Malware & Ransomware Protection

Securing the Collaborative Landscape: A Brief Guide to SharePoint Data Security

rectangle Written by: Sotero rectangle 2 5 min read

SharePoint is used by more than 200 million people across the globe. It’s a powerhouse of collaboration and document management within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, ensuring that companies of all sizes can securely share information internally at the speed of business.

Companies often store their sensitive information in SharePoint, especially business-critical documents that organizations need for their day to day operations. The flexibility of SharePoint as an online storage method means that it’s highly possible for document storage bloat, and also that organizations need to ensure they protect the critical information stored in SharePoint’s file structure.


Potential SharePoint Data Security Vulnerabilities

As a digital file system, SharePoint has a few common security concerns. SharePoint Online especially has key challenges similar to many other cloud solutions, such as:

  • Unauthorized Access: Malicious actors might attempt to gain access to confidential data through various means, including phishing attacks, exploiting weak passwords, or leveraging unpatched vulnerabilities in the platform. Unauthorized access can also include a lack of proper role definition, whereby employees have access to more files than they should.
  • Accidental Data Loss: Human error, such as accidental deletion or sharing with unauthorized individuals, can lead to data loss. Accidental data loss doesn’t only apply to regular end users. Admins have access to everything in SharePoint, meaning that these super users could accidentally delete data and make it unrecoverable.
  • Insider Threats: Disgruntled employees or individuals with malicious intent who have legitimate access can pose a significant security risk. Insider threats can also occur through social engineering attacks that trigger employees to act on behalf of a cyberattacker. Admins with broad access to data in SharePoint are at particular risk for social engineering threats.
  • Data Breaches: Because SharePoint serves as a file archive in many companies, it is a target for cybercriminals to exfiltrate data such as intellectual property, sensitive corporate information, and more. Data privacy regulations globally like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States, make data breaches a very real fear for SharePoint implementations.

These SharePoint security risks mean that defenders need to have a strong plan in place. Implementing robust security measures is key, especially as more people work remotely and companies continue to grow across timezones in the United States and internationally.

Best Practices to Ensure Strong SharePoint Data Security

Securing SharePoint properly is critical, especially for organizations who use it to store important documents. As part of protecting Sharepoint, there are a few best practices to deploy as part of the process. These include:

  • Access Control: One of the best ways to secure SharePoint data is through ensuring users have only enough access to do their jobs. Permissions management is crucial to limit the risk of unintentional data loss and malicious insider threats. Access control should also include multi-factor authentication for added login security and conditional access policies that restrict access based on external factors.
  • Data Encryption: Data needs to be encrypted both at rest within SharePoint servers, and also in-transit through secure communication protocols. Microsoft builds industry-standard encryption into SharePoint to help encrypt data at rest, while administrators should ensure that they use secure protocols for data transmission between users and between SharePoint servers.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Implement DLP policies to identify and prevent sensitive information from being shared inappropriately. These policies can scan content for keywords, document types, or other indicators of sensitive information and restrict sharing to unauthorized recipients or channels.
  • Auditing and Monitoring: Regularly monitor user activity through auditing logs. This allows you to identify suspicious behavior, investigate potential breaches, and maintain an audit trail for compliance purposes. Configure security alerts to notify you of potential security threats or suspicious activities. This enables prompt response and mitigation of potential security incidents.
  • User Education and Awareness: Regularly conduct security awareness training for all users. This empowers them to identify phishing attempts, maintain strong passwords, and follow best practices for secure collaboration.
  • Keeping Software Updated: Regularly apply security updates and patches to SharePoint and related software components. This ensures you benefit from the latest security fixes and address known vulnerabilities.


How Sotero Ensures SharePoint Security

The Sotero platform blends data security posture management and data detection and response into a unified solution that discovers, classifies, and secures data against internal and external threats. Using the built-in AI capabilities to classify data, Sotero can clearly identify the most sensitive information in your SharePoint file archive and enable you to accurately define specific permissions. Sotero can also protect data against any potential admin errors, limiting access when necessary.

Sotero also ensures that data is encrypted at rest, in transit, and in use, adding another layer of cryptographic protection against data loss. Sotero’s solution continuously monitors data security posture and dynamically adapts to emerging threats. This keeps SharePoint data security measures remain up-to-date and effective, enhancing overall cyber resilience. By detecting and stopping cyber threats in their tracks, Sotero helps reduce and protect against disruptions to business operations. This guarantees seamless business continuity, even in the face of rapidly evolving digital threats.

With Sotero, customers can be confident that their SharePoint instance is secure. This is especially crucial in an era when the cost of data breaches continues to grow and the rate of cyberattacks remains on the rise.


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