Microsoft SharePoint Security Best Practices Checklist for 2023

For ten years, IT professionals have pushed businesses to shift to the cloud. Companies put off using cloud technologies for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones was anxiety over the security of their data. To help you secure your environment, we’ll look at the best practices for SharePoint/Office 365 security going into 2023. 

The Covid-19 pandemic showed that businesses that have made investments in cloud and connectivity had a considerable edge in allowing their workers to work virtually both during and following the pandemic. The use of intranet software, particularly SharePoint security, has elevated to the top of the priority list for managing corporate assets in the modern workplace. 

As you may be aware, IT professionals have been emphasising the advantages of the cloud for high data and system availability for businesses, as well as for general business continuity in the event of a devastating incident.  

To protect your corporate environments, SharePoint intranet users and enterprise assets, here’s the ultimate checklist of Microsoft SharePoint Best Practices for 2023. 

1. Microsoft Secure Score

The Microsoft 365 platform offers security reporting in two different versions. The Microsoft Secure Score is a component of M365 SharePoint security, while the Identity Secure Score is a component of Azure Active Directory. 

Both programmes run an environment scan and notify you of tenant configuration changes you can make to adhere to the most recent security best practices. You may learn more about potential threats, how to counter them, and which features can be used to your advantage using these tools. Based on Microsoft research and real-time system monitoring, the tools continuously improve. By accessing Microsoft security best practices, you can stay ahead by protecting your core assets and enabling secure intranet interactions. It is advised that you periodically evaluate these scores and findings to raise your standing. 

2. M365 SharePoint security Audit Logs

You can monitor a constant stream of processes, user actions, and events in your tenant with the power of M365 audit logs. You should enable auditing because you never know when a crucial circumstance might call for it. Go to the Audit Log Search to make sure auditing is enabled. 

The audit log offers a thorough picture of operations in numerous workloads, including Exchange, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Groups, Azure AD, and DLP. Users We can find what we’re looking for with the help of the built-in search engine. Advanced users can directly retrieve data from the APIs or scan the log using Out-Of-The-Box PowerShell commands. Visit Saketa’s team of data experts if you need assistance navigating Office 365 audit logs. 

3. SharePoint Security and Compliance Dashboard

A rapid overview of various events or dangers in your environment is provided by the M365 SharePoint Security and Compliance Dashboard. The Exchange workload poses the majority of the dangers, although labels and DLP policies are also covered by the features. Companies and managers may share work efficiently and obtain feedback on business activities thanks to improved SharePoint intranet governance. 

4. Multifactor authentication (MFA)

The security mechanisms used to defend the SharePoint intranet, such as Multifactor Authentication (MFA), stop unauthorised users from accessing the intranet or any of the sensitive data contained within. Users must provide two or more pieces of proof (factors) to authenticate using multifactor authentication. MFA is already supported by Microsoft SharePoint security, and while it does take some extra effort to configure it for each user, it is an essential feature. Users can log in using a mobile app, texts, or phone call. It is highly advised that businesses use personalised identity for the login screen to further safeguard it. 

5. Azure Conditional Access

Due to its many advantages, Azure Conditional Access is a great option to take into account for organisations with intricate security requirements. In our blog post about utilising Azure Conditional Access, we have more information about them. 

By using Azure AD Conditional Access feature, you may better secure access to the Office 365 tenancy. Based on numerous factors including location, IP address, and application usage, it enables us to protect the tenant. It is simple to prevent users from, say, the Marketing department from connecting to Microsoft SharePoint 365 from a dubious, external location when paired with other AD user attributes like department. The Azure directory provides essential intelligence and user-based protection for all of your corporate assets, devices, and connections by gradually strengthening your SharePoint security best practices. 

6. Microsoft SharePoint 365 compliance centre

Customers can scan their data to determine what type of data is hosted within the system by utilising the set of tools in the Microsoft SharePoint 365 compliance centre. The majority of the time, this activity will involve analysing all SharePoint, Exchange, Teams, and OneDrive workloads for individually identifiable data. It may also involve many other checks and compliance scores offered as part of the Microsoft Compliance Score metrics. The Microsoft Compliance Score equips intranet operators with the know-how to execute rules and security best practices maintaining a secure, risk-free intranet environment. 

7. Azure Identity Protection

A premium Azure AD tool called Azure Identity Protection facilitates the identification of potential hazards associated with your Azure AD Users. You can fine-tune it using the pre-built set of parameters to detect different sign-in dangers. This function examines available data regarding normal user behaviour in addition to user-defined policies. By assisting in the detection of odd user behaviour, the intranet administrator is better able to prevent such users from using the system. 

8. Cloud App Security

For IT, securing multiple cloud-based applications is a brand-new challenge. The Cloud App Security Framework helps IT manage various apps, logs, devices, and more in this situation. It supports the management of shadow IT, safeguards critical data in the cloud, and checks app logs for potential cybersecurity threats and anomalies. 

