How secure is Office 365?

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27 October, 2017

Whenever you think of IT for business, the issue of data back-up and security is never far away.

Just think, what would happen to your organisation if you lost access to your data, even for just a day? For how long could you function without access to customer and employee records? What impact would there be if you couldn’t see financial information, or draw down management reports? What if there was a malicious attack and your data fell into the wrong hands?

The recent malware attack on the NHS illustrates that no organisation is immune, and that network security cannot be taken for granted.

With the increasing popularity of Office 365, it should be no surprise that security is a big feature. In this article, we outline the built-in security features of Office 365 to protect your business from any data loss.

Office 365 – the peace of mind you’re looking for?

Office 365 is one of the most robust platforms on the market.

Data centre security
  • The location of Microsoft’s data centres is not made public.Furthermore, there is limited human access to your data within the company.
  • Office 365 provides ongoing security monitoring and prevent or detect any tampering of data.
  • Unlike other cloud platforms, Microsoft doesn’t mine your data for advertising purposes.
Data transmission security
  • All data is encrypted, both while at rest and while it’s being transmitted.
  • Exchange Online Protection provides advanced security against spam and malware to help protect your information and access to email. Outbound filtering ensures your users don’t send spam.
  • You can alter your protection settings to deal with a specific email issue you’re experiencing. For example, a common issue is spam from a particular email account. It’s easy to set up an ‘allow list’ to ensure you receive every message sent to you from a specific IP address or IP address range.  Similarly, you can create a list of IP addresses from which to block messages.  There is also built-in spam filtering which checks for message characteristics consistent with spam.  You can further configure these settings to suit your organisation.  For example, it’s possible to set up end-user spam notifications. So, as to inform users when messages intended for them were sent to quarantine. You can also turn on advanced spam filtering options for an even more robust approach.
  • There’s lots of built-in redundancy and back-ups to restore your data. Microsoft has a vast number of servers on their network with the specific task to provide redundancy and resilience to the Office 365 network. This means should a few servers fail Office 365 users won’t know as automatic systems will have detected this and rerouted the service. Email is also backed up on the Office 365 cloud rather than customers having to rely on their own in-house backups, which traditionally are less reliable.
User security and administrative rights
  • Users must choose a ‘hard’ password to access Microsoft 365. As well, you can set up multi-factor authentication can be enabled.  To login, employees have to use their username and password and then enter an access code which is provided via text or phone call.
  • It’s easy to set up so that administrators can control what is seen and by whom in your organisation. This means you can apply appropriate policies to protect sensitive data, an ever more critical issue given the need to comply with the new General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) which come into force next year.
  • If you choose not to renew your Office 365 subscription you’ll have plenty of time to remove your data.

Getting help with network security

If you need help with improving the security of your IT network; are considering migrating to Office 365, or if you already use it but want to get more out of its security features, please get in touch.  You may find it helpful to read our article on migrating to Office 365, or find out more about our Network Security Services and Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Services.

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