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How to Defend Against Advanced Attacks with Zero Trust in Microsoft 365?

Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly complex, with actors using a wide range of tactics to penetrate, expand across, and persist in affected infrastructure. Organizations are adopting the Zero Trust model across their environment to increase their resilience, consistency, and responsiveness to such attacks that involve the use of advanced tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP). Applying Zero Trust principles will help organizations protect devices better, implement stronger passwords, and minimize gaps in coverage. In this article, we will explore how organizations can implement Zero Trust principles in Microsoft 365.

How to Migrate from Implicit Trust to Zero Trust in Microsoft 365?

In contrast to implicit trust that assumes that everything inside a corporate network is safe, the Zero Trust model assumes breach and explicitly verifies the security status of identity, endpoint, network, and other resources, using a wide range of signals and data. Risks are minimized using the least privileged access with contextual real-time policy enforcement. Rapid detection, prevention, and remediation of attacks are enabled using behavior analytics and large datasets powered by Automation and Machine Learning. Here is how the Zero Trust model can be implemented in Microsoft 365.

  • Explicit verification

    Microsoft 365 accounts are protected with Azure AD (Active Directory). Microsoft processes over eight trillion signals every day and uses advanced analytics to detect subtle anomalies. Organizations can implement a Zero Trust verification posture with endpoint health and compliance, device compliance policies, app protection policies, session monitoring, and control, and resource sensitivity, that can enhance signals. Microsoft 365 accounts, especially privileged accounts, should be configured with protections such as multi-factor authentication MFA (Multi Factor Authentication), IP range restrictions, device compliance, and access reviews.

  • Implementing least privileged access

    With the least privileged access, permissions are granted to appropriate environments and devices, minimizing opportunities for lateral movement for attackers. Attacks can be compartmentalized by limiting the access of compromised users, devices, and users using strong authentication, session limitations, and additional human approvals and processes. Using Azure AD in combination with Microsoft Defender, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, after routing traffic using Azure Networking, Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), or Azure AD App Proxy, depending upon the scenario, can ensure that Zero Trust controls, such as access, authentication, compliance, and routing are enforced effectively.

  • Assuming breach

    Assume Breach is the final principle of the Zero Trust model. As per this principle, processes and systems are built assuming that a breach has already happened or is about to soon. Redundant security mechanisms, system telemetry, tools to detect anomalies, and insights generated from them to automate actions to prevent, respond and remediate are used to implement such systems. Rich cloud analytics and automation capabilities in Microsoft 365 Defender can help assess attacker behavior and quickly begin their eviction and remediation procedures.

Apps4Rent Can Help with Microsoft 365 Security Deployment

The risks of advanced attacks, such as Solorigate, can be significantly reduced in risk or mitigated by implementing the Zero Trust security model. Enabling MFA can be the single most crucial step to reduce the possibility of account compromise. As a Microsoft Gold Partner for Cloud Platform and Cloud Productivity, Apps4Rent can help organizations with Microsoft 365 licensing, deployment, and customization. Call, chat or email our Microsoft 365 security specialists, available 24/7 for assistance.

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