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September 10, 2020 (877) 771-2384 sales@wheelhouseit.com Fort Lauderdale · New York · Los Angeles

3 Ways Microsoft Azure can Help SMBs Protect Critical Data

Nick B
By Nick B

It's a myth that data hackers and thieves primarily focus their efforts on attacking large organizations. In fact, 43% of all data breaches in 2019 occurred against small to medium-sized businesses.

Regrettably, over 50% of those attacked did not have sufficient in-house resources (staff) to resolve their breach. Instead, they were forced to turn to outside sources to resolve all the issues associated with their attack. The average cost of an SMB data breach came in at a staggering $120,000 -- a crushing blow for the unprepared.

Thankfully, there is a way to prepare for and avoid such a costly attack. Microsoft's Azure platform allows even smaller businesses to have access to enterprise-level security and threat protection tools, for both on-premise data and applications, along with their cloud-based counterparts. Even as small and medium-sized businesses have faced incredible challenges on multiple fronts in recent months, it still remains true that corporate data is one of the top assets an organization must protect at all times.

Protect Cloud Applications

If they haven't yet made the move, it's still likely the average small to medium-sized business is considering a move to cloud-based applications. With Microsoft Azure, IT administrators have the ability to classify and tag cloud content both at the application and device levels. With security tools from Azure, businesses can encrypt employee emails as well as block the sharing of confidential data such as credit card and social security numbers. Azure security tools can also set up encryption, tracking, and revocation for critical internal documents.

Security tools within Azure can provide for continuous monitoring of shared files and detect signs of email impersonation in real time. For additional protection, Azure clients can also easily add another layer of security by employing multi-factor authentication.

Azure's Identity Protection Tools

Microsoft has harnessed the power of AI (artificial intelligence) in order to provide IT personnel with critical user behavior metrics that can help identify significant and potentially adverse changes. Since the average data hacker spends the first six months simply conducting reconnaissance work within the systems of their next victim before actually making a strike, it's vitally important for IT administrators to have tools to alert them to take corrective action as soon as possible. 

Azure's security tools provide IT administrators with advanced monitoring and reporting tools that can alert them to suspicious user behavior, abnormal downloads, and high-risk usage of cloud applications, so they aren't caught by surprise months down the road after a data hacker enters a system. A great feature of Azure's security tools is that they are all easily integrated with the operating systems and applications that a company's workforce uses every day.

Securing Devices

Especially in today's working environment which has shown a sharp increase in remote work, that often translates into an on-the-go work setting. This means securing corporate devices is more important than ever. For those companies who allow their employees to use BYOD (bring your own device) for work-related purposes, companies need a way to ensure those devices are secure as well. 

Microsoft Azure offers two such programs, Microsoft Intune and Enterprise Mobility and Security to accomplish these types of protection. Tools like Intune can protect corporate data with or without device enrollment. That means businesses can provide the flexibility their staff may need, while still ensuring vital corporate assets remain secure. IT administrators can encrypt both applications and devices, set conditional access policies, and force multi-factor authentication for corporate apps.

Azure's security tools work with both Android and iOS operating systems, which means staff members have the flexibility they need when it comes to choice of devices, whether their choice is a smartphone or tablet. If a device is ever lost or stolen, any critical data on the device can be removed either by application-level or a total remote device erasure.

Summary

As more and more small to medium-sized businesses are trending toward allowing either partial or full remote work force models for their employees, it becomes even more important to have the necessary tools to retain strict control over all of the security aspects associated with a dispersed workforce.

In recent months, data hackers and thieves have notably stepped up their efforts to take advantage of these sudden changes in corporate working environments. Companies must remain exceptionally diligent in their efforts to acquire the appropriate security tools that will allow them to combat the rising level of ransomware and social engineering attacks.

If you'd like to know more about how Microsoft Azure security tools can help your small or medium-sized business avoid a data breach, please contact us.

microsoft, azure

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