Microsoft 365’s default encryption, provided by the TLS protocol, is considered a significant advantage as it ensures data security without the need for additional configuration or reliance on third-party services. However, for companies seeking complete control over the security and confidentiality of their emails, Microsoft 365 offers several additional encryption options within its ecosystem. These options do not necessarily require third-party services but offer enhanced security for different use cases.
- Office 365 Message Encryption (OME): OME is a native encryption protocol that allows secure communication with external parties. It enables strong encryption, even if the recipients use different email providers like Gmail. Users can access encrypted emails through a web portal with credentials or a one-time password, eliminating the need for special software.
- Information Rights Management (IRM): This advanced security protocol empowers administrators to prevent forwarding or printing of confidential company emails by unauthorized individuals.
- S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions): S/MIME requires both a public and private key, ensuring that only the intended recipient can view the email’s contents. It is commonly used for highly sensitive information, especially in communication with government agencies.
The configuration of these advanced email encryption options may require skilled administration, but they provide an additional layer of security, ensuring that emails remain as confidential as needed.
To enhance email security further, certain settings should be enabled for more secure company emails:
- Multifactor Authentication (MFA): Requiring MFA, especially when using secure hardware tokens like YubiKeys, enhances security compared to simple 2FA text messages.
- Mailbox Audit Logging: Enable this feature to monitor and track email activity for security auditing purposes.
- SPF, DKIM, and DMARC: Enabling these protocols helps prevent email spoofing and impersonation attempts.
- Disable POP3, IMAP4, and Automatic Forwarding: These settings reduce the risk of unauthorized access and data leakage.
- Regular Security Awareness Training: Keep employees informed and updated about the latest security practices to minimize human error risks.
Additionally, for added security, consider enabling data-at-rest protection through Bitlocker Drive Encryption. This prevents unauthorized access to sensitive data while it is not in transit.
By implementing these settings and utilizing the appropriate email encryption options within Microsoft 365, companies can significantly enhance their email security and safeguard confidential information effectively.