Online security and data protection is something that all businesses should have high on the list of critical priorities. Particularly when you have moved some or all of your IT network to cloud-based applications such as Office 365.
That’s not to say Office 365 is unsafe. As well as offering a vast range of well-documented benefits in terms of productivity and cost-efficiency, Microsoft’s range of cloud services can also boast top-end security functions for peace of mind. However, this does not mean you should be taking your eye off the ball and assuming all is safe and well. Maintaining the highest level of security is an ongoing concern and, while Office 365 can offer safety for your data and your network, ensuring that it’s appropriately set-up to meet new and changing threats is an essential part of your due diligence.
Office Security Score
One feature that can assist users in understanding how secure their set-up is can be found through Microsoft’s new Security Score tool.
The tool can scan and analyse your entire Office 365 environment to provide you with a ‘score’ and overview of your current security level: be it low, medium or high.
It’s a useful way to get a picture of your security levels and can point you towards any discrepancies that need to be addressed. However, the tool is really to be seen as an overview of your set-up rather than a device to enhance its actual security.
Office 365 offers the facility to encrypt email messages both at rest and in-transit. This provides a highly secure environment when sending and receiving mail from third-parties.
However, for the full benefit of this provision you need to ensure that your encryption is correctly configured for your requirements and that it features on the plan to which you’re subscribing. This can be monitored and configured accordingly via the admin centre where you have the ability to adjust the ‘rules’ concerning email flow.
Advanced Level Protection
365 does offer a range of sophisticated and updatable protection against a range of potential threats online and through its email exchanges. These include phishing and advanced malware attacks. However, these higher level protection apps are not necessarily contained within your Office subscription as they are add-ons from the basic package.
Understand the level of threat protection you want and require when setting-up your system and ensuring that these measures are in-place to protect your entire IT network should be a matter of high-priority. Your IT consultant can advise whether this is available via the 365 suite or whether a more suitable option is available and can be integrated.
Data Protection Strategies
While Office 365 and other SaaS systems offer exceptional data recovery should an unforeseen event occur at your business, have you considered what would happen to your data if such an event occurred at their end?
Should the 365 servers (or similar cloud-based providers) suffer a catastrophic incident – unlikely but not impossible – then it represents a risk to your data.
Migrating to 365 should not absolve you from the need to put into place a robust disaster recovery plan which covers all contingencies. This might be considering a hybrid solutions of cloud-storage with traditional backup processes.
There are many reasons why you should adopt Office 365 into your IT network. However, risk will always be present in any online system. Your IT consultant should understand the specific needs of your business to ensure in-house 365 configurations are optimised, while offering solutions beyond the system to provide a full and robust protection for your business.