How Microsoft Uses AI and Machine Learning to Prevent Internal Data Leaks

Internal data leaks happen so quickly. Most are accidental—employees downloading company files to a thumb drive or sending an email to someone outside your organization. Employees usually don’t have malicious intent in these circumstances; yet, there are times when leaks are not accidental. 

Disgruntled employees seeking to exploit your company may access confidential product updates, private financial data, and other sensitive data and share them with cybercriminals or a rival company. 

Regardless of the intent, it’s crucial that you identify and mitigate internal data leaks or risk potentially devastating consequences. However, spotting potentially risky behavior can be time-consuming and complicated. 

That’s why Microsoft is offering a new Insider Risk Management solution within Microsoft 365. This new offering is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to quickly detect any potentially dangerous behavior. 

In addition to discussing this new offering, we’ll also discuss other tools within Microsoft 365 that safeguard company information and mitigate the risks from internal corporate leaks.

Meet Insider Risk Management

According to a recent threat report from Crowd Research Partners, 90% of organizations felt that they felt more vulnerable to insider corporate leaks. Two-thirds of these respondents also felt that insider attacks or accidental data breaches were more likely to occur than external attacks.

To mitigate this risk, Bret Arsenault and his team at Microsoft created the Insider Risk Management solution. The sole purpose of this solution is to leverage the power of AI and ML to quickly and intelligently identify and prevent internal security breaches

Using machine learning algorithms, the solution learns to look for potentially risky or unusual behaviors such as copying files to a thumbdrive, downloading a large number of company files, or emailing information or documents to non-company users. The solution continuously scans patterns across SharePoint, OneDrive, Azure, Windows, and Outlook for any potential data leak.

The solution is also designed to prevent accidental breaches through employee education. For example, if an employee inadvertently takes security shortcuts or stores sensitive company files in a non-secure location, Insider Risk Management will send an email to the user reminding them of company policies or a link to online security training.

Minimize Internal Risk with Microsoft’s Security Features

Along with Insider Risk Management, Microsoft 365 features additional security factors that are designed to safeguard corporate networks and prevent insider attacks. These include:

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA adds an additional layer of security to user credentials by requiring all users to verify their identity using any of Microsoft’s authentication methods. These include biometrics, phone calls, text messages, and one-time passcodes.
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM): This feature enables IT administrators to view, manage, and protect company information from different devices, including smartphones, tablets, and iPads. 
  • Information Rights Management (IRM): Using IRM permissions, IT administrators can set permissions for emails, files, and other private documents. This ensures that company information is not sent out, copied, or shared with unauthorized users.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): DLP carefully and thoroughly examines all email messages for sensitive company data such as financial statements or customer contact information. Should an email contain any of this information, the solution notifies the user or stops the email from being sent.
  • Rights Management Service (RMS): This feature protects files and documents across all company devices by utilizing identity, encryption, and authorization policies. RMS ensures that all company information remains protected, even if it travels outside a company network.
  • Data Backups: Microsoft features built-in regular data backups that are protected with multi-factor authentication and encryption. 
  • Long-Term Email Preservation: Should an internal data leak occur, users can still access vital email content by accessing Microsoft’s long-term email archive. 

Make the Switch to Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is one of the most secure solutions on the market. The myriad of security features within the solution ensures all your data is completely protected—from both internal and external attacks.

If you’re ready to make the switch to Microsoft 365, contact a JourneyTEAM representative today.

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