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Microsoft 365 Data Protection Best Practices

Many IT professionals feel that their data is safe with their Software as a Service (SaaS) providers. This is due to the cloud solutions’ complex encryption and data security infrastructure. However, this is not 100% true. The reality is that not all cloud solution providers have an efficient and safe backup plan.

Even Microsoft 365 suggests that their customers periodically backup their data with third-party applications. They do not provide native backup and recovery; however, they arm their customers with several Microsoft 365 management tools to assist compliance. From compliance, ownership, and security perspectives, data in the cloud should always be the end user’s responsibility.

Benefits of having a backup for your business

Today’s business enterprises require a robust backup solution to continue collaborating safely and securely. Cloud-based servers may be encrypted and continuously monitored for threats. Still, anything can happen, and those who are prudent enough to have a backup plan recover faster after any disaster. Aside from this, here are other benefits of having a data backup for your business

  • Faster recovery – Losing your data can suddenly stop business operations. According to data loss statistics, 93% of companies that lost their data and couldn’t recover for a week filed for bankruptcy within the same year. Backup allows your business to bounce back after a setback and resume operations as soon as possible.
  • Data safety – Data stored in cloud-based servers are safe from elements such as fire, flood, and other physical damage. You also can have multiple backups that serve as an additional layer of protection for crucial data.
  • Affordability – Maintaining data in the cloud is relatively more affordable and efficient than any hardware and software tools, plus the labor needed to perform the backup. Additionally, security features are constantly updated, so there are fewer chances of breaches and data loss. You don’t need to periodically hire security experts to update your security software and features or pay for data recovery.

Microsoft 365 data protection best practices

Many organizations are migrating to Microsoft 365, either entirely or partially. This is an excellent start to modernizing into seamless business operations and state-of-the-art data security.

Every organization needs to have some level of data protection, and Microsoft 365 backup solution offers some of the best features to keep your data safe in the IT landscape.

Below are some of the Microsoft 365 data protection features and functionalities that will help keep your organization’s data safe while helping you meet compliance demands.

Using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Setting up this feature requires users to use a passcode before logging in through their phones. Multi-factor authentication can also be set up in personal Microsoft accounts. Organizations can change their Microsoft 365 settings to require their users to set up MFA to increase the level of security.

Using admin accounts

Administrative accounts are a favorite target of hackers. This is why it’s essential to have a separate admin account for regular use and one for specific job tasks. Multi-factor authentication can also be set up on Microsoft admin accounts. Close all other applications and browsers before logging into the admin account, and always log out after the work is done.

Using Microsoft 365 malware protection

Microsoft 365 comes with a malware protection security feature. Still, you need to enhance its efficacy by training staff with a few things, such as blocking certain suspicious file types and using anti-virus software on devices.

One way of enhancing malware protection is to use Microsoft Defender for Business. It has an automated investigative reporting (AIR) feature that runs when there is an alert of a malicious incident. It also has the Threat and Vulnerability Management (TVM) dashboard, making it easier for cybersecurity personnel to address any threats.

Using ransomware protection

Microsoft 356 hosted emails and files in OneDrive are protected from ransomware. If your Microsoft 365 is subscribed to the Business Premium, your ransomware protection extends to your organization’s devices.

For best practices, use OneDrive to move files to be screened for ransomware. Train the staff to be aware of files inside macros because that’s where most ransomware is hidden. Do not entertain files that are from suspicious sources.

Using phishing protection

If you have configured a custom domain, you need to add phishing protection. Anti-phishing protection is included in Microsoft Defender for Office 365. It protects the organization from impersonation-based attacks.

Using email protection and privacy

Office Message Encryption is a Microsoft 365 feature that allows users to send and receive emails and messages within a network, and only the recipients will be able to view them. This encryption works across messaging platforms, including Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and other email services.

Using protection from malicious files and attachments

Microsoft Defender for Microsoft 365 can help screen malicious files, attachments, and URLs for messages and emails, but this is a feature you need to set up. Go to the Microsoft 365 Defender portal and sign in to set up. Go to the setting Email & Collaboration, then Policies, and find the option that states anti-malware. Create a new policy, choose where you will apply it, then save.

Providing training for users

They say human error is the number one reason for security breaches. That’s why admins and users need to have the proper knowledge and training regarding network and online security threats. It is essential to establish a culture of security awareness to protect the organization.

One of the most recommended guides for organizations is the Harvard Kennedy School Cybersecurity Campaign Playbook which helps establish a culture of information security awareness. Some of the essential things to enforce are creating strong passwords and enabling security features on devices.

What to look for in a backup tool

With Microsoft 365 know that your data is stored in Microsoft servers with state-of-the-art security features like in-depth encryption. But you need to find additional solutions to ensure critical data is secure, easily discoverable, and always accessible like the one from Simeon Cloud.

A good backup tool safeguards data using simplified processes across your most critical backup applications. It should eliminate manual scheduling and streamline policy management across different users. Also, it should enable you to quickly recover either a single file or an entire folder from any location.

References: Cybersecurity Campaign Playbook, Data Loss Statistics

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