3 Ways Monitoring Exchange Online Improves Security

Barrington Malcolm by   03.12.2019   Auditing

Regardless of where you host of your email, whether it’s by a 3rd party or internal, it is by far one of the most common entry points for external attacks into your systems and data. Because of its importance when it comes to data security, monitoring Exchange Online is critical if you are to ensure its security.

More and more organizations are now choosing to host their emails in the cloud, in particular using Microsoft’s Office 365 product, Microsoft Exchange Online. But hosting such sensitive information in the cloud brings with it its own set of security concerns. Whilst Exchange Online does have some basic reporting and auditing functionality in-built to help with security, it doesn’t go nearly deep enough to provide true peace of mind.

Exchange Online Security Concerns

When we discuss Exchange Online security with our customers, we realize that many organizations still are not able to answer basic security questions related to their Exchange Online environment. The in-built reporting is not able to provide them with detailed information on whether an attacker has gained access to an owners account, for example.

One common method for attackers to gain a foothold in your Exchange Online environment once they are inside is by elevating permissions up to even board level email accounts. Think about the amount of sensitive data they would be able to get their hands on. Would you be able to spot this kind of attack as it’s happening?

Would you be able to spot if an attacker got into your privileged Exchange Online accounts and started making changes to the environment? Exchange Online reports (the in-built ones, at least) only go so far when it comes to proactive and continuous Exchange Online security.

How to Improve Exchange Online Security

The questions we asked in the previous few paragraphs are probably some of the biggest concerns that organizations have when it comes to Exchange Online security, and for good reason. Attacks to Exchange Online commonly take the form of an attacker gaining access to account credentials (perhaps from a spear phishing attack) and then escalating privileges and exfiltrating sensitive data as they go. So how can you combat this kind of threat?

From our past experience, data security platforms like LepideAuditor are probably the best way to ensure that you have adequate auditing, monitoring and alerting in place to detect and react to an Exchange Online threat before it does real damage.

Here are three ways that LepideAuditor helps you to secure Exchange Online:

  1. Permissions Reporting: Ensure that only the right users have access to the right data and get alerts whenever those permissions change. Limit access to sensitive mailboxes and prevent privilege escalation.
  2. Clean up your environment: The more cluttered your O365 environment is, the more likely you are to suffer an Exchange Online attack. Locate and clean up stale accounts, remove open shares and generally improve the security and reduce the potential attack surface of your environment.
  3. Monitor your Exchange Online users: User and entity behavior analytics is the key to spotting and reacting to threats in a timely manner. Being able to identify anomalous user behavior when it comes to your sensitive data and critical mailboxes.

If you’re wondering exactly how LepideAuditor helps you monitor your Exchange Online security, you can find all the information you need right here.

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