Security Posture Management: Everything you need to know about protecting your Microsoft 365 environment

Written by: Rob Smith

Cyber security is high on the agenda for most organisations. With cyberattacks increasing in frequency, complexity and reach, and hybrid working models complicating the IT environment, it’s important for businesses to be proactive about protecting their systems. For organisations using Microsoft 365, Security Posture Management (SPM) is an important first step in taking back control of security and feeling confident that your business is protected on all fronts…

What is Security Posture Management?

Security Posture Management is a service that’s designed to monitor a business’ security posture against defined best practices and known security risks, and to give businesses a consolidated overview of their real-time vulnerabilities. It works as an overlay to the Microsoft 365 environment (and any SaaS applications that authenticate back to Azure AD), proactively identifying and flagging any potentially risky misconfigurations and compliance holes and giving businesses the confidence that they are protected against attack.

Why does SPM work with Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 has been a lifeline for many businesses over the past couple of years, keeping teams connected and communicating through the COVID pandemic. The number of UK businesses using Microsoft 365 rocketed to 211,000 by the midpoint of 2022, with the out-of-the-box solution proving a popular choice as hybrid working models have become the norm.
However, the Microsoft 365 environment is complicated, and it can be difficult to keep your business protected while using it. In a security test across organisations using M365, 70% of them were found to be compromised and unaware of it.

Why are Microsoft 365 users particularly vulnerable?

An issue with the Microsoft 365 Suite is that a lot of features come with default settings, unless there are additional configurations made across the many Apps and Features, organisations are at risk of Threat Actors exploiting default configurations, or worse, misconfigurations. Misconfigurations can create security blind spots, exposing valuable corporate data to outside threats, and the complexity of services means there is little to no oversight of the risks for managers.
The vulnerabilities introduced by an inappropriately configured Microsoft 365 environment are so widespread that the average Microsoft 365 security score for organisations tested in 2022 was less than 30%.

What’s a Secure Score?

Secure Score is Microsoft’s way of measuring the security posture of an organisation’s IT environment based on things like system configurations and user behaviour. Organisations are given a percentage score for their security posture, with a low score representing poor posture (ie. insecure) and a higher percentage representing good security posture. Your ideal Secure Score varies depending on your type of business. Generally, scores above 70% are considered good, but businesses that store sensitive or personal data should aim higher.

What are the business benefits of Security Posture Management?

There are lots of business benefits to having good SPM:

  • Reduce cyber security incidents: Research by Gartner has found that Security Posture Management can reduce cyber security incidents caused by misconfigurations by a massive 80%.
  • Consolidated view: Hybrid working has undoubtedly complicated the IT environment for businesses. With so many more devices accessing networks from multiple and disparate locations, it can be difficult for IT teams to gain a clear picture of where all the risks, threats and vulnerabilities lie. And it’s almost impossible to protect what you can’t see. A good Security Posture Management service gives businesses a clearer overview of the environment, consolidating data about security risks and misconfigurations into one, easy-to-use interface, while providing real-time alerts and fixes to reduce the risk of attack. The knock-on effect of this reduction in services complexity is that businesses can start to manage overheads rather than managing risk.
  • Proactive protection against cyberattacks: Attacks are appearing and emerging on a near-daily basis. Few businesses have the human or budgetary resources to keep abreast of all the latest phishing and malware attacks, and SPM takes care of this for you.
  • Cyber insurance and compliance: one of the core controls in ISO 27001 / 02 is the ability to gather and utilise threat intelligence to improve your security posture. Good SPM solutions have this built in and can also help reduce cyber security premiums, saving money in the long run.

What are the main risks within 365?

Recent research suggests 95% of all cyber risks come from just two types of threat: phishing and ransomware. These attacks are generally delivered by email and have the potential to bring networks and systems down and cause financial and reputational damage through the theft of valuable corporate data.
Any compromise of your Microsoft 365 email system caused by misconfiguration is not only damaging to your business, it also has potential compliance and legal ramifications. All data breaches must be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office within 72 hours under GDPR legislation and could result in hefty financial and/or legal penalties.
But despite the potential consequences – the average cost of a data breach rose to a staggering $4.35 million in 2022 – many businesses are still choosing to react to attacks rather than proactively preventing them.
The UK Information Commissioner says, ‘The biggest cyber risk businesses face is not from hackers outside of their company, but from complacency within their company.’

Strengthen your security posture with M247 and Solace Cyber

Our Security Posture Management service helps your business take proactive control of cyber security, giving you complete confidence that all your Microsoft 365 teams and systems are protected. We’ll help you understand your current risk level, find out your Secure Score, and then ensure the right security measures are implemented to plug any vulnerabilities and rectify misconfigurations.
Our Microsoft-certified experts carry out a thorough assessment of the 365 environment, forensically auditing everything from mail flow rules and spam to any external vulnerabilities, before designing a solution that meets the specific needs of your business.
In partnership with Solace Cyber, a leader in managed cyber security, we provide a solution that integrates seamlessly with all M365 and Azure alerts to give businesses real confidence in their security posture. And with an intuitive, real-time risk dashboard, we’ve made it easy to see where those risks are coming from, and where they’re being thwarted.

M247’s Security Posture Management service includes:

  • ‘M365 Health Check’ to assess your current state of play
  • ‘M365 Service Hardening’ to improve your overall security posture
  • Access to the ‘Solace Cyber Realtime Risk Platform’ for visibility of cloud security events
  • ‘Solace Cyber Cloud XDR’ monitors for malicious activity and allows a quick response before material damage is done to your business.

Take back control of your security posture and feel confident that your business is protected, 24/7. Find out more about M247’s Security Posture Management service by getting in touch with our team today.

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