Using Varonis SaaS to Secure Microsoft 365

Somerford Associates Limited
4 min readJul 18, 2023

Author: Beth Laws
Release Date: 13/06/2023

Microsoft 365 is an excellent platform for making collaboration within the workplace very easy and as the number of remote workers has increased over the past few years, many businesses have since chosen to integrate M365 into their workplace. Moving data to cloud repositories and services has helped many businesses to ensure productivity remains high and allow organisations to adopt these remote and hybrid models of working, but it is important to remember that data within these cloud repositories such as in M365 still need protecting and monitoring.

There are lots of tools available to help businesses monitor different parts of 365, but Varonis SaaS covers the full Microsoft 365 suite, including Azure AD, Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online, OneDrive and Teams and presents all of the information in one place, rather than having to hunt between monitoring systems to find the total situation.

Monitoring Access to Sensitive Data

One of the first things Varonis does is map and classify your data and is able to tell you whether it is sensitive or not. Patterns, string matches, regular expressions, proximity sensing and dictionaries are used to identify files that contain sensitive data, detecting files containing data such as GDPR, PCI or PII. It comes with many predefined rules, which can all be enabled or disabled and are customisable so businesses can pinpoint the information they need.

Within the Varonis SaaS user interface it is easy to view who has access to data. It’s useful to see which security groups have access to sensitive folders and files and their level of permissions as well as understanding how this access was granted.

Automated Policies

Varonis SaaS can help organisations to enforce policies with the autonomous remediation features. Often collaboration links are used in 365 which allows users to be able to share files and folders with people in the organisation, and also with external people, such as contractors or customers as well. Employees being able to freely use collaboration tools improves communication but this does come with a lot of risk. It can often mean that sensitive information is exposed to those people who it shouldn’t be.

Varonis SaaS can enforce any permission policies businesses may have, to help manage these collaboration links with your M365 data. For example, rules can be set up to ensure that any collaboration links which allow sensitive data to be shared with anybody organisation wide will automatically be removed.

Dashboards

Varonis SaaS has specific dashboards specifically designed to help with security issues in One Drive, Azure AD and Sharepoint Online. The dashboards are designed to provide high level statistics about the data stored in Microsoft 365. Dashboards that show the percentage of sensitive files or number of Sharepoint Online sites containing sensitive data are some of the insights highlighted.

Threat Detection

Threat Detection

Varonis employs User Behaviour Analytics to build profiles on users to get to know what would be considered as normal behaviour for these accounts. This means, it’s then able to alert on any behaviour which is seen as abnormal for these accounts and/or users. Predefined and customisable alert rules are also provided to flag common suspicious activity in Azure AD, SharePoint Online and OneDrive to help detect threats from attackers and malware. As Varonis SaaS is connected to the Varonis Cloud, customers can feel reassured that any updates to threat models will be updated automatically.

In addition, this means that the Varonis Incidence Report team will have their eyes on alerts at all times, so if something rather alarming crops up, Varonis may even get in contact to make sure it’s brought to your attention before you realise what has happened.

Get started with Varonis SaaS with a free Data Risk Assessment

If you would like to see how Varonis SaaS can help your business, get started with a free Data Risk Assessment. A DRA is an assessment of an organisation’s data stores and provides a chance to see how Varonis can assist with your Data Protection, Compliance and Threat Detection needs. As part of the assessment, you’ll receive a report (sample here) which provides an insight into how much of your data is sensitive, where vulnerabilities lie, and whether any data is over-exposed. Data Risk Assessments are entirely free.

You can request a Data Risk Assessment from Somerford Associates here.

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Somerford Associates Limited

Specialist in innovative disruptive technologies with business focused consultants.