For many businesses, Microsoft 365 is their go-to productivity suite because it offers powerful features, cost-saving benefits, and world-class security. And while Microsoft continuously looks for ways to address security concerns, the changing threat landscape can put Microsoft 365's security measures to the test. Here are some of the most common security risks Microsoft 365 users face and how you can protect your business from these.
Infected file synchronization
Like most cloud services, Microsoft 365 allows users to automatically sync files stored on their devices to the cloud, such as in OneDrive. However, this useful feature is not without security risks. If a locally stored file is infected with malware, OneDrive will view the file as changed/updated and trigger a sync to the OneDrive cloud, with the infection going undetected.
Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is a great tool against malware infection. Part of Microsoft 365 Defender, this app is designed to enhance protections for Office 365 apps. It also provides great visibility into user activity to improve incident response efforts. Make sure your organization’s security administrators set this up on your systems so you can detect and mitigate cyber risks as soon as they arise.
Security risks in dormant applications
Some organizations using Microsoft 365 often don’t use all the tools and services included in the productivity suite. For instance, your organization might use programs like Word, Excel, and SharePoint every day, but rarely use OneDrive. Unfortunately, dormant applications may be prone to attack. To counter this, it’s crucial to identify unused apps and have an administrator tweak user settings to restrict availability on these apps.
Unprotected communication channels
Phishing attacks and malware are two of the most common ways cybercriminals infiltrate a system, but there are other paths of attack that you may not be aware of. Microsoft 365 applications like Microsoft Teams, which can connect to external networks, may serve as a medium for ransomware and other types of cyberattacks.
To fight against such threats, train your staff in identifying potentially malicious files and links. You can also offer guidelines on how to handle and route sensitive files and communications to safe locations.
Vulnerabilities in SharePoint
Businesses typically use SharePoint to store sensitive information like personally identifiable data, so failing to secure SharePoint content against unauthorized users is one way to expose data and your business to cyberthreats. This can be disastrous for companies that are required to comply with stringent data privacy and protection regulations. Failure to comply may result in serious consequences not only for businesses but their customers as well.
To prevent this, limit administrator-level privileges and enable encryption. Additionally, set the necessary security restrictions per user for every application. This ensures that users and hackers who get a hold of user credentials cannot exploit or misuse privileges.
Microsoft 365 provides a powerful and convenient tool for businesses. However, as long as cybercriminals exist, there are always security risks to be aware of. If you have any questions about Microsoft 365 security or would like help in implementing these tips, our team of experts would be happy to assist you. Contact us today!
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