10 Mar 2017 - Digital Strategy // By Productive Edge Team

Microsoft Tech Summit Cloud IO Demo Takeaways: Secure Score and Fast Track

In today's data-rich corporate environments, it can be challenging to manage data and make it accessible to the right people at the right time. The oversight of these endless streams of data is a full time job, whether it's just one person or a whole team. Still, even the slightest security breach can mean a multimillion dollar lawsuit. It can be tempting to perceive data as more of a liability than an asset. It's important to remember: information isn't the problem, but managing it effectively is a challenge.

Microsoft's Cloud IO tools are designed to help administrators gauge the state of their Office 365 implementation with regard to security, compliance, and identification of opportunities for optimization and risk mitigation. Depending on size and circumstance, each organization has its own specific set of needs - from multi-national data management requirements down to single departments managed by 1 or 2 people. Regardless, the tough question everyone must answer is: what type of security standards make sense for my organization? Once the appropriate opportunities have been identified, how can my organization achieve these goals?

Often, decisions about transitioning certain data to the cloud and updating security standards are delayed or complicated by the process of approaching decision makers. Even if the IT team has an idea of what needs to be done, communicating the value to business decision makers to obtain their approval can be a messy process. Microsoft’s Cloud IO tool, Secure Score, is designed to help IT administrators spell out the business value in updating security standards and enhancing cloud integration. Once a path to success has been identified, and the security and compliance team has reached alignment with decision makers, Microsoft's Fast Track tool streamlines the process of implementing the desired updates and enhancements.

A Little Bit About Secure Score and Fast Track

The Microsoft Cloud IO tools provide scope to security and compliance. It gives a score on current security and compliance settings, and it provides recommendations on security and compliance opportunities. It also provides a report card and roadmap for future enhancements.

For example, in Share Score, you may find that your organization has opportunities to improve the security of file sharing in Office 365. The program may recommend implementing Office 365 native security capabilities to remedy these vulnerabilities.

As another example, let's take authentication approach. In a world where data is abundant, devices are increasingly diverse and business is going global, the imperative of situationally-aware information security is more apparent now than ever before. Gatekeeping data through modern authentication practices is, therefore, of utmost importance. Organizations typically fall into one of the following categories - from low-security single sign on throughout the organization, to advanced conditional access limited by user and device:

  • L1) Single sign-on (SSO) across the board
  • L2) Syncing local directory service, admins have multi-factor authentication
  • L3) multi-factor authentication across the board, limit access to company data to managed devices
  • L4) conditional access, limited by user and device

Cloud IO can help organizations running on Office 365 get from any of these levels to any desired higher level, depending on organizational needs. From there, Fast Track spells out the specific requirements and steps to implementation of new security features. For example, in organizations where single sign on is the established practice, Cloud IO may recommend upgrading to multi-factor authentication. Fast Track would then spell out the requirements for the upgrade and enable the IT team to deliver the updates as quickly as possible.


The Microsoft Cloud IO Roadmap

In July of 2017, Microsoft will be offering ½ day structured workshops on the Cloud IO tools. They’ll also begin offering web-based authenticated experiences to assess current configuration and usage of security tools via automated assessments and Microsoft or partner-led assessments. Lastly, the platform will begin to offer personalized planning and detailed implementation guides generated from assessments with a prioritized backlog of updates.

These tools are sure to revolutionize the ways organizations approach cloud integration and the associate security and compliance updates for Office 365. Even more exciting is the prospect of bridging the gap between security goals and business decision makers. Among the exciting implications of securing data in the cloud are the prospect of protecting organizations against expensive lawsuits, building greater consumer trust and safer, more efficient organizations.


For more information on Cloud IO tools or an assessment of your current security and compliance standards, connect with our Microsoft-certified team for a complimentary consultation at Services@ProductiveEdge.com or 312-561-9000.

Microsoft Tech Summit Cloud IO Demo Takeaways: Secure Score and Fast Track