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Getting to “Yes” on Office 365: 7 Cloud App Policies That Your CISO Will Love

Jul 19 2015
Cloud Best Practices
Office 365 Security

Enterprises of all sizes are standardizing on the Office 365 suite for collaboration, productivity, email, and storage. Our latest Netskope Cloud Report notes the significant growth in the “for business” versions of Microsoft apps like OneDrive and Outlook, suggesting share gains and successful efforts at monetizing freemium versions.

Despite the growth, security teams are proceeding cautiously. They have concerns about user and admin access policies, data governance, and security monitoring for risky or anomalous behavior in the suite.

Many customers have been able to get to “yes” by giving security teams the granular policy controls and monitoring they need to get comfortable fully embracing the move to Office 365. Here is a list of 7 specific policies crowd-sourced from Netskope customers that helped them get to “yes.”

  1. Right-size admin privileges
    CISOs want to put in place a “least privilege” administrative model to separate control over Office 365 apps. They separate privileges for administrators so that, for example, the SharePoint admin is not also the Outlook one.
  2. Be granular in user access
    CISOs need to offer granular Office 365 access to users depending on device. For example, they enforce access policies that specify full native access to all apps in the suite for a corporate-issued device, but web-based email only for a “bring your own” device.
  3. Enforce activity-based policies
    CISOs want to say “yes” to Office 365 but “no” to certain activities. They limit the riskiest of those activities based on context such as group, device, geography, activity, or content. Examples include “Don’t share content outside of the company” or “Upload business content to OneDrive, but not to other storage apps.”
  4. Find and secure sensitive content in Office 365
    CISOs know that sensitive content will end up in the cloud. As long as they can e-discover that content against their key DLP profiles and take action such as revoke public access, change sharing permissions, encrypt content, or quarantine content for review by IT or legal teams, they can get more comfortable with data in the cloud.
  5. Find and secure sensitive content en route to Office 365
    To complement the e-discovery of content already in the cloud, CISOs need to identify and take similar actions on content as it’s being uploaded to the cloud.
  6. Find and secure sensitive content in the Office 365 ecosystem
    Beyond apps in the Office 365 suite, CISOs are concerned about the web of interconnected ecosystem apps that integrate and share data with Office 365. These include content routing and approvals, document signing, and vertical workflows for industries like media, legal, and healthcare. If CISOs are enforcing policies in Office 365, they want to extend those policies to any apps that are accessing data from within the suite.
  7. Detect risky or anomalous behavior in Office 365
    CISOs need to know they can detect, understand, and remediate risky or anomalous behavior
that could signal security threats, data leakage, or even the presence of malware in Office 365. They need to alert on and prioritize anomalies such as excessive downloading
or sharing, users logging in from multiple locations or devices, or failed logins. From there, they need to drill down and build a forensic audit trail of activity to prove wrongdoing or to report for compliance. They also need to pull that data into their existing SIEM and/or incident management tools.

There you have it. Seven practical policies that help business adopters and CISO get to “yes” on Office 365.

Any policies making a difference in your organization’s ability to move quickly on your Office 365 deployment? Tell us here or on #cloudpolicy.