are outside the company or fellow employees. This has the benefit of maintaining visibility on what employees share and where. However, it leaves the gate open for hackers to use old external accounts to access your file system without you knowing.
  • Locked down sharing – The opposite approach restricts what employees can and can’t share within the organization and with external collaborators. Although this may seem like the safer option, it can dampen productivity and cause an inevitable increase in shadow IT use. If employees cannot share freely with collaborators using Microsoft 365 security best practices, they will do so using their own solutions outside of your view and without protection.

The software to support Microsoft 365 security best practices

Microsoft 365 provides a secure base from which to run your business. Although no organization can be entirely watertight, Microsoft 365 offers some key features that can help you reduce your overall cybersecurity risks.

Features such as email inbox auditing, permissions management and, of course, Windows Defender, make it easier to keep your Microsoft 365 data safe. But there is more you can do to create a secure working environment.

The MessageOps team can help you build a robust Microsoft security set-up to meet the challenges posed by an ever-changing and complex cybersecurity threat. Our team of Microsoft experts can help plan, configure, and deploy the perfect protection for your business. Learn more about our security services here and request a free consultation with a security expert. Get started today.

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