Microsoft 365 (M365) provides businesses with a solution that empowers people to fully utilize their creativity while working together securely.
All of the features that you get should enhance the productivity of your business. But, the key to all of this is keeping your data secure.
Incidents of security breaches have been steadily increasing over the last few years so data security should be a top priority for all businesses. By understanding how the Microsoft 365 stack operates, we can see how the available features can strengthen your cybersecurity.
What’s in it?
The first question that one may ask is what will you get with Microsoft 365? And is it actually any different from Office 365 or is this merely a rebranding exercise?
Firstly, clients get local apps and cloud-based apps, and productivity services. These include both M365 Apps for enterprise, the latest Office apps (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and others), and a full suite of online services.
Secondly, you’ll also receive Windows 10 Enterprise which is the most productive and secure version of Windows. It meets the needs of users and IT for both large and medium enterprises.
And finally, you also benefit from device management and advanced security services including Microsoft Intune. So all in all, Microsoft 365 is designed to be a more comprehensive solution and the name change is more reflective of the range of features and benefits in the subscription.
Businesses are vulnerable
The importance of cloud security to a business cannot be overstated. Especially when you take into consideration the study by the University of Maryland showing that cybercriminals infiltrate business data about once every 39 seconds.
And as remote work continues to expand, the use of personal devices to access sensitive data can be a massive additional risk. This is why businesses need platforms like Microsoft 365 Stack to not only enhance productivity but safeguard business data as well.
Backing up your data
Arguably one of the first things to consider in your data protection strategy is cloud backup. Because there are so many threats – internal and external – to data security, having your data backed up is a must. Using the Microsoft 365 Cloud Backup comes with several benefits that you simply cannot ignore. And these include:
Protection against accidental deletion of data which is something that will happen occasionally.
Protection against data losses resulting from cyberattacks.
Threats don’t always come from outside actors so backups will also protect you from the nefarious actions of internal actors.
Backups can help you to manage legal and compliance requirements.
Working from anywhere
One of the key selling points of Microsoft 365 is how it enables people to collaborate on various projects from just about anywhere. And this is made possible because the responsibility of your data’s security lies with Microsoft.
Businesses can rest easy knowing that their data is highly secure on the OneDrive platform or when shared across Teams and SharePoint.
What this also means is that you have fewer expenses by eliminating the need to maintain expensive hardware.
Furthermore, built-in security features such as the robust data loss prevention policy, Advanced Threat Analytics, and Exchange Online Protection will enable your employees to work remotely as securely as possible.
Secure access to data
The Microsoft 365 stack ensures that even when employees are using personal devices, the security of your data is still maintained. This is possible because of features like multi-factor authentication (MFA) that add a layer of protection to the sign-in process.
So users will have to provide additional identity verification, such as scanning a fingerprint or entering a code received by phone.
Also, you can add solutions like Microsoft Intune to use advanced capabilities that can enforce mobile device encryption and enable the use of PIN numbers. Microsoft 365 has several threat protection tools that all businesses should know:
Microsoft Defender ATP: offers clients excellent endpoint protection and prevents cyberattacks and data breaches. With the increase in use of personal devices, this feature works great on mobile devices, which are particularly vulnerable to attacks.
Office 365 ATP: this feature aims to secure your communications by dealing with phishing attacks, zero-day threats, and other types of malware that users may encounter in emails and links.
Microsoft Cloud App Security: detects abnormal usage and incidents, alerting you to threats to your cloud apps.
Azure ATP: makes use of on-site active directory to keep your identities secure and also reduce the attack surface.
Simplifying update processes
One of the major advantages of having cloud-based software is the ability to have regular updates. This is particularly necessary when we consider the sophistication of the constant cyber threats that businesses have to contend with.
And the great thing about these updates is that Microsoft allows organizations to sign up to an update schedule that is convenient for them. By doing this, regular updates will stop being a nuisance that people sometimes ignore.
Especially given how important they are for bug fixing and patching up security issues. When organizations can have the most up-to-date software versions in their hands, this can significantly enhance their cloud security.
Securing your business
Cyber threats are targeting all kinds of organizations and small businesses are no exception. Without effective solutions in place, you are at risk of being shut down by cybercriminals. But by using Microsoft 365 Stack, you get a robust solution that is designed to provide companies with all the features they need to run a more secure and efficient business.
