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Breaking news, cyberattacks are on the rise

Yes we know, of course we would say that but the truth of the matter is businesses of all sizes are targeted daily, and a simple Google search will show you how regular breaches of major corporations right down to small businesses are. But here’s the surprising truth: many successful attacks exploit basic security gaps. This is especially true for cloud-based platforms like Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365).

While Microsoft 365 offers robust security features, it’s crucial to remember it’s a shared responsibility model. Microsoft secures the platform, but you, the organisation, are responsible for configuring and using it securely. Here’s where the concept of cyber hygiene comes in.

Think of cyber hygiene like personal hygiene for your IT systems. It’s the foundation of a strong security posture, and just like washing your hands regularly keeps the germs away, good cyber hygiene habits significantly reduce your risk of cyberattacks.

Why is Basic Cyber Hygiene Critical for Microsoft 365 security?

Recent reports show that basic security measures can prevent a staggering 98% of cyberattacks. That’s a powerful statistic, especially when considering the potential impact of a breach: lost data, financial repercussions, reputational damage, and even legal ramifications.

Source: Microsoft


The NCSC Framework: Your Roadmap to Better Security

The good news is, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Ekco, in partnership with The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have developed a comprehensive framework specifically for securing Office 365 environments. This framework aligns with the principles of Zero Trust Security, which essentially assumes no user or device is inherently trustworthy. This approach requires verification at every access attempt.

The NCSC framework outlines a series of foundational controls that every organisation should implement, regardless of size or industry. Let’s explore some key aspects of this framework:

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): This goes beyond simple passwords. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification factor, like a code from your phone or a fingerprint scan. The NCSC recommends phishing-resistant MFA, which means attackers can’t gain access even if they steal your password.
  • Least Privilege Access Control: This principle ensures users only have the access level they need to perform their job functions. Think of it like giving out keys – your mother in-law doesn’t need the keys to your house…!
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): DLP helps prevent sensitive data from being accidentally or maliciously leaked outside your organisation. Imagine DLP as a security guard for your data, ensuring it only goes where it’s supposed to.
  • Keeping Systems Up to Date: Patching vulnerabilities promptly is crucial. Cybercriminals constantly exploit known weaknesses, so staying up-to-date with security patches significantly reduces your attack surface.

Beyond the Basics: Continuous Improvement

While the NCSC framework provides a solid foundation, cybersecurity is an ongoing process. Here are some additional tips to keep your Office 365 environment secure:

  • User Education: Empower your employees to be aware of common cyber threats and best practices. Phishing emails are a major attack vector – a well-trained workforce is your first line of defence.
  • Security Awareness Training: Regular training keeps employees informed about the latest threats and how to identify and report suspicious activity.
  • Monitoring and Threat Detection: Proactive monitoring of your systems can help you identify and respond to threats before they escalate.
  • Managed Security Services: Consider partnering with a managed IT service provider (MSP) like Ekco, with expertise in securing Office 365 environments. They can provide ongoing monitoring, threat detection, and incident response capabilities.

You can find more tips on our Elevate Your Office 365 Security webinar or download the slide deck below.

Download slides

The Takeaway: Don’t Be a Statistic

Cybersecurity isn’t about luck; it’s about taking proactive steps. By implementing basic cyber hygiene practices and leveraging the NCSC framework, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. Remember, even large, well-resourced organisations are targeted. Don’t let your business become the next statistic. Take action today and secure your Office 365 environment.

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