ISO 27001

Microsoft 365: Implementing ISO 27001, Challenges, And The Way Forward

  • By The Cloud Factory
  • January 27, 2023

As the world is going digital, enterprises are realizing the criticality of protecting their core information assets from unwanted cybersecurity threats. This is where ISO 27001 assumes significance. Its objective is to help organizations protect their information assets from modification, accidental or unauthorised access, and loss of confidentiality using risk assessment, controls and procedures.

The Microsoft 365 offers enough features and functionalities that help organizations in lowering various security threats by providing them access with tools to evaluate their current and past security status and decide on steps to prevent future cyber risks. These includes dashboards, reports, and interactive features like Microsoft Secure Score, all created to give security administrators the visibility, controls, and guidance they need to enhance security posture.

But to implement these solutions require a comprehensive understanding of the security architecture and expertise to leverage Microsoft 365 various security features and functionalities.

Implementing ISO 27001 Security Protocols in Microsoft 365: Challenges Galore

Microsoft 365 is often targeted by threat actors due to its high popularity. These threat actors can access Microsoft 365 tenants by exploiting or compromising.

Though a cloud solution like Microsoft 365 has been rigorously designed to meet stringent ISO 27001, there are many challenges:

  • First, understanding the scope of the security standard and how it applies Microsoft 365 is not easy. This includes identifying the specific information security risks and controls that need to be applied as prescribed by ISMS and ISO 27001 standard.

  • Second, ensuring that the necessary policies, procedures, and controls are in place to meet the standard's requirements is another challenge. This includes not only technical controls, such as access controls and encryption, but goes beyond that, such as incident management and awareness training.

  • Third, aligning the security standard with the organization's overall information security program is not easy. It includes aligning organization's risk management processes with the security standard requirements, such as incident management processes in the Microsoft 365 environment.

  • Fourth, organizations need to consider the compliance aspect of the standard, which can be tricky as Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based service. It demands a thorough understanding of cloud-based environment, which is starkly different from on-premises services.

  • Last, the security environment rests on multiple assumptions as it’s also a trade-off between security and productivity. Making it too stringent hampers collaboration and employee’s productivity, while relaxing it may put your organization’s data at threat. Let’s understand this in detail.

Implementing Security Protocols: A Combination of Arts And Science

Although many organizations have data classification policies, but they are mostly confined at the theoretical level. They are not effectively implemented in practice. For instance, Microsoft 365 offers robust data classification capability, but the primary challenge with data classification is identifying the most efficient and accurate method for achieving this goal. Assigning this task to employees can be both time-consuming and imprecise. Additionally, a system that relies on the trust of business users can be difficult to predict in terms of the appropriateness and accuracy. At this stage, things become highly subjective and maintaining the ongoing compliance with the standard becomes an art. A managed service provider understands these challenges better and knows how to address them effectively.

Wrapping Up

On a final note, implementing ISO 27001 or any other security standard in Microsoft 365 can be a complex and challenging process, but with the right approach and resources, organizations can effectively meet these standards and improve their overall information security posture.

Drop an email to set up a 30-minutes call to learn more about leveraging Microsoft 365 to meet the stringent ISMS security requirements.