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In August 2023, Microsoft rebranded a set of services formerly known as Azure Active Directory to Entra ID. Microsoft gave this product a new name to underscore how far Microsoft has come in developing these defenses how important it is that we adopt them now. Threats continually evolve and grow, so we must continually evolve our defenses. Entra ID improves defenses against the risk of compromised Microsoft 365 accounts which can be very disruptive. Bad actors attempt to gain access to email accounts at your firm to access confidential information and masquerade as one of your employees to send bad emails to their contacts. While the threat landscape continually changes, email compromises remain the number one attack vector. This has not changed for decades.

Entra ID offers two levels of defense – P1 and P2

Entra ID P1 is included in certain Microsoft license bundles, such as Microsoft 365 Business Premium. It can also be added as an optional standalone subscription to augment other subscription levels. Among other things, P1 allows you to implement a feature called Conditional Access, which can restrict Microsoft 365 access to approved countries only. Many account compromise attacks originate overseas. Limiting geographical access reduces risk.

Entra ID P2 extends the features of P1 and requires an additional subscription. Consider upgrading to this level of defense. At Total Networks, we ensure our accounts are protected with P2 security, which substantially improves our defenses. We are encouraging all clients to adopt this as well. Among other things, P2 adds a feature called Risk Based Protection that uses various strategies including artificial intelligence to block logins that Microsoft feels are riskier, such as impossible travel situations. This occurs when one Office 365 login happens in your office and a second login attempt takes place a few minutes later from the other side of the country. We use these enhanced security features to block certain types of access and flag others for manual review by other team members before granting access.

Consider adopting Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Microsoft’s anti-spam solution (Defender) was historically weaker than other email defenses. But things have changed. Microsoft has spent enormous resources evolving the product and it has recently become Total Network’s recommended solution. Microsoft Defender is included in Microsoft Business Premium or can be purchased as a separate subscription. There is no perfect solution for email security, but Microsoft has compelling functionality today and the world’s largest software development team is working to improve their products. We have begun migrating our clients to this solution and you should consider it as well.

Keep improving your security to manage your risk

Improving your security requires constant research, evaluation, and upgrades. You must keep up with the latest developments or be subject to ever increasing risk. If you have any questions about how the latest updates from Microsoft may benefit your firm, please feel free to reach out to me at dkinsey@totalnetworks.com or call 602-412-5025.