In 2019, Caribbean businesses need to worry about an encroaching threat: the threat of outsiders hacking into their company systems. Malicious attackers are constantly attempting to break into businesses and access their secured data, and business owners need to be conscientious of these threats. Data security has blossomed into a complex organism, dealing with an ever-increasing number of threats to a company’s data, devices and network infrastructure.
With over 1.2 billion Microsoft Office users worldwide, Microsoft has taken steps to create a comprehensive, holistic security infrastructure, which helps address growing concerns over the increasing breadth of security issues challenging companies. Much of this relies upon the Office 365 solution and the Microsoft ecosystem.
Microsoft’s 6 Pillars of Security form the basis of Microsoft’s philosophy. They are a list of security priorities that are able to work in tandem to create an integrated security system, facilitating safe and seamlessly employee collaboration and productivity.
Integration and rapid response
Office 365 provides an entire suite of applications designed to work together, from Microsoft’s project management platforms to mainstays like Office, Excel and PowerPoint. Integration is critical to being able to ensure security, as it makes it easier for a security team to quickly respond to threats. With many security threats, the rapidity of the response is directly correlated to the amount of damage done.
Security controls over an ever-growing number of endpoints
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are only part of the problem: there are also a number of “Internet of Things” devices now connected to the modern network. With new endpoints being constantly added to a network, a security system has to be able to grow and adapt in a scalable way. Endpoints need to also have their own innate security to be as reliable as possible, as well as being frequently updated.
Office 365 provides application-driven and identity-driven security, which is designed to protect an organization’s data even when that data is accessed through different and potentially unsecured platforms. This allows an organization to leverage the power of mobile devices without exposing itself substantially to the risks.
Speed and agility of threat actors
Security teams in an organization must be empowered with the information and the tools that they need to react swiftly to potential threats. If your security team doesn’t have disaster management and security breach protocols, they may not be able to identify security risks or react to them before they cause damage. It must always be clear who is responsible and accountable for security and what measures should be taken if a security breach is detected. It is better to respond to a security breach with a greater than necessary response than it is to let a security breach slide.
Moving to the cloud securely
A transition to the cloud is no longer an option for most companies. Cloud-based services have become industry standard, yet the exposure and accessibility of the cloud can also lend it to certain security concerns. If your organization is to transition to the cloud securely, it will often need the help of a partner. Microsoft partners are able to transition businesses to cloud-based solutions such as Office 365 without the worry of potential security issues.
Risks of shadow IT
Many employees feel confident performing “shadow IT”: finding solutions to their own problems with apps and devices. Unfortunately, this can also add risk to the network. Employees only feel the need to use additional third-party apps if their current applications aren’t providing the tools that they need. Finding the right tools for them can help. Office 365 is a fully featured tool, with the goal of giving employees everything they need so they don’t need to seek out other solutions.
Balancing end-to-end data protection with productivity
Unfortunately, many security tools actively hinder productivity, whether they consume system resources or just interfere with employee actions. Cloud-based utilities have the advantage of providing end-to-end data protection reinforced by cloud resources. The more seamless a security solution is, the less likely it is to provide a hindrance to employees. Office 365 has been built from the ground up with security in mind and is consequently able to provide this type of security and productivity blend.
As a holistic security view, it’s important to see how these pillars interact and support each other. End-to-end data protection has to be integrated into the system as a whole, but it cannot interfere with productivity. Cloud-based solutions may enhance network protection, but cloud-based solutions must also be secured. Throughout, there are the risks of shadow and self-service IT.
By taking an in-depth look at the Microsoft pillars of security, as well as issues of data protection, regulation and compliance, you can reduce your organization’s risk of security breach. Microsoft Office 365 works as a complete, connected system, providing network and application security and unified authentication solutions. Through Office 365, organizations can gain the best in collaboration and productivity solutions, while not sacrificing their security or compliance.