The biggest issue most people have with cloud services is the potential security risks. Logically, it’s understandable; storage space that is figuratively just floating around, accessible by anyone with the right equipment and credentials, doesn’t seem very secure. Tech giant Microsoft has taken those security concerns and addressed them via the security features of their Office 365 platform.
The service has indeed proven to be one of the most secure productivity platforms commercially available. It’s been out for almost a decade now, and there has yet to be reports of major data breaches and security failures.
Here’s a look at some of Office 365’s crucial security features.
When Google admitted that program developers and other human beings in their company could read user emails—to further enhance the consumer experience in terms of readability and accessibility—people were understandably outraged. Although Google has since then released several blog posts assuring people that their data is 100% safe within Google’s walls, the fact that the data is still accessible by third-party agents has only served to further fuel people’s security apprehensions.
By subscribing to Office 365, your email doesn’t go to a company—it goes to the cloud. If you so choose, it can also go directly to an application on your computer, of which only you have complete access to. Your data remains protected under layers of encryption, and you’re given the option to refuse cloud back-up storage, if you so wish. With Office 365, user privacy is prioritized over accessibility.
Greater Threat Intelligence
Most services pride themselves on their ironclad defense against external threats. However, there’s only so much a passive approach can do. Once your servers are attacked by external factors that are able to penetrate your services’ barriers, the damage is done. You can upgrade your existing systems or strengthen your encryption levels to guard against similar attacks in the future, but your data has already been compromised.
Unlike other structures, Microsoft Office 365 takes a more active approach against security threats. It gathers intelligence regarding all potential breaches and attacks against other customers within the service—essentially approaching data risks as a whole community rather than individual structures. This means that one singular attack against any area in the organization can provide Office 365 with the intelligence it needs to successfully immunize the other customers.
Layers Upon Layers of Encryption
The beauty of Office 365 is that user data, regardless of format or content, is always buried beneath layers of encryption. Office also uses different forms of encryption depending on the existing data to avoid redundancies and provide each type with its own secure protection.
For instance, entire disk volumes are protected by Microsoft standard BitLocker encryption. There is an existing level of SSL over all HTTP. Document Libraries are protected by IRM (Information Rights Management), further enabling the data within to be remote controlled. Each layer of encryption further minimizes the risk of threats such as data mining and remote access.
Innovation & Upgrades
Because Microsoft caters to so many customers, they experience their fair share of unique concerns. Although Office 365 already possesses a vigorous set of thoroughly-implemented and well-designed security features, the constant growth and evolution of cloud services means that their existing designs are continuously challenged.
As a top innovator in their field, Microsoft has to therefore adjust to meet these one-of-a-kind requirements, which consequently means continuous innovation on their part. This regular redesigning, re-testing, and upgrading further enhances the security features of Office 365, changing their algorithms and encryptions to ensure that fixed vulnerabilities no longer recur.
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Decreased Human Intervention
Despite the considerable advancements in technology, human intervention is still sometimes needed—especially in cases that can’t be predicted or pre-programmed into code. Unfortunately, this means that there’s room for human error. In order to provide their services on a global scale, Office 365 has completely automated tasks such as hardware management and patch administration in the cloud.
This automation is highly beneficial for several reasons, chief of which is that the risk of human error—i.e. falling prey to spear-phishing—is greatly reduced, if not completely eliminated. Manually managing activities also leaves gaps in the system’s security posture; again, something Office 365’s automation eradicates.
As far as security is concerned, your data is as safe as can possibly be with Office 365. Despite common misgivings regarding cloud storage, Microsoft has proven that the right security measures coupled with consistent vigilance and smart automation can make for pretty strong data defense. If you’ve been on the fence about adopting cloud services, choosing Office 365 is the safest, most secure option you have.