13 Tips for Data Security in Microsoft 365 and SharePoint

Protecting data in Microsoft 365 and SharePoint requires a comprehensive approach that includes using built-in security features, implementing best practices, and being vigilant about emerging threats.

Here is an overview of the main practices based on our experiences working with various organizations, which Microsoft also recommends for companies to follow:

  • 1. Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): Implementing MFA is a crucial step in protecting your accounts, requiring additional verification methods besides a password. This significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access.
  • 2. Protection of Administrator Accounts: Ensure that administrator accounts have extra protection due to their elevated privileges. This may involve using separate accounts for daily and administrative tasks.
  • 3. Email and Collaboration Security Policies: Use Microsoft 365’s preset security policies to protect against threats such as spam, malware, and phishing. These policies help protect your email communications and collaborations on platforms like SharePoint and OneDrive.
  • 4. Device Protection: Protect all devices that have access to your Microsoft 365 and SharePoint data. This includes both company-owned and personal devices, ensuring they meet your security standards.
  • 5. Data Encryption: In SharePoint and OneDrive, data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. Microsoft uses top-level encryption methods to ensure data security, and only a limited number of employees have access to data centers.
  • 6. Zero Trust Framework and Least Privilege: Adopting a zero trust framework ensures that every access request is verified, minimizing unauthorized access risks. The principle of least privilege limits users’ access rights only to what is strictly necessary for their job tasks.
  • 7. Conditional Access Policies: You can implement conditional access policies to control who accesses your Microsoft 365 resources based on conditions such as user role, device status, location, and identified risks.
  • 8. Phishing Protection: Training and tools are essential to protect against phishing attacks, which are common and complex. Microsoft 365 includes features that help recognize and protect against such threats.
  • 9. Audit Logs and Automated Reporting: SharePoint’s audit logs allow you to monitor activities and automate reporting to ensure effective monitoring and compliance. Various products and solutions can automate these audits, providing detailed reports for review.
  • 10. Data Leak Prevention Policies: Implement smart data leak prevention policies to avoid unauthorized sharing of sensitive information. Tools like Microsoft Purview help manage, protect, and govern sensitive data across your organization.
  • 11. Regular Security Reviews: Automate security risk reviews and manage external sharing rights vigilantly. It is crucial to regularly review externally shared content and adjust rights as needed to maintain security.
  • 12. Using Third-Party Solutions: Consider using third-party solutions for additional security measures and monitoring options. These can provide extended features and specialized security functions that complement Microsoft’s built-in tools.
  • 13. Data Backup and Security: To reduce potential damage from a cyber or ransomware attack, it is prudent to back up business-critical or personal data in Microsoft 365 and SharePoint. Whether it’s third-party cloud backup or a local backup solution, securely storing data and documents until their end of life is essential. More information about data backup can be read in our blog article on this topic.

Protecting managed content and data in Microsoft 365 and SharePoint is an ongoing process that requires attention to detail, awareness of the latest threats, and a proactive approach. Implementing these best practices significantly improves your organization’s data security situation.

If you want to ensure that your organization’s data in Microsoft 365 and SharePoint is protected in the best possible way and do not know how to independently implement or deploy the above technical solutions, contact us, and we will support you.

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