Microsoft Office 365 is a preferred product for thousands of small businesses around the world. Not only is it cost-effective – it’s also highly functional. The problem is that, like any other business solution, it’s not impenetrable. By paying closer attention to security, you can keep your account (and business) safer.

4 Ways to Protect Your Office 365 Account

Office 365 is an awesome product for small businesses. Not only does it offer seamless integration and coordination with the tools you’re already accustomed to accessing – like Outlook, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Publisher – but it also provides anytime, anywhere access via the cloud. Another selling point is the intuitive nature of the platform, which is designed for organizations without dedicated IT staff.

The security behind Office 365 is certainly advanced, but it’s still imperfect. In a hostile business environment where cyber attacks are on the rise, you can never be too safe.

Here are some practical ways to protect your company’s account and retain peace of mind throughout the process.

  1. Use Third-Party Plugins for Email

The email portion of Office 365 is a chief area of concern. Any additional layers of security you can implement here will help you tremendously in the long run.

The good news is that Microsoft allows for the integration of third-party plugins for greater email security – something 35 percent of customers invest in. One of the top plugins on the market is Virtru, which allows for greater control features, like revoke message access, set expiry times, forward tracking and control, read receipts, and PDF watermarking.

  1. Create Better Passwords

Honestly, this is common sense by now, but it’s amazing how many businesses still don’t do a good job of creating complex passwords that are hard for hackers to compromise.

It isn’t that difficult to create a secure password. The best rule of thumb is to use a password that’s at least 10-12 characters in length and contains a mix of uppercase and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. It’s also best to avoid predictable words and to change your password frequently (at least once every couple of months).

  1. Use Two-Factor Verification

A complex password is a nice a starting point for bolstering security, but it’s also recommended that you turn on two-factor verification. This ensures that, even if your password is hacked, the individual accessing your account has to go through an additional layer of security to get inside. Two-factor verification usually requires the individual accessing the account to retrieve a pin code that’s sent via SMS to the phone connected to the account.

  1. Make Your Account Easier to Recover

Sometimes hacks do happen. The key is to be prepared for a quick and effective response in order to mitigate damage and reclaim control over your account.

“Add security info to your account to make it easier to recover your account if it’s hacked,” Microsoft suggests. “Because this info can help keep your account safe, it’s important to keep it up to date. Add or update your security info on the Security basics page. Or, learn more about Security info & security codes and get steps to help protect your account today.”

Don’t Take Security for Granted

Just because you’ve never experienced a cyber attack in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t experience one in the future. Cybercrimes are becoming more frequent and intense, which means you need a plan for stopping them before they affect the integrity of your business.

Whether it’s Office 365 or any other system your business uses, creating a stronger wall of defense will help keep you safe.