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Wayne Hollomby, Cobweb Solutions Architect, writes …
Microsoft 365 is fast becoming the business productivity suite of choice across the UK, incorporating as it does the Office apps, along with Windows 10 and the mobility management and security platform, EM+S (Enterprise, Mobility and Security) - and not least because of the updates and upgrades Microsoft is continually releasing to ensure that customers have the best possible solution to meet their needs.
One of the latest updates to be announced is that Conditional Access is now part of the Microsoft 365 Business service - and which customers can start utilising for its benefits today, as it has automatically been enabled on all existing Microsoft 365 Business tenants.
What is Conditional Access?
A major concern for every business is security, and particularly for those with services such as Microsoft 365, which gives users access from any location, and from a variety of devices - and which may or may not be company owned.
With Conditional Access, businesses can now control how company data is accessed to a highly detailed level, and to meet company-defined policy requirements.
Control can be managed according to location, device state, cloud application, user or group, and sign-in risk, and businesses can ensure that MFA (multi-factor authentication) is enforced per user, or cloud application.
I’ve outlined below some of the ways in which Conditional Access is most commonly used to enhance security:
- Restricting access only to those in trusted network locations
- Enforcing use of MFA for users when working outside trusted company locations
- Blocking legacy authentication protocols that don’t support MFA
- Restricting access to corporate data to devices managed by the IT department
- Restricting access to company data to request coming from trusted apps
- Ensuring app protection policies are used, before giving access to employee owned devices.
From these few examples, I hope you can see that Conditional Access really does give you back the control you may have experienced with a traditional firewall in the on-premises world. I hope it also shows the extent and level of detail of control with which security can be enhanced - enabling access while safeguarding corporate data in Office 365, and access to third-party cloud applications using Azure AD for single sign-on.
This really is great news, as it means that - while previously, businesses were required to purchase additional licences to enhance security - Microsoft 365 Business can now be considered a comprehensive security solution for SMBs.
Microsoft has really listened to feedback from their customers and have demonstrated that, along with other past additions to Microsoft 365 Business - such as Hybrid Azure AD Join support, Shared computer activation for Office and self-service password writeback for on-premises users - they’re determined to continue developing and improving the product based on feedback and comment from the real world, and to ensure that Microsoft 365 Business continues to represent a single unified sku for SMBs.
If you’d like more information about Conditional Access - or Microsoft 365 Business the product - the Cobweb team will be very happy to help.
You can reach the team via firstname.lastname@example.org, or on 0333 009 5941.
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