This post summarizes how we can use Microsoft 365 to modernize our IT security.

If you are doing it correctly, Microsoft 365 could be your coolest and most practical and cost effective ($20/user/month) IT security and management systems. This is part 1.

Traditional IT security management components

  • Domain Controllers
  • Domain joined client PC’s
  • File server security groups
  • On-Premise BDR’s (backup and disaster recovery)
  • On-Premise Firewalls
  • VPN’s
  • Computer setups/imaging
  • Computer antivirus

Email security upgrade to Microsoft Defender for Office 365 | Safe Links & Safe Attachments

Traditional way:
  • Basic spam and malware filter inclided with exchange online
Modernized way:
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 
    • Safe attachments
    • Safe links
    • $2/user/month add-on
Old interface was in

Now it has been moved to

You will need security administrator permission to view following screenshot:

Email “backup” in Microsoft 365 | Retention policies


Traditional way:
  • Exchange on-premise, local backup
  • Using Microsoft Office 365
    • Default 15 days exchange online “double-delete” retention policy
Modernized way:
  • No need to backup email data
  • 3 Year then delete exchange online email retention policy
  • Customize your retention policy to meet your legal compliance

Recently, the information governance menu changedto Data Lifecycle Management:

Microsoft 365 Active Directory (Azure Active Directory)


Traditional way:
  • Windows Server Active Directory
Modernized way:
  • Azure Active Directory Premium P1

“Domain join” computers in Microsoft 365 Azure Active Director


Traditional way:
  • Windows Server Active Directory “Domain join”
Modernized way:
  • Azure AD Join
  • Workplace Join – Personal computers/devices “BYOD”

Azure AD join is your option for the corporate owned, personally enabled (COPE) endpoint device scenario. Because the endpoint is corporate owned, you can enforce policy that wouldn’t work with personally owned devices.

Bring your Own Device (BYOD) in Microsoft 365 | Workplace Join computers in Azure Active Directory


For BYOD, Azure AD gives us Azure AD registration. An Azure AD-registered device is “lightly managed” by Azure AD admins. Users here can sign in to their device by using either a local device ID (for instance, their Apple account on an iOS device) or their Azure AD identity.
Workplace Joined Device: mobile devices, such as Android phones. 

Microsoft 365 Multi factor Authentication

Traditional ways:

  • No
  • or  Admins only
Modernized way:
  • Azure AD MFA for everyone

App passwords in place of MFA for legacy devices and software service accounts


Modernized way:

Microsoft 365 Global Password Protection Service

Traditional ways:

  • Weak passwords and their variants allowed
Modernized way:
  • Global Password Protection
  • Weak passwords and their variants BANNED

Microsoft 365 User Self service password reset

Traditional ways:

  • Windows Server AD & Azure AD, manual User Password Resets
Modernized way:
  • Microsoft 365 User Self-service password resets
  • Password write-back to Windows Server AD

Windows OS Logon Modernization | Biometrics

Traditional ways:

  • Enter Passwords to Login to Windows
  • Your Smartphone has better login experience
Modernized way:
  • Windows Hello Biometric login
    • webcam
    • Fingerprint reader
    • PIN
  • Inexpensive, reliable, secure

Advanced Microsoft 365 Active Directory & Geographic Sign in Blocks

Traditional ways with your Office 365 default:

  • Sign-ins work from anywhere in the world
  • Free for all
Modernized way:
  • Geographic Block
    • Sign-ins ONLY work from countries we allow
    • Everywhere else is BLOCKED by default with specific TEMPORARY exceptions

Azure Identity Protection | Machine learning Risky Sign ins & Risky Users


  • Upgrade from Azure AD Premium Plan 1 to Plan 2
    • Azure Identity Protection
      • Risky sign-ins
      • Risky users

Conditional Access Policies

 Traditional ways:

  • No minimum security standards to access, work with, store company data
Modernized way:
  • Conditional Access Policies
    • Conditions we require for users to access, work with, and store company data

File shares setup in Microsoft 365 | Teams & SharePoint

Traditional ways:

  • Windows Server Department File SHARES
Modernized way:
  • Teams Channel Files (Highly recommended)
  • Or SharePoint Document Libraries

File share security in Microsoft 365 | Teams and SharePoint

Traditional ways:

  • Windows Server Department File SECURITY
Modernized way:
  • Teams – Microsoft 365 Groups
  • Or SharePoint Security Groups

User folder setup and security in Microsoft 365

Traditional ways:

  • File Server User Folders and Security
Modernized way:
  • OneDrive

File share security in Microsoft 365 Advanced

  Traditional ways:
  • Once users have access to file shares, they can do whatever they wat to do with data 
    • copy/delete/share/steal
  • Nothing is logged or tracked

Microsoft Cloud App Security | Insider Threat Protection

Modernized way:
  • Microsoft cloud app security
    • insider threat management
      • risk user behavior is continuously tracked
      • risky copy/download/share/delete is alerted or blocked

Microsoft has changed the name from Microsoft Cloud App Security to Microsoft Defender for Cloud App

Microsoft 365 Ransomware Crypto locker Antivirus Protection | Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Traditional ways:

  • Nothing or Weak (basic email spam filter or anti malware )
  • 3rd party Antivirus
Modernized way:
  • SharePoint/Teams Files/OneDrive
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365
    • Safe attachments (i.e., files) in SharePoint, Teams and OneDrive
    • Microsoft Cloud App Security

Microsoft 365 File Backups

Traditional ways:

  • 3rd party backup software and hardware
  • 3rd party online backup services
  • Expensive Disaster recovery site
Modernized way:
  • Microsoft 365 
    • Document Versioning
    • 2 Stage Recycle Bin
    • Data Retention Policies
    • Preservation Hold Libraries
    • Free disaster recovery
Teams = Specify retention policy per team
  • e.g. Legal/HR team files = Forever retention policy
  • All other teams files = 7 years then delete
SharePoint = specify retention policy per site
  • All document libraries in the same site will have the same policy

By netsec

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