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October 03, 2018
Office 365

The Top 8 Security Vulnerabilities in Office 365 Migrations

Home Alone was a box office hit in the 1990s with its ludicrous portrayal of an eight-year-old boy forgotten at home in his Chicago suburb while his family heads to Paris. Kevin McAllister’s make-shift security outwitted and protected his home from the indefatigable, bumbling burglars who tried to take advantage of his home’s apparent vulnerabilities.

When you migrate your system to Office 365, make sure your organization does not forget these important security concerns (and inadvertently lets in burglars, thieves, or hackers).

1. Outdated Software

In their case study on a non-profit organizations migration to Office 365’s cloud-based platform from another exchange platform, tech security organization SANS points out the risk of outdated software for many non-profits and smaller organizations. Outdated software, such as Office 2007, have lower security thresholds and leave data vulnerable during an Office 365 migration.

Before you migrate, make sure to install available patches and updates on your existing software.

2. Third-Party ESPs

Microsoft’s products and platforms function best in tandem. Spoofing, phishing, and other email-based cyber threats are vulnerabilities for Office 365 migrations when your organization uses a third-party email service provider.

Ensure that your organization’s ESP has DKIM, SPF, and DMARC protocols in place, but even the most advanced email security can break down when your ESP mismatches with your data storage platform. The best way to safeguard against email-based threats in an Office 365 migration is to use Microsoft Exchange as your ESP.

3. Cloud Vendors

Just as phishing emails are so effective because they look like the real thing, cloud vendors that appear legitimate must be secured before implementation. Companies like Veracode can test third-party apps before you connect them to your Office 365 platform to prevent security breaches during or after a migration.

4. Data Loss

Since Microsoft uses replication, not traditional data backup methods, they cannot guarantee that all of your organization’s files will be accessible if files are compromised through ransomware or accidental deletion. 

5. SAML Single Sign-On

Kakavas, a Greek Research and Technology Network company, discovered a vulnerability in Office 365’s security protocols by using cross-domain authentication to bypass federated domains. When you migrate to Office 365 ensure that your data is secure from cyber threats with another layer of protection through SaaS data protection.

6. Unauthorized Administrator Access

The Office 365 unauthorized administrator access security threat is similar to the SAML vulnerability in its ability to give access to the most critical and sensitive data. When your organization migrates to Office 365, ensure data security with added protection layers and fortified data security protocols.

7. Redundant on-premise security

Via Cimcor’s article on Office 365 migration vulnerabilities, their team recommends a pre-migration security assessment. Some organizations’ current security protocols will be neutered by Office 365’s security protocols.

Keep data safe in migration with beefed up security protocols that such as:

  • Train all users on security protocols

  • Implement stringent password requirements

  • Backup all data with a SaaS platform dedicated to data security and storage

8. Phishing, Whaling, and Malicious Links

Microsoft tries to stay ahead of security threats, and for the most part deflects the most common types of malware and cyber-attacks. However, Office 365 is too large a platform to be completely agile in its security updates and leaves open the possibility of highly-targeted cyber attacks on your system.

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