Office 365 Could Be Susceptible to Ransomware: How to Protect Yourself

Office 365 Could Be Susceptible to Ransomware: How to Protect Yourself

Office 365 is incredibly popular for businesses because they offer a number of features and benefits - email, document storage, collaboration tools, and accessibility from almost anywhere with an internet connection.

Although it comes with a variety of cybersecurity features, this solution is still susceptible to ransomware attacks. For example, Proofpoint recently uncovered a method whereby hackers can access files stored in SharePoint and OneDrive and hold them ransom. They do this by accessing a user account, reducing the amount of versions kept for rolling back, encrypting file beyond the rollback limit, and requesting a ransom.  

While cloud solutions like Office 365 are exceptionally versatile, easy to use, and productive, there are elements to it that could compromise your business. That’s why it’s critical to go the extra mile to protect your company from a cyberattack. 

Enlist the Help of Professionals

One of the best ways to protect your Office 365 data from ransomware attacks is by not trying to go it alone. Office 365 can seem quite simple to get started with, but a professional IT Services partner will configure the account with best practices in mind, make sure you to take advantage of all of the appropriate security features, and layer on additional solutions to help protect you. Additionally, in the event disaster strikes, they should be able to help you recover quickly when your organization is compromised. 

Backup Your Data Outside of Office 365

Data backups are an essential and relatively easy way to protect yourself from the devastating impacts of a ransomware attack. If you can just walk away from the attacker and spin up a copy with minimal loss, you've avoided the whole mess. On a related note - a disaster recovery plan will help ensure that you can do this quickly and with predictable results.

It's important to note the distinction in this conversation between backups and things like High Availability. Often we talk with users who say things like "Microsoft is replicating my info to datacenters all over the country, why do I need a backup?" While that first part is true, the purpose of High Availability is to avoid service outages. However, if your data is compromised/deleted/lost, that bad data is what gets replicated and you're in a world of hurt.

A similar caveat for Versioning - "If Microsoft keeps 20 copies of my file, I should be able to roll back fine." But what about when you have a scenario like the one mentioned above where the Versioning settings have been altered during a breach. Or consider a much less dramatic scenario: simply opening and saving the file repeatedly chews through the available versions and alterations aren't noticed until weeks later. Being able to restore a backup from a specific date and time will avoid unintended distress.

Use Access Management

Access management is a framework that you can use to control access to data within your organization. With access management and the principle of least privilege, your teams will only have access to what they need: nothing more or less. Additionally, access management allows you to apply even more factors like location and device. For instance, only allowing the admin account to login when connecting to the Office 365 portal from within the physical office.

Data Loss Prevention

Finally, consider using data loss prevention methods to protect your cloud storage from ransomware attacks. Essentially, DLP is a series of tools and policies used to monitor sensitive data and identify abnormal access or transmission, stopping data from leaving your network without anyone's knowledge. 

Cloud Security Services

By following these tips, you can protect your cloud storage from ransomware attacks and ensure that your data stays safe. To help defend your business’ data, learn more about Office 365 cloud storage, cybersecurity, or data recovery for your business.

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