Back to glossary

Office 365 Security

What is Office 365 Security?

Office 365 security refers to the collective measures, protocols, and features embedded within the Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) suite designed to safeguard users’ data and network security. This comprehensive approach to security is built around preventing, detecting, and responding to threats, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of data stored within the various services of the suite, such as SharePoint, OneDrive, and Exchange Online.

What Comprises O365 Security?

Microsoft is dedicated to fortifying its infrastructure, emphasizing the importance of robust automated security solutions as an integral part of Office 365's cyber security framework. Nonetheless, maximizing data privacy and security is a collaborative endeavor, necessitating users to actively engage by employing specific configurations and tools to safeguard their sensitive data comprehensively.

Office 365's fundamental components encompass:

  1. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and Identity Management: This element guarantees that solely authenticated users have access to pertinent data or applications, incorporating strategies like multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), and fortified user credentials within a comprehensive identity and access management (IAM) system.
  2. Advanced Threat Protection: Office 365 stands as a bulwark against various cyber threats, including malware, viruses, phishing, and ransomware, utilizing sophisticated analytics and machine learning for enhanced detection and response to suspicious behavior and potential security breaches.
  3. Information Protection and Data Classification: This feature allows for the meticulous classification and labeling of data according to its sensitivity, followed by the enforcement of corresponding protections, such as encryption. It is instrumental in maintaining data privacy and includes significant components like Data Loss Prevention (DLP), ensuring sensitive data is not externally disclosed.
  4. Unified Security Management: Centralized oversight is provided for security operations, offering detailed insights into security alerts and the organization’s overall security stance within Microsoft 365, including a Secure Score metric that evaluates adherence to cyber security best practices.
  5. Compliance, Privacy Controls, and Customer Lockbox: Office 365 enhances security and compliance by offering standards and features that assist organizations in meeting diverse, global, regional, and specific industry mandates that regulate data usage and collection. The Customer Lockbox feature further reinforces control, requiring customer consent in instances where a Microsoft engineer needs data access during service procedures.

What Are the Challenges of Office 365 Security?

While Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) comes with various built-in security features, several challenges arise when maintaining data and communications security within this cloud-based suite. Understanding these challenges is crucial for businesses and organizations to effectively mitigate risks. Here are some of the key challenges:

  1. User Behavior and Insider Threats: One of the most significant security risks comes from users within an organization. This can be anything from poor password management, clicking on phishing links, unintentional sharing of sensitive information, or even malicious insider actions. Educating users and monitoring behavior are constant challenges.
  2. Complexity of Configuration: Office 365 has many settings and options for security configuration. Navigating these requires expertise, as incorrect configurations can lead to vulnerabilities. Keeping up with the constantly updated and added features and understanding how to apply them is also challenging.
  3. Compliance Management: Different industries and regions have specific regulatory compliance requirements regarding data protection. Ensuring that Office 365 usage aligns with these regulations requires a thorough understanding of the settings and features of Office 365.
  4. Security on End-User Devices: With the rise of remote work and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, securing access to Office 365 for all these devices has become complex. If a device containing sensitive information is lost or stolen or gets infected with malware, it can lead to data breaches.
  5. Third-Party Applications: Integrating third-party applications can introduce vulnerabilities, especially if these applications require broad access to systems and data. The security of data being transferred to and from these applications is another concern.
  6. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) and Zero-Day Attacks: Cybercriminals continuously develop new attack methods. APTs or zero-day attacks represent threats for which defenses are not yet available, and they require continuous monitoring and rapid response capabilities.
  7. Data Loss Prevention: While Office 365 has data loss prevention capabilities, setting it up to effectively prevent sensitive information from leaving an organization without blocking legitimate traffic is complex.
  8. Hybrid Environments: Many organizations operate in a hybrid environment, with some resources on-premises and others in the cloud. Managing security consistently across these environments is challenging.
  9. Limited Visibility and Control Over Security Alerts: While Office 365 does provide alerts on security issues, managing these alerts and having complete visibility into all the potential problems across an entire organization can be overwhelming, especially without a dedicated security team.

Addressing these challenges requires a combination of user education, policy setting, third-party solutions, and the involvement of cybersecurity professionals to conduct audits, monitor security health, and respond to incidents effectively.

Dig Helps Secure Office 365

Dig empowers organizations to fortify their Office 365 setups, emphasizing a data-centric security strategy finely tuned to each entity’s unique data privacy and compliance demands. By introducing Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) and Data Detection and Response (DDR), Dig tailors solutions specifically for comprehensive data compliance campaigns. The deployment of DSPM and DDR enables organizations to oversee their security landscape meticulously and counter potential threats swiftly, ensuring steadfast compliance and robust data protection consistently.

Dig’s platform harnesses the power of sophisticated data discovery techniques to scrutinize and interpret data across cloud environments, enabling organizations to actively detect, categorize, and secure sensitive details. Organizations can gauge potential threats through data classification and systematic risk evaluation, prioritize compliance protocols, and set a foundational security standard. This process guarantees adherence to regulatory obligations and protects sensitive information.

Dig’s DDR capability provides organizations with instantaneous alertness and reaction to impending cyber threats, significantly reducing instances of breaches and illicit data manipulations. DDR meticulously scrutinizes data exchanges to flag anomalies that suggest potential threats, utilizing enriched threat intelligence to preemptively neutralize recognized malicious activities. By integrating constant risk surveillance with active defense mechanisms, this method fortifies security protocols, automates compliance processes, and delivers immediate insights, alleviating the burden on IT and security personnel and reinforcing data-safeguarding measures.