The Microsoft Office 365 (M365) suite has become an integral part of many organisations across Australia, offering a wide range of productivity and collaboration tools. However, as more organisations rely on M365 for their day-to-day operations, protecting the valuable data stored within the platform has become more important than ever, especially since Microsoft is not wholly responsible for the protection of the data you have stored within your subscription. In this article, we will discuss the top five threats to your M365 data in 2023 and provide insights on how to safeguard your information effectively to maintain business continuity.
The Top 5 Threats to Your Microsoft 365 DataThere are many threats that pose a significant risk on your M365 environment and workloads. Here, are most common and severe threats that your organisation may experience at one point or another.
1. Ransomware AttacksRansomware attacks pose a great and growing risk to your business and its M365 workloads. These malicious attacks aim to encrypt and lock you out of your data and then demand a ransom for its release. Without protection, you have two options: either pay the ransom and hope your data is released, or see your data be lost forever. Not to mention, it can result in operational disruptions, reputational damage, and compromised customer data. Recent statistics from Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation Report show that there’s a 13% year-over-year increase in the frequency of ransomware attacks, implying that the risk of data breaches is becoming more and more significant.
2. Malicious Insider ActionsInternal threats can be just as detrimental as external threats, yet they often receive less attention. Authorised individuals within your M365 environment have the potential to deliberately compromise data, delete files, or leak sensitive information. While external security threats tend to receive more focus, it is crucial to recognise that security breaches can also originate from within an organisation. In fact, such internal threats are not uncommon. Internal threats can arise either unintentionally or intentionally. Unintentional threats may occur when an employee unknowingly downloads a malicious file or unwittingly discloses login credentials to seemingly legitimate websites. On the other hand, intentional threats arise when a disgruntled employee deliberately deletes crucial company data or shares it with unauthorised parties before departing. In some cases, a user may intentionally delete important emails, rendering them inaccessible to the company’s functional departments.
3. Accidental DeletionData loss due to human error is a common occurrence in many organisations. Accidentally deleting important files or folders within Microsoft 365 (M365) can result in permanent data loss if not dealt with promptly. Whether it’s an individual user mistakenly deleting crucial documents or a bulk deletion caused by misconfiguration, it’s crucial to have efficient cloud-based backup and recovery processes in place to enable swift and accurate data restoration. According to a report by Veeam on Cloud Protection Trends, 27% of M365 administrators cite accidental deletion as the primary reason for backing up M365 data.
4. IgnoranceMany organisations mistakenly believe that Microsoft is solely responsible for securing their M365 data. However, it is important to understand the Microsoft Shared Responsibility Model, which clarifies the division of security responsibilities between Microsoft and the customer. While Microsoft ensures strong infrastructure security, organisations must take responsibility for protecting their data and configuring appropriate security settings within their M365 environment. Failing to understand this model can result in data protection gaps and an increased risk of data breaches. The model emphasises that their customers are accountable for safeguarding and managing their data, regardless of their use of Microsoft’s SaaS applications. Microsoft’s primary responsibility lies in maintaining its infrastructure and ensuring service availability to meet customer expectations. The problem is that Microsoft does not provide native backup options. Considering this, Microsoft advises IT organisations using the M365 suite to consider implementing a third-party backup and recovery solution. This will allow them to recover data in case of accidental data loss or cyberattacks.
5. Corrupted DataData corruption can occur due to various reasons, including hardware failures, software glitches, or issues during data migration. When corruption happens, it can render your data inaccessible or unusable. Without proper backup and recovery measures in place, your company will struggle to recover data, leading to operational disruptions and financial losses.
How to Protect Your Microsoft Office 365 DataProtecting your M365 data starts with choosing a data protection partner that caters to your organisation’s requirements. As a Veeam Partner, we offer you the following benefits with Veeam Backup and Replication:
- Create Backups and Restore Data: Back up Office 365 data flexibly to any location, off-site or on-premises, and restore data granularly or fully when needed.
- Incorporate Simple eDiscovery: Easily search and locate specific items with advanced search capabilities, even if they were accidentally deleted.
- Achieve Low Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs): Back up data based on your preferred backup frequency, from every 5 minutes to once per month.
- Protect SharePoint, Exchange Online, and Microsoft Teams Data: Safeguard sites, documents, and files with industry-leading security and full control and backup for mission-critical data.
- On-Premises or Cloud Deployment: Deploy in various environments and store data with flexible object storage options.
- Compliance Support: Quickly retrieve documents to meet regulatory or legal requests.
- Easy Scalability: Scale back or up your M365 protection needs on the go.
- Built-in Security: Immutability, multi-factor authentication, and encryption for uncompromising M365 data protection.
- Utilise Advanced Monitoring and Reporting: Track backup and storage resources, receive alerts, and generate reports.