Westlake endorses Microsoft security policies for safer email

December 21, 2018

Businesses using Microsoft’s Office 365 for email are urged to implement Microsoft’s Sign-in Risk Policy and User Risk Policy to help identify and prevent malicious attempts to sign into their email accounts.

Microsoft’s Office 365 is inherently very safe, with high levels of encryption, but cyber criminals are using increasingly sophisticated ways to circumnavigate security measures and convince users they are genuine with the aim of extorting money or extracting valuable data from organisations or from their customers.

Chris Apperley, MD explained, “These policies are not documents or processes you need to follow, but are in fact a combination of rules and criteria that your IT provider can configure and apply to your Office 365 tenant to make it harder for cyber criminals to hack your user accounts and perform malicious activities. We are increasingly seeing attempts to ‘spoof’ our customers email accounts and either engage a supplier or customer with the aim of diverting funds to new accounts.”

A Sign-in Risk Policy is designed to analyse each user sign-in and automatically spot and block any malicious sign-in attempts by, for example, checking if the sign-in attempt is being made using an anonymous IP address or from an unfamiliar location.

The User Risk Policy is designed to spot potentially compromised user credentials and will automatically block any user account that the system believes to be a risk. An account might be blocked because of ‘impossible travel,’ typified by one login attempt in France one minute then a login attempt in India the next. Another trigger could be a login attempt from a country in which the business has no operations or to which employees don’t travel.

Chris concluded, “These policies are a brilliant feature of Office 365’s Azure licensing and although there’s a slight increase in license cost the actual features don’t cost you anything to put in place. We’re implementing them as a matter of course for all our Office 365 clients and we advise you do the same.

“If you are concerned about your email security and would like some advice, please call us on 02392007850. We’d be happy to help.”

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