How does Microsoft 365 implement zero trust security?

How does Microsoft 365 implement zero trust security?

Microsoft 365 has been critical in companies' efforts to keep remote teams productive and connected during the pandemic. It not only enables colleagues to effectively collaborate with one another in real time, but it also facilitates communication on various platforms such as email, chat, and video call. Workplaces that highly rely on cloud-based data on platforms like Microsoft 365, however, should note that cyberthreats are always imminent.

That’s why it’s necessary to implement strict security measures to prevent data breaches — something that Microsoft 365 excels in. The productivity suite was designed and built around security principles, making it as secure as it is accessible. Fundamental to how Microsoft 365 protects data is the implementation of zero trust security.

What is zero trust security?

Zero trust security is a data security model that is based on the principle that companies should never trust any entity inside or outside the organization and must always verify system access requests. With this approach to security, it is assumed that every request to access data is an attempt at a breach regardless of where the request came from. Even if the request originated from a device within an authorized network, it must first be authenticated, authorized, and encrypted before being granted access.

This approach to security offers crucial protection for a rapidly evolving digital landscape, especially during an era when most businesses have adopted remote work arrangements. Implementing zero trust security is paramount to keeping people, devices, data, and apps protected wherever they are located.

Microsoft 365 and zero trust security

The old ways of protecting data are no longer enough to keep advanced threats at bay. Microsoft 365 embraces zero trust to provide intelligent security that facilitates digital transformation, keeps remote work infrastructure secure, and minimizes cyberthreat risks.

Microsoft 365 enforces zero trust security through the following principles:

Implementing zero trust security is paramount to keeping people, devices, data, and apps protected wherever they are located.

1. Explicit verification

Microsoft 365 authenticates and authorizes every request based on all available data points. This verification process goes beyond checking user identity; it also verifies the device and the location from which the request was made and what kind of data is being requested to be accessed. If the system detects an anomaly, such as a user connecting from a suspicious location, it will deny that request and logs the attempt for future reference.

2. Principle of least privilege (PoLP) implementation

PoLP limits users’ access according to their role and responsibilities, thus securing data and ensuring productivity. It is also called “just-in-time and just-enough-access” (JIT/JEA) because it gives permissions only to the apps and data a user needs in order to get their job done. This prevents cybercriminals from exploiting low-level user accounts to gain access to critical systems or sensitive data.

3. Breach assumption

Zero trust security thinks of breaches as a given. Because systems will be attacked sooner or later, it segments access according to network, user, and device to prevent lateral movement and minimize the impact of data breaches. Anticipating the occurrence of breaches also entails using analytics to drive threat detection and protecting all sessions with end-to-end encryption.

Choose Microsoft 365 with zero trust security

When you choose Microsoft 365, you gain the various security benefits of zero trust architecture, including:

  • Strong authentication across your digital estate that lets you verify and secure the identity behind every request;
  • Complete visibility into the devices accessing your network;
  • Comprehensive application management and monitoring that allows you to uncover shadow IT, ensure proper in-app permissions, and grant access based on real-time analytics;
  • Data-driven protection, which uses intelligence to classify, label, and encrypt data according to company policies;
  • Telemetry that detects anomalies and attacks and automatically blocks risky behaviour; and
  • Total network protection through internal communications encryption, microsegmentation, and real-time threat detection.

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