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Office Protect is Sherweb’s in-house Microsoft 365 add-on designed to increase security risk assessment capabilities and baseline cybersecurity. It provides recommendations for best practice security settings as well as threat prevention, monitoring and reporting. In the most basic of terms, Office Protect helps organizations add an extra layer of defense against malicious attacks and unintentional breaches—it’s a single destination for keeping Microsoft 365 tenants safe in the cloud.

Need a full review of your clients’ security? Try our Security Foundation Assessment—it’s free!

Office Protect improves baseline Microsoft 365 security for clients

Why do Microsoft 365 tenants need more security?

Microsoft 365 is one of the most popular productivity suites for business, with at least 180 million monthly active users. Beyond that, Windows 10 is installed on more than one billion devices around the world. Because of this intense popularity, Microsoft products and solutions can be big targets for malicious attacks and other cybersecurity breaches. Here are some numbers to think about:

  • 45% of malware is delivered via Office attachments (.doc, .xls, .ppt, etc.) (Verizon, 2019)
  • 70% of cyber attacks in Q4 2018 targeted Microsoft Office products (Kaspersky Labs, 2019)
  • 250% increase in inbound emails that were phishing attempts 2018-2019 (Microsoft, 2019)

This is where Office Protect and vulnerability assessments come into play

Spinning up a tenant in Microsoft 365 is quick and easy. With so much happening as you progress through tenant creation, it can be easy to forget just how much configuration needs to be done in order to make sure things work efficiently and that they’re secure as well. Office Protect simplifies this entire process by centralizing Microsoft 365 security management for all your tenants, ultimately helping make them safer. Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits of Office Protect:

  • Best practice security settings: Using Office Protect means you don’t have to put in extra time researching and compiling a list of security settings and functions to watch out for and manage; you get recommended configurations right from the start.
  • Easy access to hard-to-reach controls: As with any large, complex platform like Microsoft 365, some functions can be placed deep within the solution interface or made available only via advanced skill sets—deploying PowerShell scripts, for example. Office Protect lets you configure and execute Microsoft 365 security management with minimal effort on your part.
  • Customized monitoring and alerts: Being informed of threats to address is key when it comes to keeping Microsoft 365 tenants safe. Office Protect makes detecting security issues and vulnerabilities quick and efficient, with clear visibility on suspicious behaviors and customizable options for what alerts you want and how often you want to be notified.
  • Threat mitigation: You need a plan for handling both malicious attacks and unintentional security breaches caused by internal users. Office Protect makes managing human error much more straightforward by allowing easy setup of solutions like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and flagging suspicious emails using company names and addresses.
  • Thorough reporting: Office Protect provides a user-friendly activity dashboard and automated reports for clients, easily delivered via export-ready files, like .CSV or .PDF. This way, you never miss an alert or incident notification.

I just activated my tenant—now what?

So you understand the theoretical benefits of Office Protect, but now you need to put them in action. The first step is running a vulnerability assessment for your tenants. After that, it’s time to put in work educating your Microsoft 365 tenants about what security settings and functions they should be using, why they should be using them and how to protect themselves against common security pitfalls caused by human error.

Step 1: Do a complete vulnerability assessment and prioritize action items

Review all the vulnerabilities that Office Protect has flagged for the tenant. Take note of any solutions, apps and people that these vulnerabilities involve or connect with. Some will apply to all users, some only to certain groups, and some to high-level targets such as C-Level executives or admins. Prioritize each vulnerability in terms of impact, importance, threat level or other metrics you think are important. This will help you focus on areas where clients need the most security help and reduce the overall security risk of your Microsoft 365 tenants.

Step 2: Formulate a strategy for addressing action items

Once you’ve refined your list of priority security vulnerabilities and properly placed them in context, your next step is to device a plan to address them. If each item wasn’t given a distinct priority during the general assessment process, this should definitely happen when you formulate your subsequent security strategy or roadmap. Whatever plan or policies you devise, make sure they’re well-documented so that you can replicate them in the future!

Step 3: Communicate your security plan with your clients

Always keeping your clients in the loop about their security situation will help build trust and position your business as a trusted IT advisor. Start the security conversation with clients early on, and return to it on a regular basis. Make sure to demonstrate the risks involved, how you plan to monitor them and what actions you’ll take to mitigate them. You may need to educate and train users on new processes; this best done through collaboration and open communication. By working with your clients to explain why cybersecurity measures are necessary, you can avoid upsetting users by disrupting their daily interactions with Microsoft 365 or other tools they use. You can also discourage implementation of any pesky workarounds users might use to dodge checks and balances enforced by your security efforts.

Step 4: Look beyond Microsoft 365 to your clients’ entire environment

Microsoft 365 tenants often have a wide range of connecting points to other SaaS services such as Salesforce, Dropbox, G Suite, the list goes on and on. How do you plan to secure these areas of your clients’ business? There are plenty of other factors to consider with regards to cybersecurity, domain registry services for example. Point being: don’t end security conversations or vulnerability assessments with Microsoft 365 alone. You can go further!

Full Office Protect walkthrough

Want more information about Office Protect and how it protects your clients? Watch the video below for a full walkthrough with Sherweb’s Director of Product Innovation, Guillaume Boisvert.

Work with a partner dedicated to keeping your clients safe

Selling security services might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be scary! Cybersecurity solutions are a great way to show your value for clients. With Sherweb, you get an expert cloud and security solutions partner committed to your success. We offer everything your business needs to grow, from leading products to pre-sales strategy to technical support. Become a Sherweb partner today to get started on your journey to reaching your full cloud potential.

Written by Taylor Poelman Marketing Communications Specialist @ Sherweb

Taylor produces content that’s useful, informative and enjoyable for readers. Her past professional experience includes copywriting for both B2B and B2C markets in a variety of sectors, as well as managing marketing communications for advocacy, social media and event planning activities. When she’s not writing captivating copy, you can find Taylor reading, snacking or practicing her golf swing.