Source for content: Robert Crane, CIAOPS

As business processes have moved to the cloud, the posture of company network security has changed. Company data and sensitive files are now often located in cloud storage accounts rather than on a server or computer hard drive.

The same protections for on-premises devices don’t always apply to applications like Microsoft 365 and other cloud tools. Instead of being able to control the physical network connection to data, that data is online and accessible anytime if someone has the right password.

How do you secure your Microsoft 365 accounts? Do you know if your security is as strong as others in your industry? Are you using all the safeguards you have available? (they don’t all come on by default!).

Misconfiguration of settings is the #1 cloud security threat.

One way that you can benchmark your security in Microsoft 365 is through Microsoft Secure Score, a tool in the Microsoft Security Centre.

What is Secure Score?

Microsoft Secure Score provides a measurement of an organisation’s security posture throughout all the areas of the Microsoft 365 platform. The higher the score, the better your security is. The lower the score, the more at risk your account is to a breach.

Secure Score allows you to benchmark your score against others in a similar industry or with a similar number of users. It provides the following key functions:

  • Gives you an overall score on your Microsoft 365 security
  • Tells you what you can do to improve your score
  • Links you to settings that you need to improve your score (thus improving your security)

Improvement Action Groups

The tool divides the many different improvement actions that could be taken to enhance security into three groups. These are:

  • Identity (Azure Active Directory accounts & roles)
  • Device (Microsoft Defender for Endpoint)
  • Apps (Email and cloud apps)

In Secure Score, you’ll be able to see your overall score and your score for each of those three areas within your platform security.

So, what are some of the typical recommendations to improve security?

Some common ones you may run across include:

  • Require MFA (multi-factor authentication) for administrative roles
  • Block executable content from email client and webmail
  • Enable advanced protection against ransomware
  • Block Office applications from injecting code into other processes

What Improvement Actions Can You Take?

Security is something that isn’t necessarily identical across all companies. While there are certain overarching protections that everyone should use, such as properly securing passwords, some may not be a good fit for everyone.

For example, whilst MFA should be implemented in all instances, conditional access can be leveraged to find the right balance between convenience and security to suit the customer.

When addressing a recommendation in Secure Score, you can choose from the following improvement action status options:

  • To address: This means you think this is important and are going to address it in the future, just not right now.
  • Planned: This means you are planning to address this and may already have a timeframe in mind.
  • Risk accepted: This means that you understand the risk but are choosing not to implement this security recommendation. This removes the recommendation from your list.
  • Resolved through third party & Resolved through alternate mitigation: This means you’ve used another method to address this (one that Microsoft’s system can’t see). This removes it from your list, and you get the scoring points for having completed the security improvement.
  • Completed: When you’ve achieved all possible points for an improvement action, it’s marked as “completed.”

What is YOUR Secure Score & How Does It Compare?

You can find your Secure Score by visiting

To access the tool, you need to log in with administrator credentials. You’ll see your score on the page, along with the breakdown between the different areas and a list of recommendations.

What should your score be?

According to CIAOPS, you should look for a Secure Score of at least 80%. This indicates a high level of security for your account.

While using “best practices” would give you a score of about 65%, with the rising cyber threats, it’s better to be fully secure, not just at the minimum acceptable level.

Anything below 65% should spring a company into immediate action to rectify the issue and improve Microsoft 365 security settings.

We recommend that you add to your view the Achievable Score. This shows you the top score achievable within your version of Microsoft 365 according to your license.

You do this by selecting “Include” from the menu at the top right and choosing “Achievable score.”

Your achievable score is the best score to look at as your benchmark because it shows you the difference between what you could achieve according to the security features that you’re paying for compared to what you are actually using.

There are often security features in there that you may not have even realised you had access to.

Get Expert Help With Cloud Security Configuration

NetCare can help your Sydney area business find the sweet spot between ultimate protection and user experience, and ensure you’re not missing vital security safeguards.

Contact us today to learn more. Call (02) 9114 9920 or reach out online.