3 Steps to raise the Microsoft Secure Score

What is the Office 365 Secure Score?

The Office 365 Secure Score – now renamed the “Microsoft Secure Score” is an analytics measurement tool that provides valuable indicators of overall security strength across Microsoft Cloud products. This number is presented on a comprehensive dashboard allowing an organization to “monitor and improve the security of their Microsoft 365 identities, data, apps, devices, and infrastructure.”

Why does it matter?

“A chain is no stronger than its weakest link” – Thomas Reid

Cyber threats are becoming more advanced, more targeted, and proliferating at a rapid pace. Cyber Security needs serious consideration the same way a business would protect themselves with liability insurance. With the shift of technology to the cloud and adoption of different productivity applications having a bird’s eye view of security metrics increases and organizations ability to improve their security posture.

Who should be concerned?

Everyone! When an organization has well-trained employees and leadership who invest in Cyber Security, the IT professionals or external service providers will be able to give effective security measures with greater success. Typically, System Administrators, Cyber Security Analysts, or Managed Solutions Providers (MSP) will take the responsibility of being hands-on with monitoring and improving the Microsoft Secure Score.

When should you seek guidance?

Knowing the core competencies and skill sets of dedicated IT employees will keep the business aware of skill gaps that may need support. Or if you work with a Managed Services Provider or Security Consultant, they should be validated for having Cyber Security certifications that show their ability and experience. As a Microsoft Cloud customer, you should look for people or service providers certified by Microsoft as well as competent in Cyber Security and Compliance.

Where to find the Secure Score?

From the Office 365 Admin Portal – you drop into the Security Admin Center and your organizations Secure Score will be displayed in the dashboard. Take some time to drill into the Secure Score and see the various indicators, status, and recommendations. The Microsoft Secure Score can be accessed by people assigned any of the following roles: (Global Administrator, Security Administrator, Security Reader, or Global Reader).

What 3 steps can you take to raise your Microsoft Secure Score?

After you review the current status of the score, you will see recommendations provided that will make an immediate impact to the organizations security and increase the score.

For those who are only starting out with improving the overall security of your Microsoft Tenant, we always look at the following for improving the baseline.

#1 Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Administrators

All user accounts with assigned administrator roles should at least have MFA enabled to protect their accounts in the event the account credentials are ever compromised. Ultimately enabling MFA for all users needs to become the minimal standard due to proliferating phishing attacks and credential leaks.

2# Enforce a Password Expiration Policy

Requiring users to change their passwords at a set amount of days is critical in preventing leaked credentials from being used to attempt access to Office 365, but also to other 3rd party systems you have. Unfortunately, it is well-known by attackers that most people will commonly reuse the same password for many systems. This increases risk across applications or systems unprotected by Microsoft Identity Management system.

3# Enable Cloud App Security and review all 3rd party apps with permissions or Single-Sing On capability with the Office 365 tenant.

As noted in #2, 3rd party systems can pose serious risk to an organization if not protected equally. Fortunately, Microsoft provides various integrations and tools to help secure these 3rd party solutions and the identities of your employees. Azure Active Directory can be enabled to provide monitoring, logging, alerting, and remediation tools that can help protect your employees, and safeguard sensitive data and information.

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