Microsoft 365 Security for IT Pros Published

The New Microsoft 365 Security for IT Pros eBook is now available from Gumroad.com. The book is modeled after Office 365 for IT Pros and covers the essential steps tenant administrators should take to secure and defend their organizations. Security is something that everyone involved in tenant administration needs to think about, so it’s good to have some solid advice from the pros.

Why Basic Authentication for Exchange Online is So Bad

Some doubt that Exchange Online will disable basic authentication for five email connection protocols in October 2020. The refrain is that it will be too hard for customers. Well, it might be hard to prepare to eliminate basic authentication, but if you don’t, your Office 365 tenant will be increasingly threatened by attacks that exploit known weaknesses.

Using Password-Protected Sharing Links with SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business support the ability to protected Anyone links with passwords. The idea is good and the feature works well, but some Office 365 tenants have problems with the idea of using Anyone links because, as the name implies, anyone who has the link can use it to open a document.

Finding Azure Active Directory with Admin Roles Not Protected with MFA

Microsoft makes a strong case that all Azure Active Directory accounts should be protected with multi-factor authentication (MFA). That’s a great aspiration, but the immediate priority is to check accounts holding admin roles. This post explains how to use a PowerShell script to find and report those accounts.

CISA Report Only Scratches Surface of Securing Office 365

The CISA report titled “Microsoft Office 365 Security Observations” makes five recommendations to improve security of an Office 365 tenant. The recommendations are valid, but competent administrators won’t take long to implement them. In fact, the worst thing is that consultants brought in to help organizations didn’t seem to have much expertise in securing Office 365.

Unified Labelling Version of Azure Information Protection Client Now Generally Available

Microsoft has released the GA version of the Azure Information Protection client, which reads information about Office 365 sensitivity labels and policies from the Security and Compliance Center. It’s one more step along the path to making it easy for Office 365 tenants to protect their data. Work still has to be done, but at least we can see light at the end of the encryption tunnel.

Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Centers Now Generally Available

The Microsoft 365 Security and Microsoft 365 Compliance Centers are now generally available. The new consoles will eventually replace the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center (SCC) but some work is needed to fill out their functionality and make the switchover possible. In the meantime, the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook writing team will stay focused on the SCC. And when the time’s right, we’ll switchover.

Eliminating Basic Auth for Exchange Online with AAD Conditional Access Policies

Exchange Online protocol authentication policies control what protocols a user can connect to mailboxes with, but it would be much better if we didn’t have to worry about some old and insecure protocols. Azure Active Directory gives Office 365 tenants the chance to clamp down on IMAP4 and POP3 connections and close off some of the holes that attackers try to exploit. Microsoft says that this can lead to a 67% reduction in account compromises, so that’s a good thing.

Phishing: Your Document Has Been Completed

Phishing attacks through email happen all the time. A new relatively crude one arrived today. It’s easy for the trained eye to detect phishing, but do your Office 365 admins know how to use the tools available in Exchange Online Protection to suppress malware, and do your users know the signs of bad email? In this case, it’s an invitation to click to get to a PDF document to bring you to digitaloceanspaces.com. Some interesting things might happen afterwards, but I really don’t want to find out what occurs when I click the link.

Applying Autosignatures with Transport Rules

Office 365 tenants can use Exchange transport rules to apply autosignatures to outbound email, including messages protected with encryption. You can even include some properties of the sender extracted from Azure Active Directory, and you can add an exception so that the autosignature isn’t applied to replies.

Using Exchange Session Identifiers in Audit Log Records

Exchange Online now captures session identifiers in its mailbox and admin audit records that are ingested in the Office 365 audit log. That’s interesting and useful, but how do you access and interpret this information on a practical level?

Azure Active Directory Feature Bans Custom Words from User Passwords

Making sure that Office 365 user (and administrator) accounts have good passwords is a never-ending task. A new preview feature in Azure Active Directory helps by ensuring that users can’t include common words specific to the organization (like its name) in a password. It’s another piece in the puzzle to frustrate potential attackers.

Azure Information Protection Client Supports S/MIME

The latest version of the Azure Information Protection (AIP) client supports the ability to associate S/MIME protection with an AIP label. Although interesting, it’s a feature unlikely to be of much practical use to the majority of Office 365 tenants.

Office 365 Sensitivity Labels Bring Rights Management to the Masses

Azure Information Protection and Office 365

Rights management and encryption are likely to be a much more common Office 365 feature in the future. Sensitivity labels makes protection easy for users to apply through Office apps. The downside is that protection makes content harder to access for some Office 365 and ISV functionality.

Office 365 Privileged Access Management: Too Flawed and Too Exchange?

Microsoft has launched Privileged Access Management (PAM) for Office 365. The name’s incorrect because PAM only works for Exchange Online right now. PAM is based on RBAC, which is good, but is the implementation too Exchange-centric?

Any Authenticated Users Permission Now Generally Available

Azure Information Protection rights management templates now support the Any Authenticated Users permission to allow Office 365 users to share email and documents with anyone who can authenticate with Azure Active Directory or has an MSA account or uses a federated service.

What that BOXServiceAccount Does in Office 365

Records featuring an account called BOXServiceAccount appear in the Office 365 audit log. Not much information is available about the account, but it’s all OK because it’s used to assign administrative roles to Office 365 accounts.

New IRM Option to Control Decryption of Attachments of Encrypted Messages

Microsoft has released a new setting in the tenant Information Rights Management (IRM) configuration to control if attachments of messages encrypted with the Encrypt Only feature (in OWA and Outlook) are decrypted when downloaded. In fact, two settings are available. One for people with Azure AD accounts, and one for those without.

Fix for Active Directory Federation Services Security Hole Available

Microsoft has issued patch CVE-2018-8340 to fix a problem with Active Directory Federation Services. You should download and install this patch now.