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Microsoft 365 combines Office 365 and the Windows 10 Pro operating system into a cloud-delivered package with added cyber-security and management features tailor-made for business. Cyber-security, data privacy, and regulatory compliance are crucial factors in everyday business. Fortunately, Microsoft 365 has inherent protections that help you create, store, and send secure documents, spreadsheets, and emails. But cyber-security and compliance can seem overwhelming for some—where do you begin when it comes to monitoring and managing your company’s security in Microsoft 365?
Amaxra has deployed Microsoft 365 to numerous security-conscious businesses over the past year. There are three things we found that all organizations using Microsoft 365 should do when they want to enhance their cyber-security and ensure regulatory compliance.
Assign an administrator
No matter how many employees you have at your company, you should have a dedicated administrator for Microsoft 365. Unless your company only has one employee, Amaxra also recommends a dedicated employee with Microsoft 365 administrator rights who is focused on cyber-security as well. Separating IT functions from security may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s in the interest of improving your organization’s ability to innovate whilst maintaining governance and oversight. Another option is to outsource cyber-security operations to a managed service provider.
Assess your Microsoft Secure Score
Microsoft Secure Score is a measurement of your organization’s cyber-security when it comes to Office 365 apps and other cloud-based data. Found in the Microsoft 365 Security Center dashboard, this Security Score helps to set a baseline for a business’ cyber-security health.
Following the Security Score recommendations can protect your company from cyber-security threats. From a centralized dashboard in the Microsoft 365 security center, you can monitor and work on the security of your Microsoft 365 environment holistically. That means you can see all of your accounts, the apps and devices used by those accounts, and the data stored in Microsoft 365 cloud infrastructure.
Secure Score gives you easy to understand visualizations of metrics related to every aspect of your company’s Microsoft 365 deployment—from the Windows 10 Pro installed on your employees’ computers to the Office 365 apps on them and in the cloud. If you have integrated Office 365 with other Microsoft products such as Dynamics 365 and other third-party apps (including security apps), you’ll see a score on how well they all work together. If there are any areas where you can improve, then Secure Score will give you tips on how to improve. You can also see how your company’s score compares with similar organizations to “gamify” your quest for better cyber-security.
You are rewarded in real time for configuring recommended security features, performing security-related tasks, and taking action that improves the security of your Microsoft 365 environment. It can be satisfying to see your company have a high score compared to other organizations in your peer group, but Amaxra does not recommend applying every action as per the Secure Score assessment. In our experience, cyber-security should be balanced with usability for employees. Before taking any actions, have your security administrator work with the Microsoft 365 administrator (if they’re not the same person) to determine if any Secure Score improvement actions will “break” something before applying.
Access the compliance center
Microsoft 365 For Business plans come with more than 1,000 built-in security and privacy controls. You can use these controls to help you stay compliant with industry and governmental regulations around data privacy. Because the Microsoft Cloud is global, compliance controls in Microsoft 365 are international; used to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) in the U.S. as easily as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We use the word “easily” with some hesitation, as the set up for these controls require you to go into the Microsoft Security Center, click on the Policies option on the left-navigation menu to configure your level of compliance.So, it takes a bit of patience to set up all the compliance controls with the Microsoft 365 For Business plan.
For companies that work with international partners or do business in the legal or financial industry verticals, Amaxra recommends upgrading to Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 plans to leverage the Microsoft Compliance Center dashboard instead. This separate dashboard provides you with visibility into your overall corporate compliance posture.
Similar to the Secure Score in Microsoft 365 Security Center, the Compliance Center uses Microsoft’s cloud-based artificial intelligence automation to scan your Office 365 apps and cloud environment then give you recommended actions to help you meet compliance obligations. The Compliance Center is a centralized “one stop shop” to configure all document/email sensitivity and retention labels, data loss prevention (DLP), governance, eDiscovery, and Cloud App Security policies for your corporate IT environment. And like all Microsoft cloud solutions, you get extremely detailed analytics for everything related to Microsoft 365 compliance.
How to balance security with innovation (on a budget)
The point of choosing Microsoft 365 is to simplify your IT, reduce costs, and increase your cyber-security posture. But some readers might look at this blog post and worry:
- “We can’t afford to have two separate dedicated IT and cyber-security heads.”
- “Our company can’t waste money on gamifying our cyber-security.”
- “Those screenshots of the Compliance Center don’t make it look any easier than what’s in the Security Center and I have to pay extra for the E3 plan to get it.”
Amaxra will allay your fears about cyber-security protection and Microsoft 365. We are a Gold level Microsoft Partner with over ten years’ experience in deploying cloud-based business solutions for businesses.