As with anything you add to your workplace, an improper Office 365 suite can present security vulnerabilities. With that in mind, we have put together these 10 easy steps for securing your Office 365 tenant.
1. Select Admins Carefully
Administrators are key to the security of your Office 365 software. They will have access to the admin center, allowing them to make decisions on who can access what functions. As such, take care to select admins who are likely to be with your business for a long time. Not only will this allow them to build experience, but it will minimize the number of people coming in and out of these privileges via turnover.
2. Empower Admins
Your admins will be the security touchpoint throughout your organization. Ensure privileges that can result in security vulnerabilities are reserved for them and make sure that they are aware of any security concerns.
Your admins should be familiar with the security functions of Office 365 and should have a firm understanding of cybersecurity.
3. Configure Alerting for Common Vulnerabilities
Having a strong frontline of security means having a system that can communicate with you. By enabling some simple alerts, you can be notified of events like:
• When tenants are restricted from sending email
• When someone’s admin privileges are elevated
• When the email sending limit exceeded
• When forwarding/redirect rules are created
• When an email is reported by a user as malware or phishing
Make sure all alerts are forwarded to an admin.
4. Limit PowerShell Access
When used correctly, PowerShell is a powerful tool that allows you to streamline repetitive tasks through functions like bulk actions, mass email forwarding, and filters. This tool, however, should be restricted to admins.
By default, Office 365 allows all users to access to PowerShell. This means that an attacker can send a malicious PowerShell script via a seemingly innocuous attachment. Combine this capability with a mass email function and you have the potential for a security catastrophe.
PowerShell-based attacks are not only dangerous, but they are difficult to detect. This is because hackers are using your own software against you rather than introducing outside elements. By limiting PowerShell access, you are limiting the access points hackers can use to exploit your software features.
5. Disable Unnecessary Email Protocols
When it comes to receiving your emails, you may have come across two terms:
• Internet Messaging Access Protocol (IMAP) essentially stores emails in the email server and allows for your device to download a copy of the email, requiring you to directly delete it from the server. This method is optimal if you are accessing your email from multiple devices.
• Post Office Protocol (POP) deletes the email from the server when you download it. It is therefore more suited to single-device access.
As ActiveSync is most likely what your organization uses, the POP or IMAP functionalities are simply extra access points for hackers to connect to your mailbox. Disable the POP and IMAP methods for accessing your mailbox to avoid these unnecessary security risks.
6. Protect Yourself with a Spam & Virus Firewall
Spam emails can come with harmful attachments that can cause anything from frustration to serious security breaches. Having such breaches be one careless attachment download away is not a risk you should be willing to take.
Products like the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall are important lines of defense against these vulnerabilities.
7. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
By enabling Multi-Factor Authentication, you can add extra layers to security. When an admin sets this up for a user (by accessing the users and groups tab in the Office 365 Admin Center) said user will be prompted to set up additional security verification. For example, they may elect to have a code sent via text message to their cell phone. Office 365 will also generate app passwords that are distinct from the user’s Outlook Web App.
8. Establish a Digital Security Policy
Your business has a health and safety policy that outlines the standards for the physical health of your workers. It makes sense to take as much care of your company’s digital vulnerabilities. Set out clear expectations and best practices as they relate to working with Office 365.
9. Educate your Workers
This is the most important of our 10 easy steps to securing Office 365. Once you have set up a security framework and policy, it is crucial to communicate to your workers how they can contribute. Holding a lunch and learn seminar on cybersecurity that includes information pertinent to their use of Office 365 is a great way to get the entire business on the same page.
10. Reach out for Additional Help
Setting up security can be daunting, but it is important to keep your internal information as secure as possible. Hopefully, our list of 10 easy steps to securing Office 365 has given you some insight. If you are running into difficulties, or if you are unsure about the state of your Office 365 security, please do not hesitate to contact us. Brock IT proudly serves businesses in Brockville, Kingston, Cornwall, and Prescott, and we are here for you.