April 14, 2021

Strengthening Microsoft 365 security with top 10 features


Cyberthreat today is too pervasive to overlook. Hence, a greater responsibility that comes with deploying Microsoft 365 tenant in the cloud is to keep it secure invariably. To ensure that your data remains protected and business operations run smoothly, Microsoft Office 365 provides a set of native security features. Let’s discuss some of them one by one using which you can make your M365 environment immune against attacks –

1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Activate Azure Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to increase login security. It combines two or more factors such as passcode, biometric scan, etc. for identity verification of the user. This means that even if your password is hacked, the criminal would still not be able to access your files without alternate verification methods.

2. Use dedicated admin accounts

Admin accounts are prime targets for hackers as it gives them access to elevated privileges, security features, and many other important administrative options. Hence, it the administrator’s duty to use their admin accounts only for performing their job roles. For non-administrative tasks, they must create separate user accounts.

3. Insulate your system against ransomware and malware

Used by cyber-criminals to extort money from victims, ransomware is a program that restricts access to data by locking the computer or encrypting the data. To protect against ransomware, create mail flow rules to block extensions that are commonly used for ransomware. Then, warn your staff to not open files that contain macros sent by unknown users as ransomware may be hidden inside them.

Coming to malware, it is malicious code that damages the computer system. For protection against malware, you must activate the Anti-malware program available in Microsoft 365 suite and block attachments with file types related to malware.

4. Stop auto-forwarding mails

A hacker can easily gain access to a user’s inbox who has a habit of auto-forwarding emails. The inbox can then be configured to forward emails with malware attached and infect the entire organization without the user’s awareness. To prevent this from happening, you can create a mail flow rule and stop the auto-forwarding function.

5. Use Message Encryption

Message encryption in Microsoft 365 helps ensure that only intended users can view the message content both inside and outside the organization. After you configure this feature, if a user sends a sensitive email accidentally to a wrong user outside the organization, then the recipient won’t be able to view or forward it.

6. Protect your email from phishing

If you have one or more custom domains for your Microsoft 365 environment, then you can configure anti-phishing protection to protect your organization against malicious impersonation-based phishing attacks and other phishing attacks.

7. Use Safe Attachments and Safe Links

To be able to detect whether an attachment is safe or not, you need to turn on the Safe Attachment feature by creating a new rule. Safe Attachment protection is available in Microsoft Defender and it extends the protection to SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams.

8. Deploy Mobile Device Management

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is used to secure data on end-user devices such as phones, tablets, and laptops. By configuring policies and conditional access, you can control access to the company’s data and prevent it from being stolen, misused, or lost.

9. Create a Data Loss Prevention Policy

Data Loss Prevention Policy (DLP) ensures that your private data is not uploaded, downloaded, shared, or emailed. You can monitor your confidential data and prohibit users from sending it outside the organization. Also, you can create policies to prevent the saving of data to specific locations such as SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business.

10. Take advantage of Advanced Threat Protection

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) prevents malicious links and attachments from getting into a user’s inbox. Before allowing such mails to get into a user’s inbox, ATP opens them in a virtual environment to check if the links and attachments carry any ransomware.

ATP security is available in Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 license. It can be purchased as an add-on for other licenses as well.


Hence, we have seen how Microsoft 365 safeguards your business with great built-in security features. You get protection from cyber threats, gain more control over data, manage documents on devices that access corporate data, and much more. Additionally, you incorporate governance for streamlining business processes and workflows and keep communication and collaboration in control.

Until here, everything works well if you are a small organization. Hence, you may get away with a formal governance plan to secure and maintain your tenant. However, when your organization grows and your teams multiply from hundreds to thousands, there is a dire need to implement a robust governance plan in place to balance IT security and employee productivity.

You need to know your data well across your hybrid environment, protect data from oversharing and misuse, organize data by timely retaining and disposing of it, monitor activities across all your workloads in real-time 24*7 for enhanced security, and do much more. Apparently, this is beyond human effort. For all of this to ideally work in a risk-free environment, you need to leverage the power of automation to your Microsoft 365 collaboration environment. This is where our governance automation platform TeamsHub by Cyclotron helps!

To explore more about TeamsHub by Cyclotron, please visit https://teamshub.io or contact sales@cyclotrongroup.com to request a demo

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