Our businesses are as vulnerable to crime as our homes are, and Microsoft knows that having a secure business is one of the highest priorities in our world today. When we work with Microsoft products, we know that we are working with some of the most secure products in the market! From Office 365 to the entirety of Dynamics 365, we can ensure that these products have the best security for our business, customers, and data!
Microsoft 365 is one of several secure products that Microsoft has to offer. It is an all-in-one bundle that includes the Office 365 suite, Enterprise Mobility & Security, and Windows 10 Pro. Microsoft 365 Security Center reached general availability in March. It provided us professionals with the tools we need to have more visibility, work efficiently, and guidance to achieve maximum security possible. There is always room for growth, and with the recent June update, we see significant improvements to Microsoft 365. Here, we will discuss how these new updates will help us improve our security posture and safeguard data.
Microsoft Cloud App Security and Shadow IT Discovery capabilities
The first update we see is extensibility between Microsoft Cloud App Security and Shadow IT Discovery capabilities. We are now able to detect resources that are hosted on IaaS and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions across Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), with more being added soon.
Also, we now have visibility into the custom apps that run on top of our IaaS and PaaS subscriptions. We can find this under the “Discover Resources” tab.
Some benefits include higher visibility into apps & services, including which users are accessing them, IP addresses, transactions, and the amount of traffic transmitted.
Manage how resources are accessible with Azure AD Conditional Access
Many Microsoft users in the community have mentioned how adding Conditional Access to Microsoft 365 would help customers greatly. Microsoft recently announced the availability of Azure AD Conditional Access policies. With this, we can significantly improve our management with the access given to essential company resources.
How is this important to my company’s security?
- It allows secure access to sensitive business data to only those who need access
- Keeps confidential information on one platform
- We must opt in to allow access to our network from specific locations, with the ability to block locations
Remember the times when we thought storing vital business data behind a firewall in our office network and limiting access to the outside world, was enough security to protect our business? Now, many companies are in the cloud, and we need a way to provide our business and customers with the ability to access data from a variety of locations and devices while staying secure. Conditional Access enables Zero Trust, which helps provide access while maintaining control over, “where, when and who” is connecting to your Office 365 environment.
Microsoft 365 Business customers can enable Conditional Access policies via Azure AD
Track and improve our organization’s security with tailored recommendations in Identity Secure Score
This Microsoft 365 Update continues to improve year after year. Identity Secure Score is now generally available. We can now improve our organization’s identity security with recommendations tailored to fit our needs. Identity Secure Score provides us with increased visibility and control by discovering opportunities that will help us move in the right direction. These opportunities emerge as recommendations to guide our administrators in the right direction. The system automatically provides us with an identity score showing us an overview of our organization and how we compare with other industry competitors.
Tackle strict compliance requirements with powerful new security features
Microsoft has released several powerful new capabilities to help us meet compliance requirements. The first one that we see is the ability to avoid conflicts of interest by creating information barriers in Microsoft Teams. This is helpful to organizations that need to adhere to ethical wall requirements and standards, such as preventing the sales department from talking with the development teams.
Another security feature that will help organizations meet data requirements (specifically in the EU) is local data residency in Yammer. This feature is available to all Office 365 customers associated with a tenant in the EU. Coming later this year, Yammer will also show up in eDiscovery searches, bringing us advanced compliance and security capabilities to Yammer groups connected to Office 365.
As a multinational organization, Multi-Geo in Office 365 is designed to help control where data resides at a point user level, based on your global data location and compliance needs. Starting in June, the minimum seat requirement for Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365 was reduced from 2,500 seats to 500 seats. This update to the licensing brings increased Multi-Geo capabilities to numerous organizations around the world.
Strong security is one of the most critical things within any company. We have heard many testimonials of companies, both big and small, switching to Microsoft 365. Microsoft and AT&T Communications recently announced a multiyear deal where AT&T will be moving an ample amount of its processes to Microsoft 365. They have also committed to making Microsoft their primary cloud provider for non-network applications. Their plans for 2024 are to migrate the majority of their non-network workloads to the cloud!
Another inspiring testimony is from BP. They gave us details on how they deployed Microsoft 365 to improve user experience and security.
“We need to keep BP cyber-resilient and continually improve our ability to protect, detect, respond, and recover in the event of a cyberattack. Everything we do has to be secure by design.
We chose Microsoft 365 because of its components’ tight integration, intuitive user experiences, and the strong Microsoft cloud roadmap and commitment to security. We also find it easy to attach best-of-breed security add-ins where we like. Perhaps most important, we use the native security capabilities in Microsoft 365 to reduce complexity and streamline processes.”
Simon Hodgkinson: Group Chief Information Security Officer — BP
Microsoft 365 is not only providing us professionals with stronger security and tools we need, but it is providing businesses of all sizes with stronger security. These updates greatly emphasize the direction of product security that Microsoft is leading in. We are looking forward to the major benefits of improved security posture and safer data with these new features and updates!
What are some of your favorite and most anticipated features from this update? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below!