How you can manage MFA strengths in Microsoft 365: A guide

How to control multi-factor authentication strengths in Microsoft 365

With more than 1 million organizations worldwide making full use of its tools, Microsoft Office 365 (M365 or Microsoft 365) offers businesses all the cloud-based tools they need to enhance their operations and streamline their processes. But like with all technologies, security has been and will continue to be a top concern for M365 users.

An efficient way to protect your data and systems is through multi-factor authentication (MFA). Microsoft 365 offers MFA as a security feature, and if you are using this platform, it is important to know how to manage your MFA strengths.

This simple guide will take a closer look at MFA, its importance, and how businesses can manage MFA in Microsoft 365. With it, you will be able to rework your cybersecurity strategies, strengthen your cybersecurity posture, and protect your Microsoft-managed data.

Multi-factor authentication, in simple terms

MFA is a security measure that requires businesses to provide multiple forms of authentication (a minimum of two) to access their accounts. It is an effective way to add an extra layer of security to business accounts and networks, as it makes it more difficult for hackers to breach IT systems and access sensitive information.

With MFA, the information that you present must be at least two of the following:

Why is MFA important?

MFA can serve as the root of any access control system. MFA can help users enforce access control policies to make sure that only authorized people are accessing business resources. Since MFA calls for multiple authentication methods, it can allow users to deploy additional security layers for their M365 environment.

Not only can this improve an organization’s security status, but it can also reduce the likelihood of data breaches and other cyber risks penetrating networks. In the chance that a threat actor manages to compromise an employee’s password, they will be unable to access the business’s data without the other authentication factors.

Why do businesses need to manage MFA strengths for M365?

MFA authentication methods vary in strengths. Some (for example, text messages) are considered weaker compared to other solutions that would be labeled “strong”, such as Windows Hello for Business

To ensure that your organization is protected with the right levels of security, you need to develop a multi-layered security framework that ties together the strongest login safety measures. Once launched, MFA strengths—the security controls that allow you to edit the specific configurations of your company’s MFA methods—will enforce a company’s login policies in real time.   

By actively managing peoples’ access to your company resources, you will be able to improve your cybersecurity posture and limit what parties can view, edit, and share your information. And when you have MFA in your Microsoft 365 environment, you and your team will be able to utilize the full value of your M365 solutions (within a secure environment) for greater productivity.

How can businesses enable MFA within Microsoft 365?

There are various ways companies can access and manage MFA in Microsoft 365, including using the Microsoft Authenticator app. But to configure and deploy it, admins typically have to go to one of the following two avenues—conditional access and security defaults.

Turning on MFA with conditional access

With conditional access, you have the ability to customize your security policies (including access control policies) according to the specific needs of your company (for example, by sign-in locations). Moreover, conditional access takes a group approach to enabling MFA, saving you from changing settings for each user individually.

To turn on MFA with conditional access, you need to:

Enabling MFA via the security defaults route

Turning on security defaults activates Microsoft’s pre-set security configurations to help safeguard your company against cyber-attacks and identity-based cyber threats. In other words, this method can deploy MFA efficiently to ensure that your business’s user accounts can make full use of access control policies.

To enable security defaults, you must:

How companies can manage MFA strengths

Implementing MFA for your Microsoft 365 environment calls for more than just enabling security programs and moving on. As some types of authentication are more susceptible to phishing than others, configuring MFA’s strengths will allow you to further secure your applications and accounts, enhancing your Microsoft-focused cybersecurity posture. 

Currently, there is a limit of 15 tailored strengths for MFA solutions. You ought to work with your team and design the strengths ahead of time to ensure that each access control policy is relevant for maximum security.

You can manage MFA strengths by following the necessary steps below:

Improve your cybersecurity posture with Microsoft and cybersecurity professionals

Creating and overseeing Microsoft’s MFA configurations can be challenging. Outside of continuously monitoring the specifications of MFA strengths, effectively managing them calls for expertise in Microsoft cybersecurity solutions and the ins and outs of access control policies. However, it can all be made easier with a team of digital security and Microsoft experts on hand.

The Microsoft specialists at Davenport Group have the skills and knowledge you need to manage MFA strengths, set up and maintain MFA in your Microsoft 365 accounts, and improve your company’s overall cybersecurity posture. Get in touch with the team today to find out how MFA will benefit your business.