2020 Adapt, Evolve, Grow – Make business data accessible while maintaining security with MS 365
Data security is a primary concern for businesses when it comes to developing a Remote working strategy, with many businesses concerned working from home could result in files going missing, unauthorised access to sensitive information and unexpected changes to important documents.
For many business owners, remote working is synonymous with giving up control over data – both how it’s used and where it ends up – but with the right tools, you can grant your team remote access to the resources they need while remaining firmly in control of your business’ digital assets.
Microsoft 365 makes the above aim achievable with a comprehensive arsenal of tools designed to give business owners full administrative control over the data their remote teams can access. Let’s explore some of these now.
Securely access and share files with SharePoint and OneDrive
File storage in 365 is centred around 2 platforms – SharePoint andOneDrive.
With Microsoft 365, every user (with a licence) has access to a personal OneDrive storage – accessible only to them.
But there is also an organisation-wide solution which could provide businesses with an alternative to the traditional ‘on-premise’ server – Sharepoint.
Sharepoint is Microsoft’s intranet solution which is bundled into many of the Microsoft 365 licences – so many businesses have access to it at no extra cost. It allows for the creation of (what it calls) Team Sites, which can be as simple or as complex as an organisation needs (obviously always best to keep it simple). Within these Team Sites you can create Document Libraries which allow storage of files and folders which can be accessed and shared by others in the organisation. Access is controlled by Groups and security rules allowing you to be quite precise on who can access what folders and files.
When coupled with OneDrive (again included for free with 365) users can access and work on files seamlessly on their devices. It even allows for multiple users to access and work on the same documents at once – thus offering great collaboration functionality.
SharePoint also includes a range of useful productivity features; SharePoint lists are a great way to store, organise and review data pertaining to a particular topic, and SharePoint workflows add structure to streamline the document handling processes – plus its integration with Microsoft Teams can be a real boon for teams working remotely.
Document Libraries can each be configured with different access permissions allowing you to control who has access, and who can do what. The default Sharepoint User Permission levels are; View Only (allowing users to view the documents, but not download) / Read Only (allowing users to view and to download) / Contribute (allowing users to edit, and to delete files – and to create new ones) / Edit (allowing users to do all the above, and to manage lists) / Full Control (allowing users full control).
SharePoint sites are a great way to share large volumes of files to several people while maintaining control of sensitive documents. By defining site “owners,” members” and “visitors” you can control the level of access individuals have to site contents, with each title carrying with it a set of permissions.
- ‘Visitors’ can read files only. Ideal if you want to give someone outside your organisation access to certain content while denying the ability to make changes.
- ‘Members’ can edit. Site ‘members’ are those who need the ability to access, contribute and edit documents on a site. While members typically have free reign to alter site contents, they are restricted from altering site settings and architecture.
- ‘Owners’ have full control. Owners are the site administrators, who can edit content, configure site layout, add and withdraw site access and even delete the site altogether.
Take Command of your Digital real-estate with Enterprise Mobility and Security
In addition to the tools available to ensure data security at the application level, 365 also offers users access to a suite of tools designed to allow businesses to assert complete control over every corner of their digital infrastructure. Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility and Security suite comprise a set of tools covering all bases in terms of digital security, from endpoint management and access controls to information classification and advanced threat protection.
Intune is a unified endpoint manager, giving business owners, managers, or IT teams the ability to ensure the highest standards of remote device security. Take control at the device level with the ability to configure security settings, device access criteria and more.
Alternatively, Intune can be used to ensure data security at application-level. Configure app settings for maximum security, maintain the ability to remotely ‘wipe’ business data in the event of the device becoming compromised and restrict certain actions such as the ability to download business data from an app onto the device’s storage.
Azure active directory
Remotely monitor and control access to the apps and services your remote workforce needs with Azure Active Directory. Enforce multi-factor authentication to keep your data under lock and key and withdraw and extend access to resources as employees change roles or leave your company. Azure active directory lets you do all this and much more.
Microsoft Information Protection
Classify, label, and apply protections to your most sensitive files. Establish and enforce information protection policies to help ensure GDPR compliance.
Anticipate, monitor, detect and remove malicious threats with Microsoft Defender. The most comprehensive tool of its kind available, Defender lets you counter threats across all identities, endpoint devices and every app and service your business uses, whether in the cloud or locally hosted.
With Microsoft investing over $1 million dollars annually in security, users can rest assured knowing that Microsoft 365 has been developed with data security in mind.
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