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Why your Microsoft Secure Score matters and 8 ways to improve itFor small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), managing cybersecurity can be challenging, especially with limited resources. Microsoft Secure Score offers an invaluable tool to help SMBs assess and enhance their security posture across Microsoft 365 and Azure environments. In this blog post, we’ll look at what the Microsoft Secure score is, why it’s important for your business and eight essential steps to boost your score and fortify your organization's defenses. 

 

 

What is Microsoft Secure Score? 

Microsoft Secure Score is a security analytics tool designed to help organizations measure and improve their security posture across Microsoft 365 and Azure environments. It provides a numerical summary of your current security configuration, user behavior, and other security-related metrics. The higher your score, the better your security posture. The score is derived from the implementation of recommended security controls and practices, which are categorized into 5 areas; identity, data, devices, apps, and infrastructure. 

 

Accessing your score is easy. Any administrator can access it by logging into your Microsoft 365 security center. More information can be found here.  

 

Why your score is important 

Your Microsoft Secure Score gives you a comprehensive overview of your current security standing, allowing for a proactive approach to addressing potential vulnerabilities.  

It provides visibility and guidance to enhance network protection. By creating a comprehensive inventory of all security configurations that reduce risk, assigning points to each control based on its importance and implementation in your network, it offers actionable suggestions to solidify the network and close any security gaps. 

Your score indicates how well your organization aligns with HIPAA and NIST compliance standards, as well as lets you compare their security performance with key performance indicators (KPIs) from other organizations in their industry and contrast your current state with historical benchmarks.  

 

8 ways to improve your score 

1. Strengthen Password Policies 

Passwords remain a fundamental aspect of security. Implementing robust password policies is crucial for protecting user identities and accounts. Instead of relying on complex passwords that change every 90 days, consider event-driven password changes triggered by security incidents. This approach reduces the risk of password fatigue and promotes better security hygiene. 

 

2. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is one of the most effective security measures you can deploy. It adds an extra layer of protection by requiring additional verification steps beyond just a password. Ensure that MFA is enabled for all users, especially those with administrative roles. Monitoring and enforcing MFA activation can significantly enhance your security posture. 

 

3. Secure Your Email

Email is the top attack vector for cyber threats such as phishing and ransomware. Implementing strict email security measures is essential. Address your email vulnerabilities by setting access rights carefully, monitoring mailbox activities, and preventing auto-forwarding to external addresses. These steps can help mitigate risks associated with email-based attacks. 

 

4. Monitor and Control Administrative Privileges

Restricting administrative privileges to only those who need them is critical. Overly broad admin access can lead to significant security risks. Implement granular Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) policies to ensure that admin rights are aligned with specific responsibilities and reduce the potential for internal threats. 

  

5. Prevent Data Leakage

Data leakage through external sharing can have severe consequences. Monitor and control how documents are shared via OneDrive and SharePoint. Avoid using shareable (anonymous) links and enforce internal or specific user sharing. Regularly audit sharing activities to prevent unauthorized data access. 

  

6. Optimize Configuration Management

Misconfigurations are a common source of security breaches. Regularly review and update your security configurations to align with best practices. Use tools to monitor and enforce compliance with security policies, ensuring that all configurations are optimized to prevent vulnerabilities. 

  

7. Educate and Train Users by Promoting Security Awareness 

User behavior plays a significant role in maintaining security. Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees about security best practices, the importance of strong passwords, recognizing phishing attempts, and the proper use of MFA. An informed workforce is a key asset in your security strategy. 

 

8. Regularly Review and Update Your Security Posture

Security is not a one-time task but an ongoing process and continuous improvement. Regularly review your Microsoft Secure Score, track your progress, and implement new recommendations as they become available. Staying proactive and adaptive to new threats will help maintain a robust security posture. 

 

Security parameters and standards are constantly evolving. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to plan a Microsoft Secure Score improvement project at least once a year. 

 

Conclusion 

Enhancing your Microsoft Secure Score is an essential step in protecting your SMB from evolving cyber threats. By understanding and implementing these eight key strategies, you can significantly improve your security posture, safeguard your data, and ensure the resilience of your business operations. If you need assistance in boosting your Microsoft Secure Score, consider partnering with a trusted IT provider to help navigate and implement these security measures effectively. 

 

Want help accessing or improving your Microsoft Secure Score? 

Contact Present to learn more about your Microsoft Secure Score and how we can help you stay protected. Our expert team is ready can help guide you through each step, ensuring your business stays protected and compliant.

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