Final blog for Cybersecurity Series

Microsoft 365 Security Hardening for Reduced Attack Surface

Yeah, It’s finally October 31st! We have finally arrived at the much-awaited, fully celebrated Halloween day! 🎃 Now that the leaves are turning vibrant autumn tints, the temperatures are dropping, and people are pulling out their jackets and sweaters, it’s time to spruce up your porch and ward off all the evils lurking around. 

Although we may have heard numerous reasons and stories for Halloween’s origins, the most widely understood one is that it is celebrated for the stoppage of ghosts returning. 

Also, during October, we celebrate CYBERSECURITY MONTH, a month dedicated to preventing, eliminating, destroying, and warding off potential cyber threats facing our modern work environment. 

So, we brought in the concept of Office 365 security practices to enhance your Office 365 security. 🛡️ 

Already most organizations have started to celebrate the Halloween party by blowing out the basic authentication deprecation. Have you all started your celebration? Hopefully, you all would have implemented all the Office 365 security solutions we covered in our blog series.  

What Did We Impact Among Organizations? 

What have we done before? Is this question running through your mind? Let me answer it! We have created a massive awareness about the newly released grant control in conditional access policies. This eventually helped thousands of organizations to deploy this unnoticed technique and combat MFA Fatigue attacks. 

Use Phishing-Resistant MFA to Implement Stronger MFA Authentication:

Multiple-case implementation in CA policies is now possible! Specifically disabling weaker MFA authentication methods like SMS and categorizing MFA authentication methods based on the user category.  

Microsoft has categorized three different authentication modes under grant control. They are,   

  1. Basic multi-factor authentication.   
  2. Passwordless multi-factor authentication.   
  3. Phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication. 
  4. Custom multi-factor authentication. 

Aside from intimidating organizations about the release, we also provided a tight security hardening guideline that helps to defend users from various MFA attacks. 

Steps to implement the phishing-resistant MFA in Microsoft 365.

Following the announcement of these hidden MFA security settings, many organizations came to know about this helpful MFA security feature. Now, it’s your time! ⏳If you have not enabled this before in your organizations, put your hands on it now and get rid of the MFA fatigue attacks & more MFA attacks.    

Most Recognized and Underrated Microsoft 365 Security Practices: 

Why did we start this cybersecurity series? Our main motto behind this series is to help Office 365 admins & users defend themselves against various suspicious and threatening attacks. With that, we’ve picked up many Office 365 security features that are hidden, taken for granted, or left uncared for and presented those Office 365 remediation strategies among organizations.  

From the selectively picked ones, a few got noticed by many Office 365 administrators. Here are some of the best Microsoft 365 security measures, so my fellow admins can benefit from them. 

1. Restrict User Access to Azure AD Portal:  

💢Are you aware that users can access the Azure AD portal to some extent? Even though having permission may seem like a minimal threat, it’s not what it seems! Hackers can gain all details through any unprivileged user in the organization without much effort. Seems too hazardous, right? So, it is of utmost importance to restrict user access to the Azure AD portal to prevent data exposure. 

2. Office 365 Offboarding Best Practices: 

In most organizations, new employees are onboarded extensively to ensure they have access to all resources they need. However, this same level of care is lacking when employees are offboarded. And this results in the organization’s confidential data loss, wastage of licenses, etc. Therefore, offboarding employees in Office 365 should be treated more carefully than onboarding employees.   

Have you ever thought about this? Don’t panic, if you haven’t! Follow the steps as suggested in this article and retain former employees’ data and protect your company from data leakage – Office 365 Offboarding Best Practices.  

In response to followers’ requests, we plan to integrate all these PowerShell script solutions into one fully automated tool. Wait for the update, will get it ASAP! 🚀  

3. Onboard Strong Authentication Methods with Temporary Access Pass:  

Think of a passwordless universe for a minute. Done! Doesn’t that sound like a better world without passwords and compromises? But is there any way to make it happen? Yes, we do!  

This is totally possible with the Temporary access pass – the game changer! TAP is an MFA security feature, used to onboard strong authentication methods from the scratch, even without registering users for passwords. Discover how you can implement TAP from scratch for a new user here –   

Enable Passwordless Authentication with Temporary Access Pass: Gateway to Passwordless Future.  

And still a lot more Office 365 security hardening guidelines have been included. Get a close look at all the Office 365 security settings suggested by DROIDIANS in a detailed and exhaustive manner here.  

Essential Microsoft 365 security best practices checklist to stay alerted and secure. 

A Complete Overall Quick Lookback: 

Most of the Office 365 Remediation strategies suggested in this series fall under 3 categories. They are: 

  1. Configure Once and Benefit for the rest – The security features described under this category are highly beneficial. You can just configure it once and get the advantage for the rest. 
  1. Weekly monitoring for better performance – Here we’ve listed the audit reports that have to be kept track of on a daily or weekly basis to ensure and prevent zero-day attacks. 
  1. Streamline a process and have seamless performance – This section contains the security steps & processes that need to be adopted. 

Configure Once and Benefit for the rest: 

  1. Restrict Access to Azure AD administration portal. 
  1. Block auto-forwarding to external domain. 
  1. Configure custom banned passwords for Azure AD password protection. 
  1. Glass Break Accounts for emergency login situations. 
  1. Limit External Sharing in SharePoint Online. 
  1. Enable Phishing-Resistant MFA to Implement Stronger MFA Authentication. 
  1. SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to prevent spoofing. 
  1. External Email Tagging in Outlook. 
  1. Manage Priority Accounts in Office 365. 
  1. Prohibit Unmanaged Devices Accessing SharePoint and OneDrive. 
  1. Least Privilege Access. 
  1. Office 365 strong password policy. 
  1. Microsoft 365 Company Branding. 
  1. Continuous access evaluation in Azure AD. 
  1. Configuring Teams Meeting Security. 
  1. Idle Session Timeout. 
  1. End – to – End Encryption for MS Teams Calls. 
  1. SharePoint and OneDrive Integration with Azure AD B2B. 

Weekly monitoring for better performance: 

  1. Review App Permissions & Consents in Microsoft 365. 
  1. Manage User Consent to Applications in Microsoft 365. 
  1. Monitoring Azure AD Sign-in Logs and Risky Sign-In Activities. 
  1. Microsoft 365 Alerting. 
  1. Unified Audit Log: A Guide to Track Office 365 Activities. 
  1. Boost up security with Microsoft Secure Score. 
  1. Monitor Mailflow status reports to secure Office 365. 

Streamline a process and have seamless performance: 

  1. Office 365 Offboarding Best Practices. 
  1. Respond to Microsoft 365 compromised accounts. 
  1. Microsoft 365 Forensic Investigation. 
  1. Use Free Office 365 Test Tenant to Test New Features and Scripts. 
  1. Temporary Access Pass in Azure AD. 

Now, I hope you all are aware of what needs to be noted and what measures you should take to combat the rising cyber threats in Office 365. 

Finally, as we are now on October 31st, the CYBER SECURITY SERIES come to an end.   

The risks are never zero but you can minimize them

Yes, that’s true! As we cannot completely eliminate the risks posed by our Office 365, it is always possible and easy to create a firewall that stops all threatening behaviors against your Office 365 organization.  

With that, I hope we have assisted you in deploying the necessary security practices within your Office 365 environment.   

Have you rescued all the blockages? If not so, do not delay, get it right now and ensure the security of your Office 365 network! 

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and it boils down to this:  

In cybersecurity, the more systems we secure, the more secure we all are. 

-Jeh Johnson 

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Microsoft 365 Security Hardening for Reduced Attack Surface

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