It’s no secret that technology is a valuable asset to many industries, including education. With each innovation, educators have found a new way to harness it and turn it into a teaching tool.
That’s exactly what happened when school districts began their migration to the cloud. What started out as a smooth ride was sped up into a full-fledged jump when the pandemic necessitated remote learning. now more than 9 out of 10 K-12 schools operate in a cloud environment and make regular use of cloud applications in the classroom.
Microsoft 365, or, as it is more commonly called, Office 365, is one of the most popular cloud solutions on the market. With its comprehensive set of tools, including Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint Online, Office 365 is an important asset for both students and staff members.
But with so much sensitive data in a cloud environment, are you sure your data loss prevention policies are up to the challenge? Let’s take a closer look Microsoft Office 365 and everything you need to know about Microsoft cloud app security.
What is data loss prevention in Office 365?
Just as it is easier to crawl before running, it is better to understand data loss prevention (DLP) in general before exploring any specific variations. To help wrap your mind Office 365 DLPLet’s analyze that term a little more.
DLP boils down to one key idea: information protection. In other words, it’s about keeping an eye on your district’s sensitive data and making sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. This not only constitutes a serious violation of industry regulationsbut it also puts the safety of students at risk.
Why? Because there is no telling how someone could use that confidential information once it is in their possession. Think of the many types of data housed in your district’s cloud storage:
- Financial data
- academic records
- Medical information
- Personally Identifiable Information
- Addresses and phone numbers
These types of data, among many others, are available in your Microsoft Office cloud environment. As a lucrative target of cybercriminals, it is your duty to keep sensitive data under lock and key. That’s what Office 365 DLP software is specifically designed for.
Advantages of Office 365 DLP
With Microsoft 365 DLP, you can get a number of benefits:
- Optimized security of Microsoft cloud applications: With deeply integrated DLP software, your data protection efforts are at their best.
- Automatic threat detection: Cloud-based DLP software scans your cloud apps for risks and lets you focus on other tasks.
- 24/7 monitoring: Always-on visibility allows you to mitigate risks as quickly as possible.
Office 365 Data Loss Prevention: Threats and Challenges
Microsoft Office 365 is among the most widely used cloud applications around the world, including in education. In fact, about 50% of school districts use Office 365 in some way, according to our research in collaboration with Edweek, but few implement an adequate level of cloud security.
Notably, Microsoft Office is equipped with its own native DLP capabilities. While that’s a great start, there are a number of key weaknesses and limitations that could leave your district exposed:
- Accidental data deletion: If somehow a critical or confidential file is mistakenly deleted, it may be unrecoverable. Microsoft’s native solution allows you to create data loss prevention policies, but cannot protect against accidental deletion.
- There are many ways for a data leak to occur: With many sharing capabilities, there are also many channels that need to be defended, protected, and monitored in the event of a data breach. Most of the time, accidental data loss occurs when staff use inappropriate sharing settings, such as global sharing, or send sensitive data via email.
- Credential theft: Office 365 credentials are a prime target for cybercriminals, especially those with far-reaching permissions and privileges. If these accounts are taken over, they risk exposing a large amount of sensitive information.
- Cost is a barrier to entry: It is costly for districts to implement the native DLP capabilities of Office 365 in $38 per user each month. Only the highest level subscription has access to these solutions.
- Difficult user experience: The Microsoft interface is complex to configure, manage, and maintain. To further complicate matters, many districts also use google workspace in combination with Office 365, which means security teams have to learn two different systems and switch between the two, a painful process that can slow down incident response times.
At the end of the day, your district needs a simpler, more comprehensive data protection solution.
How does Microsoft Office 365 data loss prevention work?
In contrast with endpoint data loss prevention tools, such as solutions that only protect devices that access and store sensitive data, or network DLP, Office 365 DLP platforms are designed to protect the cloud.
Why? Because cloud applications do not exist on your school network and are therefore not protected by other solutions. Cloud-based Office 365 DLP is designed to squeeze an extra layer of security between your sensitive information and outside forces. Is that how it works:
Data loss prevention policies
At its core, cloud DLP boils down to policy enforcement. A data loss prevention policy is an administrative rule that dictates how data may be stored, accessed, and used throughout the school district. When a violation of the DLP policy occurs, such as when a sensitive file is inappropriately shared outside of the school, administrators will automatically be notified.
These DLP alerts allow cloud security teams to quickly mitigate incidents and ensure they stop any risk before it gets out of hand. If your data is being attacked by external forces or accidentally leakeda well-developed policy is often the difference between bad and worse.
Here’s a policy tip: When you create a rule, you can use predefined policies at first, but be sure to adjust them for your district as needed.
Data classification and automated remediation
Classification it is the process of discovering data as it is created or entered into your cloud environment and attaching a sensitivity label. By automatically categorizing data by sensitivity, you can fine-tune DLP policy enforcement without any additional effort from your security team.
Office 365 DLP uses artificial intelligence to automatically scan the content of emails, cloud apps, and other communications for sensitive data that could put the district at risk. Better yet, you can also automate remediation based on a predetermined set of actions, such as quarantining or suspending the user.
How to choose the right solution that protects your data
When it comes to cloud security, no two solutions are the same. That’s why it’s important to identify the optimal platform for your school district’s needs. To help you narrow down your options, here are some key considerations to keep in mind:
- Easy to use: You need a solution that goes live and protects your data right out of the box. Identify a service with cloud-based, out-of-the-box capabilities for quick and easy deployment.
- Cost: Cloud security doesn’t need to be expensive to be effective. The right solution will offer comprehensive protection without straining your school budget.
- Integration: Why suffer through one clunky interface, let alone two? The best solution option will integrate both Microsoft Office and Google Workspace into one easy-to-use, near-native platform.
With ManagedMethods, you get all this and more. Our cloud-based cloud security solution is designed with the user experience in mind so you can focus on keeping your sensitive data safe and secure. Better yet, we let you test the platform before committing.
The charge Does your district have Office 365 data loss prevention? Here’s why you should first appeared in managed methods.
*** This is a syndicated Security Bloggers Network blog from managed methods written by Katie Fritchen. Read the original post at: https://managedmethods.com/blog/data-loss-prevention-office-365/