Cyber threats are one of the biggest hazards of our time, and the situation is not getting better. A 2021 cyber report from Hiscox shows the number of businesses targeted in the past year increased from 38% to 43%. Email is one of the primary ways cybercriminals use to attack and compromise small business IT management and security.
Small and medium-sized businesses are often the most vulnerable to threats because they lack the resources for sophisticated protection. Microsoft 365’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) has some great features to help keep small business IT management environments secure and prevent bad actors from using email against you.
Checks Attachments Virtually
We’ve long been told not to open any email attachments unless you’re expecting them or are sure of the source. Even that isn’t a foolproof way to protect your systems from unsafe attachments, however. Microsoft 365’s ATP has a Safe Attachments option you can apply to individuals in your team or the company as a whole. The program automatically opens every file sent to your users in a virtual environment and tests the files for malicious content. If they are risky in any way, they are removed without opening in your real-time environment.
Fights Phishing Emails
Phishing emails are a common method that criminals use to impersonate companies and individuals and gather sensitive information illegally. Microsoft’s ATP uses algorithms and machine learning to spot phishing attempts. The program then warns the recipient, moves the message to spam or trash, and records information to help it identify similar future attempts from the same source.
Sanitizes Suspicious Links
Like attachments, links in messages can be a significant risk factor for email security. Often, the link text says one thing but points to a completely different URL. On occasion, the sender may have been hacked and the email spoofed without their knowledge. Whatever the method, clicking on the safest-looking link can be a gamble that is better not to take.
Microsoft 365 ATP’s Safe Links feature checks URLs before opening them and notifies your small business IT management team if it’s blocked, malicious, or safe. If it contains a threat, the user gets a warning message instead of the page opening up. This process applies to links embedded in documents attached to an email, too.
Allows Intelligent Spoofing
Spoofing is also an act of impersonation, during which emails are disguised so they appear to come from a trusted source. In some instances, companies may legitimately imitate another sender for marketing or bulk email purposes, so blocking all spoofing isn’t practical. Microsoft 365’s ATP can create filters that identify authentic activity from malicious activity and enables you to block the latter.
Automates Incident Responses
The cyber threats are ever-changing, but on any given day there is a whole slew of threats in play. By automating investigation processes and responses to well-known, current risks, Microsoft 365 ATP can keep your systems up to date. The artificial intelligence used in ATP can check for viruses or intrusions and delete any suspicious messages that fit the criteria set by your company. This allows your cybersecurity team to function more efficiently and delegates the “grunt” work to the system.
Delivers Business Intelligence
It’s a victory to foil an attempt at compromising a company’s systems, but what about the next day’s threat, and the next? Knowing what to expect provides cybersecurity teams with a valuable asset they can use to forestall future attacks. The Microsoft 365 ATP also offers rich reporting capabilities that enable you to develop business intelligence to inform your actions going forward.
Analytics allow companies to develop online assets, insights, and remedial steps that can help keep them safe in the future. Given that some companies lose up to $300,000 in a single cyber incident, it makes sense for the organization’s bottom line to maintain IT security as far as possible. Don’t be one of the small businesses that lose billions annually through inefficient IT management.