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How to Boost Your Office 365 Email Encryption

16 Feb., 2018

Microsoft Office 365 offers excellent email encryption capabilities that ensures your company’s important communications are kept safe. But are there other steps you can take to boost email protection even more?

Office 365 is a powerful suite of apps and tools commonly used by enterprise businesses. In fact, it’s the leading business application there is. And despite the rise of centralized messaging apps like Slack, email remains one of the most popular ways that companies create, communicate, and share information. It may be a vestigial leftover from the olden days of the primordial Internet at this point, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t take priority when it comes to protecting sensitive information sent back and forth through the Internet.

Since email is not going away any time soon, it’s important to review how your company treats email encryption. Microsoft’s enterprise app already offers solid native email and file security, but here are some of the best steps you can take to boost your Office 365 email protection even more.

1. One of the top ways employees communicate is through email on their smartphone. Make sure every user’s mobile phone has a strong, encrypted password in place to help prevent physical access to any information stored in emails on that device. Of course, encrypting the data on the device in the first place will make it difficult for any hackers or thieves to read that information.

2. Auditing data should be a common practice for enterprise users of Office 365. The thorough auditing of email itself can potentially reveal any times an unauthorized user gained access to Exchange Online accounts. If there are any unauthorized breaches, you can pinpoint the exact times and users who have logged into Exchange Online, and if they purged any items from the Recoverable items folder. This option isn’t turned on by default, so admins must enable it.

3. Invest in Office 365 subscriptions that offer more security measures. This will depend on your company’s budget and purposes, of course, but it can be a worthwhile investment to upgrade to plans with better encryption. For example, Office 365 E3 and above, Office 365 A1 and above, and Office 365 US Government Community G3 and above offer Office 365 Message Encryption, which allows businesses to send emails with encryption that exceeds the basic Transport Layer Security (TLS) available by default in Outlook. These higher subscription tiers also offer Data Loss Prevention (DLP), which enables administrators to set up actions that can automatically take place in the case of multiple conditions.

4. Restrict administrator roles. Who has access to information is just as important as protecting that information. The number of people with access to important information in emails can be valuable to consider as well. If possible, restrict admin access to only the most imperative users. Restricting admin access will also restrict potential entryways for hackers.

5. Consider adding a separate layer of Office 365 email encryption with a service like eperi Cloud Data Protection for Office 365, an extra layer of protection on top of everything Microsoft already has to offer. By default, eperi Cloud Data Protection enables encryption and pseudonymization, which encrypts all personal and important data in Office 365 apps, rendering them useless to malicious attackers. Protection software from eperi also grants control of the encryption keys to the enterprise customer and only the customer, so that only the right people have access to your valuable encrypted data.

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