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How Microsoft Incorporates Security in Remote Working

How Microsoft Incorporates Security in Remote Working

February 25, 2020 | 5 minute read

  • The solutions Microsoft uses to ensure security in remote working

  • The four key areas of remote working security

One of the biggest consequences of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is many businesses abruptly being forced to close their doors, without any preparation for their employees to work from home. While the pandemic will not last forever, there are indications that businesses will remain flexible allowing employees to continue working remotely.

According to a survey by Analysis Mason, 76% of SMBs in the United States are planning to adapt their business and enable remote work environments for their workforce for the long term*. There could be many benefits to continue this trend, for example reducing office space rent or overhead costs in general.

One concern many businesses face when enforcing a remote work policy is security risks when employees are using personal devices or when businesses are using solutions with minimal security. Every business wants to eliminate any risk of someone (accidentally) sharing sensitive information.

Why don’t we find out how tech giant Microsoft goes about remote working itself? Microsoft constantly explores new technology and processes to help ensure it has the most secure environment itself**: “Like many large enterprises, we need to ensure that we are implementing security controls that keep pace with the significant increase we’re seeing in mobile data usage, cloud adoption, digitization, and Bring Your Own Devices (BYODs).”

How Microsoft Incorporates Security in Remote Working

So, how does Microsoft ensure a secure remote workplace? An important tool is Microsoft 365 (previously Office 365), their own solution of integrated and intelligent components that includes popular Office apps, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. The solution is used in the following four areas:

  • Identity Protection

Industry analysts indicate that 90% of security breaches start from a successful phishing campaign. In addition, the high number of passwords required for daily Internet usage results in 24% of password reuse—meaning that one compromised password can provide access to multiple resources, says Microsoft.*** The company incorporates single sign-on, two-factor authentication (using two factors to sign in, such as a password and an SMS-code) and conditional access (based on device health or location) to ensure identity protection.

  • Information Protection

Microsoft utilizes Office 365 Data Loss Protection to give insight into the types of content that are stored, where each data item resides, and how people use and share the data. For example, when sensitive information is being transmitted via insecure email attachments, this is detected. The affected department can immediately be made aware to make the required changes. 

Additionally, Microsoft uses Azure Information Protection (featured in the Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium plan) to classify and label employee data. The solution visually reminds employees to label and protect each document and can automatically classify sensitive information and recommend appropriate labels based on the types of data being entered.

  • Threat Protection

Microsoft employs Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) for preventative and post-breach protection. The great thing about Windows Defender ATP is that it uses machine learning to learn, grow and adapt, enabling a more proactive threat response.

For phishing and other e-mail-based malware protection, Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is used. Phishing is an act in which a hacker requests sensitive information (such as usernames, passwords, or credit card details) while posing as a trustworthy entity, which an employee inadvertently reveals. Office 365 ATP allows businesses to qualify the severity of a particular malware and act accordingly.

Windows Defender ATP and Office 365 ATP work in synergy, which allows an IT team to move seamlessly back and forth between them during investigations.

 

  • Security Management

How do you maintain complete security awareness when utilizing different security products? Microsoft Graph Security API provides a common interface for all Microsoft 365 products and offers a single integration point and fabric for any technology in Microsoft 365 and for any third-party tool that supports the Microsoft Graph API. Furthermore, the Security API helps merging organizational context with alert data, enabling the IT team to quickly ascertain the relative risk of the attack in relation to the role of the targeted person

Is your business at risk?

If you’re in charge of the cybersecurity of a small- or medium-sized business, you might think: “My business doesn’t run as much risk of cyber threats like Microsoft or another large company does.” While this explanation might seem logical, a research commissioned by Microsoft reports that 50% of small businesses are attacked in some way every year with an average cost of a $149,000.****

Microsoft 365: an all-in-one solution

With businesses nowadays navigating a rapid digital transformation, Microsoft 365 offers an all in-one solution for collaboration and communication that enables secure remote work. One subscription that includes videoconferencing, chat, online storage, remote desktop access, security, identity, and mobile device management can help you reduce administrative cost.

Of course, the complexity and intensity for IT security systems might be different for any business, and this has an impact on the cost. Fortunately, security is built-in to every subscription.

Advanced security is offered with Microsoft 365 Business Premium, including:

  • Secure access, identity and password protection

  • Management and protection for desktop and mobile devices

  • Protection from data loss and cyberthreats


In total, there are four Microsoft 365 business subscriptions you can choose from. These are:

Microsoft 365 Business Basic

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Apps (only apps)

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You can view the available options that Microsoft 365 has to offer by visiting our Store. If you are unsure which Microsoft 365 plan offers the best selection of tools and security for your business needs, contact us!

About Inova Solutions

Inova Solutions is the Microsoft trusted provider of cloud services in the Caribbean, with an outstanding Gold Partnership. Its mission is to “Empower organizations of all sizes to create business advantage by adopting digital transformation”. Inova Solutions' focus is to help organizations ensure business continuity by embracing the smart use of technology. The main priority is to establish the ultimate customer experience driving transformational change.

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