All the available tools and features will help you to address the data security and compliance issues that you are bound to encounter as time goes on. It may just be time to utilize the enterprise-grade service and protection of the M365 stack.
These days, you will find cloud services offering some pretty amazing features. Platforms like Microsoft 365 (M365) have been developing their functionalities at a very fast pace. With all of those changes, businesses can expect to benefit as well. And they do. The advances in cloud technology have had a significant impact on things like corporate data security and remote work. Moreover, the round the clock support you get from Microsoft experts allows you to swiftly deal with any issues. Even more importantly, M365 helps you manage your organizational governance and that’s something we want to take a closer look at.
Governance in M365
Under Microsoft 365, the key thing is the protection of essential data assets while minimizing risk. There are a few crucial areas that need consideration. Firstly, there is operational assurance. This is mainly an IT task responsible for the operation and performance of the platform. Next, we talk about information assurance. For this, you need to know the regulatory requirements as well as the goals of the business because it involves the management of information throughout the lifecycle. Lastly, we’ll talk about outcome assurance. This part is concerned with providing the necessary guidance to enable an organization to obtain favorable outcomes.
Preparing your business
Cloud services are constantly evolving and that means businesses need to adequately prepare. These continuous changes can have positive or negative effects depending on your governance policies. It’s important to have policies that best suit your IT team to ensure maximum productivity. Although leveraging the power of the cloud has numerous benefits, your IT team still needs to maintain a framework that guarantees data security. All of this requires the company to set up informed governance policies that are regularly updated as and when necessary.
When it comes to IT governance for M365, all the services you get with M365 including Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security are considered. Businesses will need to assess aspects such as user lifecycles and legal data requirements for the governance framework. It’s important to note that employee recruitment or retirement can upset your governance processes because user and data lifecycle concepts are designed and applied in an expanded form. Given that there will be other employees that need greater access and security, you need to establish protocols for these groups. This will help to maintain corporate data security while granting secure access to those that need it.
Great communication platforms
Most people will agree that good communication is an absolute necessity for any business to operate properly. Again, this is something Microsoft 365 fully understands. You can have the best business strategies but without good communication channels, your business will struggle. To facilitate great communication, M365 clients can get in touch via Skype, voice calls, and video calls. Yammer and other business platforms are also available when it comes to organizing projects. As well as giving users fantastic options for communication, these platforms are highly secure. So management can rest easy knowing that they can easily relay information and organize projects without worrying about security.
Improve service delivery
Online platforms have changed the way that clients can interact with businesses. In addition, these platforms also enable businesses to market themselves better to potential clients. With the amount of information available online, decision-making is a lot easier. For instance, through the use of Outlook’s CRM capabilities, you can track your clients and establish business relationships. You also have Microsoft 365 Business that you can use to create mailing lists and manage your marketing emails. Clients get increased convenience because of Bookings which allows them to make appointments anytime, anywhere. Because of the popularity of social media and its significant reach, Microsoft 365 Business also helps you to manage these platforms. It does this by updating the information on your social media platforms and making communication with clients easier.
Microsoft information governance
Information governance has a massive role to play in how effectively an organization operates. With information being a very valuable asset, you cannot afford to compromise your data management. You need to start by understanding the type of information that is governed, something that is done with retention labels which drive the automated lifecycle management of all data. After this, you can configure the labels in a few different ways. You can publish the labels, use MIG/ADG to auto-apply labels, or apply pre-applied labels in bulk. Information governance gives you a system for comprehensive data management on a secure platform.
Effective device management
In these times when plenty of people are working from home, managing employees’ devices is essential to overall organizational governance. Not only is this important to maintain productivity levels, but it’s also necessary for data security. By joining Azure AD and enrolling in Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM), users will encrypt their devices and obtain certificates enabling them to access VPNs, Wi-Fi, etc. Furthermore, this will keep employees’ devices up to date, secure, and compliant with all your policies. MEM is a great tool for any business looking to organize their workforce when working remotely without compromising data security.
Good management is often what makes the difference between successful businesses and struggling ones. Likewise, good technology can have a similar effect on your business. Which is why it’s not a bad idea to check out Microsoft 365. It’s a package deal that has some of Microsoft’s best products, not least of which is the hugely popular Office 365. The tools you get in this package will not only help but improve your organizational governance. Easier communication, advanced security, and 24/7 support help to make your business run efficiently. So if you want to simplify management for your organization, M365 is a great place to start.