9. Customer Lockbox

Microsoft SharePoint security administrators can regulate when and whether a Microsoft support engineer has access to information in your tenancy by using Customer Lockbox. Let’s say you open a support incident after experiencing a problem with your Microsoft SharePoint 365 service. A support engineer could occasionally ask for access to problematic data (e.g., Microsoft Office 365 mailbox or a SharePoint Online Site). You can authorize these requests, keep track of them, and specify a window of time during which Microsoft support is permitted access to your data if Customer lockbox is turned on.

The entire autonomy of organizational assets and data is provided by the SharePoint intranet experience, guaranteeing greater governance and that SharePoint security best
practices are introduced and updated in accordance with the shifting requirements of your business and its users.
 

10. External Users and Guests

Invite other people to collaborate with you in SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams is one of the key features of Office 365. Make sure, nevertheless, that the sharing policies you select are appropriate for your business and its needs. You may want to restrict external sharing because not all end users have the necessary IT knowledge. The recommended security best practice is to limit collaboration participation to those who have been preapproved by IT, referred to as Existing Guests.  

11. Azure Information Protection

Microsoft Office documents are frequently where the most crucial data is kept in many Office 365 and SharePoint intranet setups. Azure Information Protection gives us the ability to prevent email forwarding, document sharing, and document storage. It basically encrypts the documents, and only specially chosen, approved employees can decrypt its contents. 

Files of the following types can be opened: 

  • Adobe Portable Document Format: .pdf 
  • Microsoft Project: .mpp, .mpt 
  • Microsoft Publisher: .pub 
  • Microsoft XPS: .xps .oxps 
  • Images: .jpg, .jpe, .jpeg, .jif, .jfif, .jfi. png, .tif, .tiff 
  • Autodesk Design Review 2013: .dwfx 
  • Adobe Photoshop: .psd 
  • Digital Negative: .dng 
  • Microsoft Office 

12. Access Reviews

Microsoft SharePoint administrators can utilise Access Reviews to handle multiple trainings, onboardings and offboarding by controlling access permissions and affiliations. Additionally, you can utilise it to routinely review people with privileged access. 

Your access review will be automated by SysKit Point, and all significant stakeholders will be involved. Teams, organisations, and site owners can review their applications’ access on a regular basis thanks to automated queries that administrators can set. Owners are taking on more responsibility for managing their own resources in this way. 

13. Sharing Links

It’s critical to specify the kinds of sharing links your users can create by default in addition to external sharing restrictions. The option “Specific people (just the people the user specifies)” should always be used. If this option is used, a user will not be able to open a document even if they send the link to another employee in your company. 

Implement The Following SharePoint Security Best Practices in 2023

The integrity of your users, particularly those who have privileged access to your business data and resources, is a crucial aspect of cloud security for working capital. In complicated settings like Azure, and Microsoft SharePoint 365, several accounts and various responsibilities might be regarded as privileged. It is crucial to reduce their population as promptly as possible. I’ve mentioned a few things you can do to maintain your SharePoint intranet security strong down below. 

  • Enable Azure AD Privileged Identity Management so that you can receive alerts if a privileged role changes 
  • Verify that you have evaluated and set up external sharing for Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint 
  • Include the Security Score and Identity Secure Score checks in your normal monthly IT inspections. Make careful to mark tasks to change their status to something appropriate, like “Planning,” “Done,” etc. 
  • If AD sync fails, make sure you have at least two backup users or “break-in” accounts. If the MFA service fails, think about disabling MFA for these accounts 
  • On all other privileged accounts, enable MFA 
  • List the people who have the following roles: global administrator, privileged role administrator, administrator of exchange online, and administrator of SharePoint online 
  • Make sure auditing is enabled today! 
  • Should you need longer retention of Office 365 audit logs, consider 3rd party tool options 
  • Every user connecting to Office 365 should have MFA enforced 
  • Deploy a custom, branded login page for Office 365 
  • Conduct an inventory of services, owners, and admins 
  • Identify Microsoft accounts in administrative roles that you need to switch to work or school accounts 
  • Ensure separate user accounts and mail forwarding for global administrator accounts 
  • Make sure you change the passwords of administrative accounts. 
  • Turn on password hash synchronization 
  • Require multifactor authentication (MFA) for users in all privileged roles and exposed users 
  • Configure Identity Protection 
  • Obtain your Office 365 Secure Score 
  • Review the Office 365 security and compliance guidance 
  • Establish the owners of the incident/emergency response plan 
  • Secure on-premises privileged administrative accounts 
  • Complete an inventory of subscriptions 
  • Remove Microsoft accounts from admin roles 
  • Monitor Azure activity 
  • Configure conditional access policies 

Additionally, you may schedule a demo of Saketa’s award-winning intranet to observe how enhanced security works in practice. By being aware of the above mentioned SharePoint security best practices, your intranet environment can be safeguarded from threats and data leakages, ushering secure interactions and effective enterprise governance. 

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