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Email privacy and security in Office 365

Many of the common cyber-attacks facing Australia’s businesses are nothing new. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their methods, researching potential victims carefully before targeting them. Business email compromise (BEC) has resulted from this more methodical approach. Here, an unwitting victim is deprived of credentials, data, and money by being duped or hijacked into communicating with someone impersonating a business via a spoofed or hijacked account. BEC scams have cost organisations billions of dollars in potential losses. Despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies, recovering BEC financial losses is not often successful.

In today’s technologically savvy world, email is just as important as any other form of communication. Office 365 and other virtual workplace platforms rely on email to successfully connect employees. To ensure email-based collaboration in Office 365 is secure and protected, follow these pointers.

Microsoft Office 365 email security

There are different ways you ensure email security and privacy in Office 365 is maintained to make your organisation more secure. These include:

Multi-factor authentication

Maintaining a strong level of protection is simple and quick to accomplish by utilising multifactor authentication. To gain access to Microsoft Office 365, users will be required to enter a code from their mobile device. This approach prevents hackers from taking over a user’s account if they discover the password or if they are tricked with a phishing attack. This feature can also be referred to as two-step verification.

MFA, which Microsoft says can block over 99.9% of account compromise attacks, is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your email accounts.

Separate admin accounts

Because admin accounts for your Office 365 environment have elevated privileges, cybercriminals can exploit them to perform malicious acts. Admins must maintain separate user accounts for everyday work and only use their admin account for necessary tasks. An emergency access admin account may also be desirable. Furthermore, assigning Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) may help.

Protect against ransomware

Ransomware encrypts data or even locks user interfaces in order to limit access to it. It then demands “ransom” as payment. In exchange for data access, malicious ransomware usually asks for Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. The Microsoft 365 Defender safety application includes the Safe Attachments feature that blocks advanced ransomware.

Boost malware protection

Although Office 365 provides malware protection, you can further boost your protection by blocking attachments containing common malware file types like PDF and Office Documents. It is critical to note that the most frequently encountered malware file types are PDF and Office Documents.

Office 365 Message encryption

Microsoft 365 already comes equipped with Office 365 Message Encryption, which allows for encrypted email communications. With this feature, your business may send and receive encrypted emails. Office 365 message encryption ensures only intended recipients can read the message content.

Protect against phishing attacks

You can also configure targeted anti-phishing protection if you have configured custom domains for your Microsoft Office 365 environment. Anti-phishing solutions can help your business avoid being targeted by a phishing attack. The URLs contained in email messages or other Office documents can be protected against phishing attacks using Safe Links for Office 365. This service protects your company by providing time-of-click verification of web URLs.

Enable Office 365 Safe Attachments

SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams all offer file sharing to users. Users can often attach documents, presentations, and sheets to their messages. Office 365 Safe Attachments protection is not turned on by default, it should be turned on because this protection applies to all files in SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams.

Unified Audit Log

All activities performed in the Microsoft 365 admin centre, whether they were performed by a user, a group, an application, a domain, or a directory, are tracked in the unified audit log.

Alert policy

An alert policy is a set of rules that define when an alert should be generated, as well as a list of users who would be notified if the activity occurs.

External Email Tagging

All external emails are tagged as “External” so that mail users are warned about the attachments and contents of the message.

Educate employees

Human error accounts for the majority of data breaches and is one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity threats today. Employees may make innocent mistakes, neglect security protocols, or unwittingly fall for social engineering scams. Invest in an employee security awareness program that covers cybersecurity best practices and security accountability to minimise risk.

Leverage email security with Microsoft experts

Ensuring the protection of your business data requires ongoing effort and time, but you don’t have to do it alone. INTELLIWORX is here to help you make the most of Microsoft solutions such as Azure, Office 365, and Microsoft Exchange and ensure the security of your business data.

Shane Maher

We passionately work on the IT Infrastructure of mid-tier businesses and support MSPs into cloud services. I have over 17 years of commercial experience that includes supporting and managing IT systems, developing infrastructure solutions, both onsite & in the cloud.

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