If the information age has taught us anything, it has taught us that managing security risks in an enterprise is, and must be, a priority. A security breach can happen anytime and come from any direction. Best practice states that preventing a security problem by proactively managing the risk is preferable to actively reacting to a security breach when it happens. But proactively managing the multitude of security signals produced within an enterprise is just not that simple. IT administrators need some solid tools.
Microsoft is trying to do its part by offering new proactive security capabilities and features to Office 365. These new tools are designed to work proactively by taking advantage of machine learning and the intelligent cloud.
On February 10, 2017, Microsoft announced several new security features for Office 365. The new features will help admins manage risk and includes:
- Office 365 Secure Score—A new security analytics tool that applies a score to Office 365 customers' current Office 365 security configuration.
- Office 365 Threat Intelligence Private Preview—Service that leverages billions of data points from the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph to provide actionable insights to the global threat landscape and help customers stay ahead of cyber threats. Office 365 Threat Intelligence is now in private preview, with general availability planned for later this quarter.
- Office 365 Advanced Data Governance Preview—Applies machine learning to help customers find and retain the data that's most important to them while eliminating redundant, obsolete, and trivial data that could cause risk if compromised. Office 365 Advanced Data Governance is now in preview, with general availability planned for later this quarter.
As a subscriber to Office 365, I decided to check my Secure Score by visiting securescore.office.com and logging in. Since I am the only person using Office 365 under my account, and I have never strayed beyond the default configuration, I anticipated a low score. However, I did not expect to see such a dismal score of 17 out of a potential 273. Obviously, I have some work to do.
But the more interesting data point on the Secure Score dashboard was the revelation that the average score of all Office 365 installations was only 20 out of 273. Such a low average is more than a little bit disturbing. Is it any wonder enterprises are battling security breaches on such a regular basis—they (and yours truly) are operating with the doors and windows unlocked and opened.
Every enterprise, big or small, is susceptible to security breaches. It is just part of the "business as usual" landscape. But IT professionals and admins can take proactive steps to manage and mitigate the risk. There are security management tools available in Microsoft Office 365, but for the most part, they are seemingly being ignored.
This needs to change. If your enterprise uses Office 365, have your admin check your Secure Score at securescore.office.com. If your score is too low, which it likely is, take a look at the Office 365 security measures that the dashboard suggests you activate. Some are as simple as checking a box or moving a slider. You could save yourself and your organization some serious headaches in the future.
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What is your Secure Score? Is your enterprise as protected as it should be? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.