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1/25/2021
10:39 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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How to Better Secure Your Microsoft 365 Environment

Security experts offer Microsoft 365 security guidance as more attackers target enterprise cloud environments.
6 of 10

MFA: Not Only for Administrators 
Focusing on identity is one of the key steps to protecting Microsoft 365 environments. 
MFA is an effective way to boost account security and a must-have for all accounts with access to a Microsoft 365 tenant. It should at least be used for admin access to Microsoft 365, including access to Exchange Online and Azure AD PowerShell Management, FireEye experts write in their whitepaper.
'MFA, as we just saw, is not infallible,' says Hevesi, citing the SolarWinds attack. However, MFA, combined with user behavior analytics around identity, can be essential to detecting anomalies that indicate an attack.
Businesses using Microsoft 365 can add a setting that requires users to log in using MFA. When this option is enabled, they'll be prompted to set up MFA on their phone next time they log in. MFA is enabled when security defaults are turned on, Microsoft notes in a security blog post.
'Password spray attacks are still some of the most common and effective techniques,' a Microsoft spokesperson says, noting employees still pick passwords that are easy to predict. 'So, enabling MFA is really the number one thing you can do to protect organizations against the most common threats.'
Hevesi says a common problem with enabling MFA has been providing smartphones for employees who either don't have one, or don't want to use their personal device to access a call, text, or Authenticator-style app that could serve as the second factor. 
'It's becoming more commonplace now,' he says of MFA. But while IT and security teams say they understand the value of MFA, there remain obstacles that stand in the way of implementation.
Some attackers try to breach Microsoft 365 environments using legacy authentication protocols that haven't been disabled (SMTP, IMAP, and POP), says McWhirt. Unfortunately, he adds, businesses may not realize legacy protocols are enabled for their tenant and some resources and services may be access using a valid username and password, bypassing security controls.
(Image: M-KOS -- stock.adobe.com)

MFA: Not Only for Administrators

Focusing on identity is one of the key steps to protecting Microsoft 365 environments.

MFA is an effective way to boost account security and a must-have for all accounts with access to a Microsoft 365 tenant. It should at least be used for admin access to Microsoft 365, including access to Exchange Online and Azure AD PowerShell Management, FireEye experts write in their whitepaper.

"MFA, as we just saw, is not infallible," says Hevesi, citing the SolarWinds attack. However, MFA, combined with user behavior analytics around identity, can be essential to detecting anomalies that indicate an attack.

Businesses using Microsoft 365 can add a setting that requires users to log in using MFA. When this option is enabled, they'll be prompted to set up MFA on their phone next time they log in. MFA is enabled when security defaults are turned on, Microsoft notes in a security blog post.

"Password spray attacks are still some of the most common and effective techniques," a Microsoft spokesperson says, noting employees still pick passwords that are easy to predict. "So, enabling MFA is really the number one thing you can do to protect organizations against the most common threats."

Hevesi says a common problem with enabling MFA has been providing smartphones for employees who either don't have one, or don't want to use their personal device to access a call, text, or Authenticator-style app that could serve as the second factor.

"It's becoming more commonplace now," he says of MFA. But while IT and security teams say they understand the value of MFA, there remain obstacles that stand in the way of implementation.

Some attackers try to breach Microsoft 365 environments using legacy authentication protocols that haven't been disabled (SMTP, IMAP, and POP), says McWhirt. Unfortunately, he adds, businesses may not realize legacy protocols are enabled for their tenant and some resources and services may be access using a valid username and password, bypassing security controls.

(Image: M-KOS -- stock.adobe.com)

6 of 10
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MyrnaSoto
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MyrnaSoto,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/27/2021 | 3:13:55 PM
Apt!
Agreed -- the importance of cloud security cannot be overstated, now more so than ever! 
mspportal
100%
0%
mspportal,
User Rank: Strategist
1/25/2021 | 10:56:58 AM
Good Job Kelly
Your are correct folks need a middle man product to scan mail first

Roy
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