Protecting customer data becomes essential for businesses of all sizes. Given the popularity of Microsoft 365 and other productivity and collaboration suites, businesses are encouraged to learn more about how Microsoft protects data.
Before we give you the definitive answer, there’s one thing we must mention. Namely, Microsoft isn’t responsible for your data. While the Microsoft 365 suite does give you data governance tools, applications, and services, it stresses that data protection is solely your responsibility.
What Microsoft will do is ensure uptime across the Microsoft cloud. All that’s left is for you to use these products and services to protect customer and essential data across the cloud. So that begs the question, how do companies benefit from Microsoft data protection and security services?
Let’s find out.
Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
The first benefit for companies is total protection against internal and external threat actors. That’s all thanks to the native Office 365 ATP (advanced threat protection) tool. This tool is designed to identify threats first and act second. But don’t let that discourage you from using this native tool.
Although available only with a Microsoft 365 Business license, the ATP tool ranks as one of the most important in the suite’s kit of security tools. What the Office 365 ATP can do is the following:
- Scan emails for malware, ransomware, and phishing links;
- Scan Office documents for malware and similar threats embedded in links;
- Scan online library documents for malicious files;
- Scan for email spoofing;
- Scan for unauthorized access to official business accounts;
- Scan weak passwords across your organization and offer password recommendations to Office tenants;
These capabilities make it easier for users to identify threats before said threats can act and inflict damage. After all, ATP’s approach is to identify threats.
Data Loss Compliance
The following data protection and security benefit have to do with something few businesses pay attention to. Namely, compliance and regulation are two things every organization that handles data must take seriously.
Data loss compliance is available in the Microsoft 365 suite in the form of Microsoft Purview DLP (data loss prevention), Exchange Online Archiving, and labels. These three features ensure every business using the Microsoft 365 cloud services has ways to maintain compliance and regulatory standards. The biggest use for these features is in case of litigation.
DLP can take data protection to the next level by automating sensitive information and where they go. For example, let’s say your business handles customer data through credit card information for payments.
The last thing you want is for that information to get stolen. DLP will detect sensitive information from customers and prevent it from being shared outside your organization. This feature is essential for businesses that want to stay within HIPPA and GDPR standards.
On the other hand, Exchange Online Archiving helps organizations archive data. You can then use the archiving solution and integrate it with a third-party data protection solution to store official data. These solutions incorporate clever backup ideas to protect your data.
With Exchange Online Archiving, you can access entire mailboxes and prep them for backups. For example, you can use the eDiscovery feature to retrieve deleted information if emails get deleted.
Control Data Access With Azure Information Protection
Azure is Microsoft’s platform for application management and data. Azure Information Protection is a feature part of Microsoft Purview.
We can use Azure Information Protection to determine who can and cannot access sensitive information and applications. This feature can protect an organization from internet data theft by limiting tenant access for specific applications.
To do that, you will need an administrator account with specific privileges. This account is your gateway to creating information governance policies in M365 for controlling data and access to applications.
Microsoft 365 allows you the following through Azure IP (Information Protection):
- Access requests whenever tenants try to access crucial documents;
- Restrict access to documents you’ve labeled as “classified;”
- Remotely wipe a device from business data without affecting personal information on said device;
- Email encryption and restriction; add labels to emails instructing users what to do (do not copy, do not forward, etc.)
Microsoft Defender For Business
The last security benefit comes through Microsoft Defender for business feature. Microsoft Defender is Microsoft’s official antivirus program. The feature isn’t part of Office 365 ATP but adds another layer of protection against malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks.
Microsoft Defender comes as a standalone application or as part of Microsoft 365 Business Premium. The feature can secure endpoints and is designed for SMBs (small to medium sized businesses) with up to 300 employees.
Microsoft Defender for business can protect your devices against malicious threats by allowing the following:
- Threat and vulnerability management;
- Next generation protection;
- Endpoint detection and fast response;
- Attack surface reduction;
Microsoft data protection and security can protect your data from internal and external threats emerging on your Office 365 suite. However, it’s your responsibility to use native features to enhance data protection across your organization.
Sadly, Microsoft isn’t the best equipped to stop these threats. It even encourages users to combine native features with third-party data protection solutions. Therefore, the best way to enhance data protection and security is to use third-party tools in addition to Microsoft’s native security features.
Taylor is a freelance SEO copywriter and blogger. His areas of expertise include technology, pop culture, and marketing.