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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Alsup

Microsoft 365 Security Best Practices for Remote Work: IT Provider Walk Through

Kosh is a managed IT service provider, and we often get asked about the best ways to secure Microsoft 365 for remote work. It's a valid concern, as the rise of remote work has also led to an increase in cyber-attacks. But don't worry, we've got you covered with these Microsoft 365 security best practices for remote work.


Strong passwords – yes it’s still a problem!

First and foremost, make sure all employees are using strong, unique passwords for their Microsoft 365 accounts - or better yet, passphrases! We know, we know, it's a pain to remember all those different passwords, but it's a necessary evil. And while we're on the topic of passwords, make sure to enable password expiration and multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts. MFA requires an additional method of verification, such as a code sent to a phone or email, to log into an account, adding an extra layer of security.


Microsoft 365 includes a variety of security features to help protect your organization's data. Some of these features include:

  • MFA: As mentioned earlier, MFA requires an additional method of verification, such as a code sent to a phone or email, to log in to an account. This adds an extra layer of security to prevent unauthorized access.

  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): ATP helps protect against cyber threats such as phishing attacks, malware, and ransomware. It analyzes email attachments and links in real-time to identify potential threats and can even simulate clicks on links to determine if they are safe.

  • Information Protection: This feature allows you to classify, label, and protect sensitive data within your organization. You can set up data loss prevention (DLP) policies to prevent accidental or intentional data leaks.

  • Security and Compliance Center: The Security and Compliance Center is a central hub for managing security and compliance in your organization. It includes tools such as the Threat Management dashboard, which provides an overview of potential security threats, and the Compliance Manager, which helps you stay compliant with industry regulations.

  • Azure Active Directory (AD): Azure AD is a cloud-based identity and access management service that helps protect access to your organization's resources. It allows you to set up MFA, single sign-on (SSO), and conditional access policies to further secure access to your data.


These are just a few examples of the security features included in Microsoft 365. It's important to regularly review and utilize these features to ensure the security of your organization's data.


Check out our article exploring the question: Is Microsoft 365 Safe?


Software up to date - just run the update!

Next up, keep all software and security protocols up to date. This includes not only Microsoft 365, but also any other software or hardware being used for work. Outdated software can have security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit, so it's important to stay current. Speaking of software, be wary of downloading any unknown or suspicious programs, even if they seem legitimate. It's always better to err on the side of caution.


Keeping software up to date is part of step #2 of our Cybersecurity Order of Operations. If you are looking for a step-by-step guide on getting your cyber security in order, this is the article to get you started!


Secure connections - VPN

Another important aspect of Microsoft 365 security for remote work is ensuring secure communication. This means using secure channels, such as encrypted email or virtual private networks (VPNs), for sensitive information.


It's also a good idea to educate employees on how to identify phishing attacks, as these are a common way for hackers to gain access to accounts.

Microsoft does offer its own virtual private network (VPN) service called Microsoft VPN. Microsoft VPN allows you to connect to a private network, such as your organization's network, over the internet in a secure way. It helps protect data transmitted over the internet by encrypting the connection.


Microsoft VPN is available as a built-in feature in some versions of the Windows operating system, such as Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise. It can be set up by an administrator through the Network Connections settings on the user's device. There are also third-party VPN client applications, such as the Microsoft Remote Access VPN Client, that can be used to connect to a Microsoft VPN.

In addition to Microsoft VPN, Microsoft also offers Azure VPN, a cloud-based VPN service. Azure VPN allows you to securely connect your on-premises network to the Azure cloud and can be used in conjunction with other Azure services, such as Azure Virtual Machines and Azure Web Apps.


Setup notifications

One final tip for Microsoft 365 security for remote work is to set up security alerts and incident response plans. These can alert you to any suspicious activity on your accounts and help you quickly respond to any potential threats.


We know, all of this security talk can be overwhelming, but trust us, it's worth it. A little bit of effort goes a long way in protecting your business and keeping your data secure. Plus, think of all the peace of mind you'll have knowing your company is secure. And isn't that worth a few extra passwords to remember?


In short, the key to Microsoft 365 security for remote work is:

  1. strong passwords or passphrases,

  2. keeping all software and security protocols up to date,

  3. secure communication, and

  4. security alerts and incident response plans.

No matter if your employees work from Albuquerque or Durango, follow these best practices and you'll be well on your way to a secure and successful remote work experience.


 

Disclaimer



The information contained in this communication is intended for limited use for informational purposes only. It is not considered professional advice, and instead, is general information that may or may not apply to specific situations. Each case is unique and should be evaluated on its own by a professional qualified to provide advice specifically intended to protect your individual situation. Kosh is not liable for the improper use of this information.

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