Microsoft 365 Security Checklist: A Guide to Improve Data Security

Maarten ~ Modified: April 18th, 2024 ~ Microsoft Office 365 ~ 5 Minutes Reading

Table of Contents:

  1. Microsoft 365 Security Checklist
  2. Microsoft Security Best Practices
  3. Security Recommendations for Microsoft 365
  4. Office 365 Security Features
  5. What to do When Your Data is Compromised?
  6. Conclusion

Microsoft 365 is becoming more widely accepted across the globe. This is due to the mobility and collaboration features that Microsoft offers. However, since this is cloud-based, there are it has greater security vulnerabilities, and it has become very important to ensure the security of your files and data. Microsoft 365 offers various security measures and customer controls that help you configure the security according to your needs. However, they are only effective if they are configured correctly according to your business and needs. 

In this article, we have given you a comprehensive Microsoft 365 security checklist that will help you optimise the security of your systems.

Microsoft 365 Security Checklist

Following are the items that you should be aware of to improve the security:

  1. Enabling multi-factor authentication.
  2. Role-based access.
  3. Conditional access.
  4. Set up alerts.
  5. Enable Microsoft Defender for security reports.
  6. Manage application access on company and personal devices.
  7. Track the documents used by the users.
  8. Track instances of malicious activity.
  9. Set up controls for sharing documents.

Microsoft Security Best Practices

The best practices to follow in an Office 365 security checklist are:

  1. To protect sensitive information, and adhere to the compliance requirement, create and manage data loss prevention policies.
  2. For protection against ransomware attacks, deploy an anti-malware solution.
  3. Develop and implement protocols that require strong passwords and also discourage the reuse of passwords.
  4. Ensure that all incoming and outgoing emails are encrypted.
  5. Protect the mobile devices using Mobile Device Management (MDM).
  6. Turn on advanced threat protection to prevent unauthorised and harmful links.

Security Recommendations for Microsoft 365

Here are the security recommendations that a user should follow:

  1. Activate alerts for unusual activities to reduce the time needed for identifying risks.
  2. Using the role-based access control (RBAC), assign the administrator roles.
  3. Enable multi-factor authentication for administrator accounts.
  4. To support threat identification and investigations, use the Unified Audit Log (UAL).
  5. Disable legacy protocol authentication that does not support MFA features such as POP3, SMTP, and IMAP.

Also Read: How to Migrate Shared Mailbox to Office 365 – Step By Step Explained

Office 365 Security Features

The security features of Office 365 can be categorized into four segments – identity access, information protection, threat protection, and security risk management.

Identity Access Management:

It provides a framework of technology, processes, and policies to ensure that the right people can access the resources of an organisation. There are many user authentication methods to verify the identity of the user that they are claiming to be. This allows the administrators to verify the identity of not only people but software and hardware. Using this can help reduce as well as identify suspicious login attempts and protect the credentials of the users. These identity features should be a part of the Office 365 security checklist. The benefits of these are:

  • Seamless user experience
  • Secure adaptive access
  • Simplified identity governance
  • Identity management that is unified

Threat Protection:

It includes automated security solutions to help secure files, data, applications, and devices. It provides defence against hacking-based attacks that target sensitive files and data as well as monitors the activity of the attack so that the threat is identified as quickly as possible. 

A Microsoft 365 security checklist for threat protection should include the following benefits:

  • Endpoint Protection
  • Extended protection and response
  • Security information and event management 

Information Protection:

It helps the administrators locate and protect sensitive information across the cloud or any other location where the data is stored. This helps keep sensitive data secure and are used to configure data security policies with labels to assign security policies to files and data. A Microsoft 365 security checklist should have the following features:

  • Data classification
  • Data governance
  • Data loss prevention (DLP)

Security and Risk Management:

Tools are available in a centralised portal that allows the administrators to quickly identify and deal with the risks from malicious activities. It also allows the admins to perform investigations into incidents. A Microsoft 365 security checklist for security and risk management should have the following features:

  • Information barriers
  • Enforce communication compliance 
  • Insider risk management
  • Privileged access management (PAM)

What to do When Your Data is Compromised?

If at all, your data does get compromised, you would have to shift all your sensitive files to another, safer location where your data isn’t at risk. Since Microsoft does not offer any way of migrating your files from one location to the other, you would have to use an automated tool. Migrator Wizard Office 365 Migration Tool is one of the best-automated tools out there that can help you move all your files securely and with ease.

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It has the following features:

  1. Migrate documents, emails, tasks, calendars, and contacts from OneDrive. 
  2. It supports Office 365 shared mailbox migration between two mailboxes. 
  3. The tool helps you migrate from online SharePoint to SharePoint. 
  4. It has account-based priority migration to prioritize the account to migrate first. 
  5. Advanced utility to migrate groups from Office 365 to Office 365. 

Also Read: Step-By-Step Process to Migrate Office 365 Domain to Another Tenant


Microsoft 365 is used by millions of organisations. Due to continuous advancements, Microsoft 365 has become one of the most secure productivity suites. To get all the benefits of the security that protects Microsoft services and products, it is important to understand that it follows a responsibility with regard to security.

With the shared responsibility model, Microsoft accepts responsibility for the applications and servers that it provides. The organisations are responsible for the data within the cloud. By following the checklist, you ensure that your data is secure.