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Office 365 Security Tips

You’ve installed and on-boarded your team with Office 365. Great! You’ve made a very effective decision to boost productivity and enable remote work for your team.  As a leader, it’s your job to find inefficiencies and sort them out.  Microsoft Office 365 is one of the most effective products on the market for improving remote productivity and collaboration as long as you ensure that it is being used appropriately and securely.


Now that it’s all set up, you may be wondering how you should go about using it, and how to make sure all of that remotely-accessed information is secure on Office 365.  While Microsoft Office is a fairly simple software to use, there are a few things you should know before you dig in.  We have to make sure, as leaders, that our team members are well-versed in both the functionality and the security of the technology they’re using.  You should get to know the Microsoft infrastructure better in order to minimize risk and maximize productivity.


A Basic Rundown of 365

Let’s begin by explaining what Microsoft Office is.  Office 365 is a robust platform that ties in all of Microsoft’s products and enables them to be accessed through a cloud.  (A cloud is just a fancy name for storage that’s connected to your computer through the internet.) This cloud-based aspect of Office is what allows your team members to access Microsoft projects and documents from anywhere, on any device.  Instead of missing out on work time outside of the office, you can simply log onto your Office 365 account and be able and access it from anywhere.


If cloud-based technology is confusing to you, have no fear: using Office 365 is as easy as using any other Microsoft product! After logging on, you’ll see all of the icons you know and love for Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and all of the other Microsoft softwares.  You can use the online versions of these softwares, or download the desktop versions.  Projects can be saved to the cloud from either, so it’s your choice.  It’s as easy as that!


Maintaining Security with Office 365

One of the great things about a physical office is the ability to lock up after a work day.  With all of the work contained on hard-drives, preventing leaks is as easy as locking your office door behind you. Nowadays, more and more work is being done remotely.  This presents a security issue, since mixing sensitive work materials with personal devices can create leaks.


One of the main examples of this combination is a shared home computer.  Many households have one desktop or laptop that the family shares.  This is a problem, because the gamer of the family might accidentally download viruses and allow cybercriminals into the same computer that mom uses to read over her CFO’s financial summaries.  This leads to data leaks, both accidental and resulting from malicious cyber crime, that can leave mom in trouble with the board of directors.


One of the best ways to prevent data leaks or breaches is by simply logging off of your Office 365 account after you’re finished with work.  This prevents children, husbands, or any other family members from inadvertently releasing sensitive information.


Multi-Factor Authentication With Office 365

It’s always a good idea to add another layer of security for your Office account.  We recommend using multi-factor authentication to double up on protection. 

Multi-factor authentication is an increasingly popular way to protect information.  It consists of entering your password, like usual, and then entering a special, one-time code that is issued in a manner such that only you know it (such as over text or email).

There are very few statistics on the effectiveness of multi-factor authentication.  This is because, according to Microsoft, attacks on multi-factor authentication-enabled accounts is extremely rare.  In other words, it’s hard to predict exactly how effective MFA is when criminals don’t even bother to try hacking it.  Now that’s security.


To enable multi-factor authentication on your Office 365 account, follow these steps:  

  1. Log on,
  2. go to the Office 365 Admin Center
  3. click More
  4. click Set Up Azure Multi-Factor Authentication


From there, you’ll be able to manage MFA settings for all of your team members!  Make sure you inform your team of this new policy to avoid confusion and roadblocks down the line.


Conditional Access With Office 365

Another way to prevent unauthorized access to information is through conditional access.  Microsoft Office 365 uses Azure Active Directory for its credential management.  Azure AD is a state-of-the-art security platform that allows for conditional access programming.  Let’s break down what that means.


Conditional access is a broad term that defines a series of signals Azure takes into account when considering whether or not to give a user access to sensitive information. This Azure information protection, at its most basic level, it requires passwords and multi-factor authentication.  At more complex levels, it will look at the IP address and location of the user, as well as the behavior and timing of the log-in attempt, to determine whether or not the user is actually authorized to access the account.  It will even monitor use during an active session to ensure nothing looks fishy.


To enable conditional access:

  1. Start at your Device Management portal
  2.  Navigate to Conditional Access
  3.  Select New 
  4. From there, you can restrict access from certain locations and enable other features to keep your data safe.

Cybercrime is on the rise.  However, by utilizing the right technology and taking preventative actions, you can be sure that your information is protected.


What if I have problems with my Office 365 account?

If you have issues with your Office account, you don’t need to panic.  ZAACT is a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner, which means we are one of the few firms Microsoft trusts to give assistance and consultations about their products.  If you have any issues regarding a Microsoft product, contact us for a free consultation and let ZAACT troubleshoot your issues.


ZAACT is Utah’s premier Microsoft consultation firm.  For anything relating to enterprise-level Microsoft products, we are your number one choice.  Check out our extensive line of consultation services, including for Sharepoint Intranets, Office 365, Azure and BPM, to learn more about what we can do for you!

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