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Optimize Microsoft 365 For Better Security Without Spending A Dime

Microsoft Office has been around since 1990 & is here to stay. The newest product offering from Microsoft is Microsoft 365, an online suite that makes team collaboration easier.

Whether you have been a veteran user of Microsoft or this is your first experience, a cloud-based office suite will have new features to consider. Teams can now save documents in shared folders without calling the IT department or sending long chains of emails and edit documents in virtual meetings as everyone signs into the same document. The benefits of Microsoft 365 are revolutionary for teams and should be explored. 

Microsoft 365 is a great tool for team collaboration, and we highly recommend it for any sized office. Virtual teams, in-office teams, and everything in between will benefit from the vast features available in the web-based software suite. Although the software is web-based, you can still enjoy the benefits of downloading the Microsoft 365 suite directly on your computer or laptop. This suite enables you to get work done with your computer no matter where you may be.

That said, sharing or storing documents online requires care and proper security. This article will discuss a few ways to optimize Microsoft 365, some practical tips, and resources to learn more. 


Best Ways To Optimize Microsoft 365 For Users

Microsoft 365 is web-based. The main difference between this and old software forms is that user registration is not based on a product key. You may remember going to your local office supply store to purchase CDs, and those disks came with codes that you entered to verify ownership. Microsoft 365 is based on your Microsoft account, a web-based account connected to your email. This is a benefit because it allows you to use it on any device simply by logging into your Microsoft account. 
Logging into your Microsoft account on a public computer can create a risk. To keep your account safe when using these types of devices, we recommend:
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): By far, the most crucial way to protect your account is to enable Multi-Factor Authentication. This process ensures that you are the person logging into your account every time your account is accessed. That means if someone guesses your password, either by themselves or with the help of a bot, and you have a common password, you are likely at risk. You can still protect yourself without changing your password. MFA will send a code to your phone every time your account is accessed, and the person who is trying to log in will have to enter that code, even if they have the correct credentials. This protects your account and passwords. You can even download an app on your phone which automatically generates codes. These apps can be used for a variety of applications. Having all your codes in one place is very useful. It is essential to consider that a code generator is typically connected directly to your device. That means if your device is broken or stolen, there is only one way to recover those codes. This is usually a recovery sentence or a key if you use a code generator for MFA to safely store this recovery code.
  • Single Sign-On (SSO): This is a benefit of having an online account become more popular with workplace tools such as task managers. Let’s use, for example. If you want to make logging in faster, more secure, and easier for your team, use SSO. In the example, this process connects your Microsoft account to your account. This allows you to access with your Microsoft credentials, saving you from having to remember an additional password. This SSO is better for your users because they do not have to create a new account for each tool you use, saving time with onboarding.


Visit Microsoft’s Security Portal

The Microsoft Security Portal for Microsoft 365 is an excellent tool for administrators to ensure their users are protected online. Among other things, the Portal is used to prevent spam emails and misuse of company email accounts. There are a few essential things to check out when logging into your Portal:
  • Security & Compliance: This section is important because it encompasses several key features to keep your users safe. This includes Threat Management, Policy, and Anti-Spam. These features, when correctly configured, will prevent external forwarding from your email address. If not enable, that gives hackers the ability to forward your data if they gain access to your network. It does not take any IT skills to know what settings to enable and disable within the Security & Compliance section. If you are having trouble, we suggest blocking external forwarding, enable anti-spoofing protection, and adding spam emails to the filter.
  • Consider Purchasing a Higher License: The better the license, the more the features. While this is true with most software, Microsoft keeps a few vital security features behind a paywall. One of these features includes link control for your documents stored in the cloud. If you share a document with a colleague or someone outside your organization, you have complete control over their access. You can send a document for editing and then restrict the access once the editor finishes. In addition, you can run tests on file links to ensure that they are only being shared with the people in need of knowing.
  • Exchanger Center: This is an excellent resource for businesses with legitimate email forwarding that needs to be kept secure. The Exchanger Center gives access to a user that needs to use certain features. You can add external contacts to the recipient’s menu, giving them the ability to forward and other features.
Microsoft’s Security Portal gives administrators the unique ability to keep their users safe without having to log in and manually change settings on each account. In addition, administrators have the power to assign users to groups. This ensures that the correct user has the right access to sensitive features such as forwarding.

Overlooked Tips and Tricks for Microsoft 365

Several companies have emails assigned to each employee. If an employee quits or is terminated, the company wants to preserve the user’s data without risking them compromising the account. To prevent paying extra to keep the older users’ accounts active to retain access to the data, Microsoft allows for Shared Mailboxes . This feature is unique because it will enable multiple users to access the data and files of the older user. For example, suppose the sales department loses a teammate. In that case, Shared Mailboxes allow the administrator to pass the information along to the other sales departments who can split the leads. 

Another great feature that is often overlooked is Azure AD Connect. This feature allows users to connect to their local server to work on their secure Microsoft 365 files. It syncs passwords and other information the local device needs for the user to do their job. 

Finally, we suggest offering training to your employees related to Microsoft 365. This training can be simple and cover essential items like the companies policy on spam and how to identify and report spam. You can cover features discussed like Shared Mailboxes, MFA, and Azure AD Connect in more detail. Do not skip this step. It is essential to make sure your users are aware of these features to protect your companies data. 


Microsoft 365 Final Thoughts & Resources

A hacker can be scary, cost you a lot of money, and in extreme cases, cause a company to go bankrupt. It is crucial to be protected online, and your company’s data is no exception. Keeping your business data safe with Microsoft 365 is easy and takes little time to establish. If you have not taken the time to review the Security Portal, make sure you get around to it soon. It will save your company time and money in the long run and protect you from hackers. 
Remember, when checking out these features, if you are unsure of what to do, there are plenty of resources available on the internet. Microsoft Office is a massive project that has a talented team backing it. The Microsoft Office team offers documentation on a helpful website. Common problems are answered, and in most cases, the documentation is all you need to determine the solution to a problem. That said, if you are still having trouble, there are some additional resources. Email support is available to users at every subscription level, and premium users can access chat and phone support. 
If you still cannot find the answer to your problem consider downloading add-ons and additional features that are available from third-party providers. Useful tools like Grammarly, Translator, and DocuSign can be added to a Microsoft 365 account to give users added benefits when working on projects. 
If you are overwhelmed by assembling your Microsoft 365 account, please reach out to our team at Edge Networks or schedule a call with us for a free 30-minute consultation.

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