Businesses have become increasingly reliant on cloud-based solutions like Microsoft 365 (MS365). However, its built-in security features might not be enough to protect against the more sophisticated cyberattacks we see today. That’s why it’s important to understand the limitations of M365 security and to explore additional layers of protection to safeguard your sensitive data.

Understanding M365 Security and Its Limitations

Although M365 offers a comprehensive set of tools such as access controls, threat intelligence, and encryption, there are still vulnerabilities in its security framework. Overall, M365 mainly focuses on external threats, such as malware and phishing attacks and while these are all major risks, businesses must also take into consideration internal threats, such as accidental data leaks, employee negligence, or intentional data exfiltration.

Plus, as cyber threats become more sophisticated, businesses must supplement M365 security with an additional layer of protection. This can be done with DLP (Data Loss Prevention) solutions. But before we move on to that, let’s look at M365 key security features:

  • Access controls – Access controls help businesses manage user permissions and limit access to sensitive data. However, as these controls focus mainly on user authentication and authorisation, they might not effectively prevent data loss in situations such as insider threats or compromised accounts.
  • Encryption – Within M365, encryption mechanisms protect data at rest or in transit. Although this encryption offers a certain level of protection, it doesn’t specifically tackle the risks associated with data leakage or unauthorised access within the M365 environment.
  • Threat intelligence – Threat intelligence uses advanced algorithms and machine learning capabilities to detect malicious activities and possible security breaches. However, this reactive approach might not be enough to combat emerging and zero-day threats effectively.

While M365 provides basic security features, you can fill in the missing gaps by implementing DLP solutions.

The benefits of Implementing DLP Solutions in M365

DLP solutions don’t just protect against data breaches, they also address insider threats by monitoring user behaviour, mitigating risks associated with data leaks or malicious actions by employees. With the ability to enforce policies that restrict the transmission of confidential information, such as credit card numbers or personally identifiable information (PII), businesses can significantly reduce the risk of data loss incidents and potential reputational damage.

Plus, DLP solutions help organisations achieve compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI-DSS by enforcing policies that align with these regulations.

By limiting and blocking unauthorised data sharing, DLP solutions also protect intellectual property. This helps businesses maintain a tighter control over data access, reducing further security risks.

Integrating DLP Solutions with M365

Integrating Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions into your M365 security strategy requires careful planning and execution. But we’re here to simplify it all with 4 key steps.

  • Identify your data protection needs. Determine the types of sensitive data your business handles, identify the data at risk and the potential impact of a data breach. This will help you define appropriate DLP policies and configure the solution to meet your specific needs.
  • Create custom DLP policies that align with your business’ security goals and regulatory compliance requirements. Tailor these policies to balance security and productivity, ensuring that employees can work efficiently while also maintaining data integrity.
  • Choose a DLP solution that integrates seamlessly with M365 and gives the desired functionality for your business. Consider solutions from reputable providers such Darktrace and Egress and configure the DLP solution to scan and monitor data in transit, at rest, and in use within your M365 environment. You can also set up alerts and notifications to promptly identify and respond to potential data breaches or policy violations.
  • The last, but often overlooked part of successful DLP implementation is employee awareness training. Educate your workforce on the importance of data protection, the risks associated with data breaches, and how they can help maintain a secure environment.

By following these steps and continually monitoring and fine-tuning your DLP solution, you can strengthen your M365 security posture, enhance data protection, and mitigate the risks of data breaches or accidental data leaks.

These days, data breaches and security threats are everywhere. To keep your business running smoothly, it’s important to prioritise the protection of sensitive information and you can do exactly this by integrating our DLP solutions with your M365 security.

DLP solutions offer a proactive approach to data protection, complementing the existing security features of M365 and providing comprehensive safeguards. Take the necessary steps to strengthen your MS365 security and get in touch with our team of cyber security experts to find out more.