Microsoft 365 is a great suite of productivity-enhancing tools, which is why so many businesses rely on the products; however, with more than one million businesses using Microsoft 365, that makes it an attractive target for hackers, especially email. There are several Microsoft 365 email protection features provided as standard with business licenses, but even with these security features correctly configured, malicious emails circumvent Microsoft’s defenses and are delivered to inboxes. Since it only takes one response to a malicious email to install malware or otherwise give hackers a foothold in the network, most businesses would benefit from improving Microsoft 365 email protection.
Augment Microsoft 365 Email Protection with a Third-Party Spam Filter
Microsoft 365 email protection features are effective at blocking most spam emails and a reasonable percentage of phishing emails. They will also detect all known malware threats. What they are not so effective at blocking is more sophisticated email threats and zero-day malware attacks. Unfortunately for businesses, these sophisticated attacks are becoming much more common and new variants of malware are being released constantly. For example, phishing URLs in emails are difficult to detect, as they are rarely used for long. By the time they are added to the blocklist, they have been abandoned and another URL is used. Threat actors also send emails with benign URLs to bypass the spam filter, and then add malicious content to the web pages after the email has been delivered.
To block these threats, a more advanced spam filter is needed. You should look for an email security solution that can be layered on top of Microsoft 365 email protection features, rather than replacing them. SpamTitan Plus is the ideal solution for adding multiple additional layers of defense to improve Microsoft 365 email protection. SpamTitan Plus works seamlessly with Microsoft 365 and significantly improves the detection of malicious URLs. This is achieved by having 100% of all leading threat intelligence feeds to protect against zero-minute attacks, time-of-click protection against malicious URLs (in addition to initial checks before delivery), and predictive technology to identify new email threats.
SpamTitan Plus also provides detailed quarantine reports for investigations, a high degree of personalization to allow blocklists to be created for each system, domain, and individual user, and outbound scanning of emails to identify phishing, spam, and malware delivery through compromised mailboxes and block insider threats. SpamTitan Plus has the lowest false positive rate in the industry and faster detection of malicious URLs than all current market leaders.
Improve Protection Against Email Account Compromise
Malicious actors target Microsoft 365 email accounts in several ways. There are phishing attacks, where employees are tricked into disclosing their credentials, brute force attacks to guess weak passwords, and credential stuffing attacks, where credentials obtained in past data breaches are used to try to access Microsoft 365 email accounts. These attacks take advantage of password reuse, which is very common. If credentials are guessed or otherwise obtained, they can be used to remotely access accounts. The way to prevent this is to implement multifactor authentication. Credentials alone will not be sufficient to access the account. Another method of authentication is required in addition to a password.
Microsoft 365 Features to Activate
Several security features in Microsoft 365 should be activated to improve protection against email attacks. You should configure Microsoft 365 email encryption to prevent the interception of emails in transit. A password must then be provided by the recipient to decrypt the messages, and it is also possible to prevent copy and printing sensitive emails. You should set up security alerts and promptly investigate them. These alerts warn of suspicious activity that could indicate a compromised account. You should also disable auto-forwarding to remote domains. This will prevent attackers from setting up forwarding rules on compromised accounts and will protect against insider incidents by stopping users from forwarding emails to personal email accounts. You should also limit the use of admin accounts as these are a major target of threat actors. These accounts should also only be used for administrative emails.
Provide Security Awareness Training to the Workforce
It is easy to focus on technical measures to improve Microsoft 365 email protection, but it is important not to neglect security awareness training. Even with all of the above measures implemented, employees can still encounter threats and could make a security error that opens the door to hackers. By providing regular security awareness training to all members of the workforce, you can reduce errors and make it much less likely that employees will be fooled by phishing emails.
TitanHQ can assist in this regard. The SafeTitan security awareness training platform has a wealth of training content on all aspects of security, with the training delivered in modules of no more than 10 minutes to make it easy to fit training into busy workflows. The platform includes a phishing simulator for conducting phishing tests on employees, and the platform is the only behavioral-based training solution that delivers security awareness training in real-time in response to risky behaviors by employees.
For more information on improving Microsoft 365 email protection and providing security awareness training to the workforce, give the TitanHQ team a call today.