Office 365 cloud app security is a critical layer to your cybersecurity infrastructure

More organizations are trending toward cloud computing and this has created new challenges throughout the process. Security is usually an afterthought, especially for non-technical management. However, cloud security must top the list of items to address when transitioning to the cloud. Furthermore, many teams believe that Microsoft’s native security features in Office 365 are sufficient. But that greatly depends on the licensing and add-ons your team is paying for.

There are also some disturbing limitations to Microsoft’s cloud security architecture, especially if your organization uses both Office 365 and Google’s G Suite cloud applications. When organizations using Microsoft products make the move to the cloud and adopt Office 365, there will be new security risks they must be ready to detect and prevent, especially for organizations handling files that may not be supported by Microsoft’s security features.

This is where a cloud application security solution will come in handy. Let’s dig deeper into what this is and why a third-party application will prove to be the best route to take.

What Is Cloud Application Security?

Cloud application security refers to securing data stored in cloud applications, such as Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite, Slack, Box, etc. It is a critical layer in an organization’s zero trust security infrastructure because it secures the data stored in the cloud—and access to that data.

Hosting applications in the cloud has given rise to new solutions that use the cloud application’s native APIs to monitor, control, and secure activity in what is now being coined Cloud Application Security Platforms (CASP).

Office 365 cloud app securityWhy Do Office 365 Users Need Cloud App Security?

With CASPs, organizations using Office 365 are able to continuously see all the activity taking place within the cloud environment in real time. Who has access to and control of what documents, and where the documents have been sent and/or shared. By leveraging APIs, these solutions don’t impact user experience or hinder the performance of the platform because it is integrated directly within the cloud application itself.

If a hacker got past your perimeter security layer, a cloud application security platform would be able to detect suspicious logins, download and sharing activity, etc. It would then take appropriate action to prevent data loss and identify where the breach occurred. Cloud application security is invaluable in detecting and mitigating inappropriate authorized user behavior as well.

What comes with Microsoft Cloud Access Security CASB? Let’s take a look.

Microsoft Cloud Application Security

If an organization is on the Office 365 E5 offering, then they have the Microsoft Cloud Application Security platform integrated. With Microsoft Cloud Application Security, features such as predefined and customizable policies, a login analyzer, suspicious alert notifications, and activity reports of a given user are available to be accessed and viewed. The platform also allows users the ability to identify risky logins by IP address and admin activities from a non-corporate IP address, and detect ransomware activity.

While these features are all great to have, the problem organizations are running into is that it is very expensive to upgrade to Office 365 E5 or to purchase Microsoft Cloud Application Security as a standalone feature.

Furthermore, organizations using multiple cloud providers are unable to support other applications outside of Microsoft’s solutions. IT managers also find that being able to control and remediate aspects of Office 365 within Microsoft’s tool is a time consuming task, whereas third party cloud security platforms, like ManagedMethods, can help administrators complete these tasks in minutes.

Five Reasons Why Office 365 Admins Need a Third Party Cloud Application Security Platform

1. Ability to monitor & secure applications

A third party, API-based CASP empowers IT security teams with the ability to look at third party applications, such as Google, Slack, Dropbox and Box, that are granted open authentication (OAuth) permissions.

2. Additional layer of security to catch what Microsoft misses

Relying on Microsoft Office 365 as a standalone product means your organization won’t be able to support non-Microsoft files, such as PDFs. Third party applications can fill in the gaps and this means that not only are Office 365 organizations able to monitor content in SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams they are also able to monitor content living in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and PDFs for suspicious activity.

3. Easier, more efficient detection, remediation, and reporting

With a third party application to support Microsoft’s native cloud security, organizations can use features such as Google AI image scanning to quickly view documents being shared within the organization and identify which ones contain sensitive information (e.g. Payment Card Information, Personally Identifiable Information, Social Security Numbers) that need to be remediated, and included in reports to help educate staff on why this information should not be sent.

If your organization doesn’t have the Office 365 E5 offering, you won’t receive access to security insights and recommendations your team can use to execute against threats. Additonally, Microsoft’s low tier offerings do not provide the same easy and efficient detection, remediation, and reports that a third party application can.

4. Account monitoring for risky logins and behavior

Organizations experience thousands of login attempts every day and having a solution in place that can give a clear graphical representation of where an organization’s logins are coming from allows IT teams to quickly identify suspicious logins. Furthermore, with a third party application, organizations can create predefined and customizable policies, blacklist and whitelist logins by location, and use a third party app discovery and control. These same features, without a third party application, come at a hefty cost with the Office 365 E5 solution.

5. Advanced Threat Protection & Data Loss Prevention

In today’s security landscape, organizations must have active malware threat protection and prevention in place—avaliable with a third party security platform. Third party security platforms can also provide organizations with data loss prevention, which can detect sensitive information in a wider range of supported file formats, and it offers image risk detection for sensitive information within scanned docs and screenshots.
ManagedMethods is a complete, API-based cloud security solution helping protect the data and applications within an organization. Our solution works to prevent data breaches, malware and phishing threats, and account takeovers. Take control of your company’s information across various applications in one easy to use, affordable platform.

Is ManagedMethods right for you? Download our Office 365 Comparative Overview and see for yourself!

Office 365 cloud app security comparison guide-CTA XXL