How To Use the Microsoft Secure Score To Optimize Your Cybersecurity

How To Use the Microsoft Secure Score To Optimize Your Cybersecurity

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Static cybersecurity strategies won’t cut it in a world where digital threats are continuously evolving. Instead, we must regularly update our tactics to protect our data while operating online. But how do we know which methods to adapt to provide the most vigorous defense?

Nowadays, most businesses use the Microsoft 365 ecosystem to manage how they communicate and store data in the workplace. Suppose you want to take more specific actions to prioritize security in that setting. In that case, the Microsoft Secure Score offers your organization a powerful tool to assess and quantify your security posture. You’ll also receive actionable recommendations for boosting your digital resilience.

Below, we’ll explore how you can use the Security Score to guide your organization’s security strategy, ensuring it aligns with industry standards and best practices.

What is the Microsoft Secure Score?

The Microsoft Security Score is a feature in the portal for Microsoft 365 Defender, Microsoft’s extended detection and response (XDR) solution. Businesses can strengthen their security strategy in this centralized location by identifying, investigating, and responding to threats across their infrastructure, whether within their endpoints, identities, email, or applications.

The Security Score specifically gives organizations a numerical grade on their current level of security.  It seeks to uncover weaknesses and vulnerabilities in how organizations configure the Microsoft 365 environment, user behavior, account activity, and device management. The number also helps you create internal and external benchmarks: you can compare your level of security as it changes with time to see your progress, and you can also see how you measure up compared to similar organizations.

A higher score means that your security posture is more robust and that you’ve already implemented a larger number of the actions they recommend to minimize your risk of a serious cybersecurity incident.

Remember, the Microsoft Secure Score is one of several excellent tools for mitigating threats. After learning about it in-depth here, visit our free resource library to check out our guide chock-full of recommendations for other methods to help get better results out of Microsoft 365.

Key Components of the Microsoft Secure Score

So, how exactly does Microsoft determine your Secure Score? What’s their system for coming up with the number on display?

The tool will give you points based on whether you’ve configured certain recommended security features, accomplished specific tasks, or addressed their recommendations using an alternative strategy, such as a third-party solution. You will only receive recommendations for the Microsoft products that your organization uses.

The tool will score your activity on whether you’ve fully completed the recommended action. However, in some cases, you can receive partial points if you’ve finished it for some devices or users.

Besides your current score, you can also see your “planned score” to determine how much you can improve after you complete specific actions, as well as your “achievable score,” which shows how much you can improve your score based on your level of risk acceptance and your current Microsoft licenses.

You’ll likely never receive a perfect score of 100% since certain recommendations might make your environment less user-friendly for your team or may not work in your distinct circumstances. In many cases, you may accept the risk to maintain productivity. However, your score can still help you create the best-case secure environment to meet your needs.

Benefits of Using Microsoft Secure Score

Leveraging the Microsoft Security Score means that you gain a clearly defined roadmap for making decisions about improving your cybersecurity. You’ll no longer need to rely on assumptions or intuition because you can take informed action based on measurable security insights.

This benefit will ensure that your tactics are more effective and cost-effective in protecting your digital assets! This streamlined security assessment process will reduce manual labor related to analysis and help you avoid wasting money on resources that don’t significantly impact your security.

Complying with industry standards and regulations will also become much easier since you will have explicit instructions and a structured approach to keeping your data confidential, available, and intact.

The Score and its accompanying features also help you proactively minimize risk, making your organization less likely to respond to threats reactively during a crisis. You will have already made preemptive changes to thwart many types of risk in their tracks before they can cause any actual damage. It will also be more straightforward to manage your permissions so unauthorized users don’t access your confidential, sensitive data, reinforcing stakeholder trust in your team.

Ultimately, this will help keep your organization operating smoothly, with less data and financial loss.

Strategies to Improve Your Microsoft Secure Score

Think about your Microsoft Secure Score as a snapshot depicting the overall puzzle that makes up your cybersecurity. You must address various pieces across different categories to improve your organization’s score – but make sure to prioritize acting on the recommendations that are most feasible for your organization at the current time, based on your resources and limitations, as well as the recommendations that will have a bigger impact.

Tackling how you approach identity within your Microsoft 365 environment is a crucial place to start. Among our suggestions for improving internet security, enabling multi-factor authentication is always among our go-to tips – because it’s a simple way to add an extra layer of security. Enabling MFA will improve your score – and Defender offers partial credit as more users do it. We also recommend reviewing permissions and user roles to ensure team members only receive privileges based on what’s required to accomplish their tasks.

Your organization must also focus on how you store and use your data across Microsoft 365 products to improve your Security Score. Creating and enforcing strong data loss prevention policies can help you align your data use with Microsoft’s best practices. These measures include encrypting your data when necessary and classifying and labeling it to ensure only authorized users can access it.

Implementing advanced threat protection (ATP) tools will help you defend against sophisticated threats and boost your score. For example, most ATP tools focus on endpoint protection. As a result, you’ll proactively maintain your device health and avoid getting recommendations for remediating issues because you’ve already met security standards.

Organizations should develop holistic strategies for maintaining and increasing their security score over time. Beyond addressing your security recommendations in Defender, it’s critical to build a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity that involves regularly assessing your technology and updating your systems, software, and applications. You should also educate all employees on behaving more securely when interacting with your digital tools and assets.

You can get more ideas for improving your Microsoft Secure Score by checking out our essential building blocks for a strong cybersecurity framework.

Partner With designDATA To Strengthen Your Security Resilience

The Microsoft Secure Score offers organizations a valuable method for understanding their current level of security and vulnerability. By regularly monitoring and working to improve their score, organizations can make themselves more resilient to future hazards. And when data remains safe, business can continue as usual, with minimal disruption and better productivity.

When your organization partners with designDATA to implement our cybersecurity solutions, we will demystify your Secure Score. Our experts will guide you through implementing the recommended actions and employing other strong tactics to defend your data.

After that, learn more about our approach in this guide to how designDATA leverages the Microsoft Secure Score.

Want to discover other tools for enhancing workplace productivity?

We’ve got three exclusive training videos on using AI to increase efficiency in everyday tasks, from writing and forecasting trends to creating presentations and managing emails.

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