Security Best Practices in SharePoint

Security Best Practices in SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is an online collaboration platform that integrates with Microsoft Office. You can use it to store, organize, share, and access information online. SharePoint enables collaboration and content management and ultimately allows your teams to work together more effectively.

Key features of Microsoft SharePoint:

✔ Document Management

✔ Collaboration

✔ Workflow Automation

✔ Integration with Microsoft Office

✔ Customization

✔ Search Functionality

✔ Security and Permissions

✔ Business Intelligence

Microsoft offers different versions of SharePoint.  The versions include SharePoint Server (deployed on-premises) and SharePoint Online (a cloud-based service as part of Microsoft 365).

Given the importance and prevalence of SharePoint, its security has become a prominent subject. You need to protect your sensitive data, control user access, meet regulatory compliance standards, and whatnot.

Robust security measures prevent unauthorized access and reduce the risk of data breaches. Your aim should be to ensure the confidentiality of critical business information.

This blogpost is your guide through the complexities of SharePoint security.

stockphotoscom-4775483 Global network. Laptops against globe

Secure File Sharing in SharePoint

Here are some tips for secure file sharing in SharePoint:

Sensitive labels:

They are a great way to classify your files. You can control who can access them. Also, you decide who accesses your files and who doesn’t. You can set custom criteria.

Use encryption:

Using encryption, you can protect your files from unauthorized access. You can encrypt files individually/ at the library level.

Expiration dates:

You don’t want your files to be shared indefinitely. Again, expiration works both individually and at the library level.

Versioning and Audit Logging:

Keep track of changes to your files. You can revert anytime to previous versions if necessary. Moreover, you can track who accessed your files and what actions they took.

SharePoint Compliance Standards

It’s always important to ensure that your SharePoint environment is compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

Here are the top 3 most common regulations:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

However, if your business belongs to a certain niche, some other compliance standards may also apply, including:

  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
  • And more.
stockphotoscom-1581019 Data security

Security Patching in SharePoint

Security patches are software updates that fix vulnerabilities in software.

  • Patching protects your organization from cyberattacks.
  • It helps to maintain compliance with industry regulations.

Here are some pro tips for security patching in SharePoint:

  • Develop a patching plan- which SharePoint servers and applications need to be patched, and when.
  • Test patches in a staging environment.
  • Microsoft releases security advisories on a regular basis. Keep an eye on them.

Cumulative Updates Vs. Patching of SharePoint

Generally, you want to prioritize cumulative updates (CU) to security patches. That’s a more comprehensive way to get rid of security vulnerabilities. However, if there is a service pack then patching is the way to go. You do not need to go for each and every CU unless it fixes issues related to your core need.

Also, remember, it’s a good practice to apply cumulative updates after every 6 months because they contain all previous CU fixes as well. 

Also, if possible, avoid patching your SharePoint via normal Windows updates. This way of patching requires a config wizard, which is a little bit cumbersome. Also, during such patching, your data may go corrupt if users are still working on it.

Monitor your SharePoint Environment for Security Vulnerabilities

Here are some Top SharePoint Monitoring tools to help you:

  • SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor SharePoint Monitoring Tool: This tool provides comprehensive SharePoint performance and availability management. It also offers a free trial.
  • M365 Security Plus: Complete monitoring capabilities for SharePoint Online. 
  • SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM): A versatile monitoring and management software. Offers SharePoint performance monitoring to maintain service reliability.
  • Netwrix SharePoint Security Tool: Reporting and auditing capabilities essential for strong security and effective governance in SharePoint.
  • PRTG Paessler Network Monitor: Known for its power. Ensures the health and availability of your SharePoint environment.
  • SharePoint Health Analyzer: A native tool in SharePoint Server. It helps monitor the health of your SharePoint environment.

External Sharing in SharePoint: Tips for Wise Implementation

  • Carefully consider whether it’s truly necessary to share
  • Don’t grant blanket access to all external users. Instead, establish granular permissions.
  • Utilize Permission Levels i.e.  “View,” “Edit,” “Contribute,” etc.
  • Set expiration dates
  • For one-off collaborations, consider using the guest access feature.
  • Leverage sensitive labels
  • Utilize External Sharing Governance Tools. These tools can help enforce policies and enhance compliance.

SharePoint Threat Detection

There are a number of different ways to detect threats in SharePoint, including:

  • Signature-based detection. it uses signatures of malware to identify threats.
  • Heuristic-based detection. It uses algos to identify suspicious behavior.
  • Anomaly detection. Identify data that deviates from the norm.

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) in SharePoint

RBAC allows admins to manage user access to SharePoint resources based on their roles within the organization.

By assigning users to specific roles and defining the permissions accordingly, admins can easily control who can access sensitive information. They can also control who can perform specific actions within SharePoint.

More Considerations for RBAC Implementation:

  • Granular Permissions: control access to specific items within SharePoint.
  • Nested Roles: Create hierarchical permission structures. Here, roles inherit permissions from parent roles.
  • Auditing and Reporting: Track user access and identify potential security risks.
  • Security Groups: Use security groups to manage role memberships. Simplify the process of adding/removing users from specific roles.

SharePoint Security Best Practices Checklist

  • Keep your SharePoint environment updated.
  • Configure strong passwords.
  • Enable MFA.
  • Limit administrator access.
  • Disable unnecessary user accounts.
  • Lock out inactive accounts.
  • Audit your SharePoint environment.
  • Encrypt your data.
  • Back up your data.
  • Store your data in a secure location.
  • Control who can access your data.
  • Monitor your data.
  • Educate your users about security best practices.
  • Use a web application firewall (WAF) to protect your SharePoint environment from web-based attacks.
  • Use a security scanner to eliminate vulnerabilities.
  • Use a security awareness training program to educate your users about SharePoint security best practices.
stockphotoscom-4404133 sending secure emails

SharePoint Firewall Configuration

SettingDescriptionDefaultRecommendation
Inbound RulesPort 80 (HTTP)Allow AllIP-based Restrictions
 Port 443 (HTTPS)Allow AllIP-based Restrictions
 Port 32846 (MSFT)BlockAllow only specific IPs
Outbound RulesPort 25 (SMTP)Allow AllIP-based Restrictions
 Port 80 (HTTP)Allow AllIP-based Restrictions
 Port 443 (HTTPS)Allow AllIP-based Restrictions

Secure Document Management in SharePoint

  • Use sensitive labels, encryption, expiration dates, versioning, audit logging, etc.
  • Only share documents with people who need them. Do not share documents with people who do not have a legitimate need to access them.
  • Store sensitive documents in a separate library.
  • Use a document management system (DMS). A DMS can help you to manage your documents more effectively.

SharePoint Security Policies

SharePoint security policies provide a framework for managing access to SharePoint sites, content, resources, etc.

Key Elements of SharePoint Security Policies

  • User access management:
    Policies should define the criteria for granting access to SharePoint sites and libraries. They should define user authentication, authorization levels, role-based access control (RBAC), and everything.
  • Data classification:
    Policies should classify data based on sensitivity levels e.g. confidential, sensitive, internal, etc.
  • Data protection:
    Policies should outline measures to protect data at rest and in transit. There should be encryption, access controls, and data loss prevention technologies.
  • Mobile device management:
    Policies should address the use of mobile devices to access SharePoint i.e. Device enrollment, App management, Data synchronization, etc.
  • Incident response: Policies should establish a process for responding to security incidents i.e. reporting, investigation, remediation, etc.

SharePoint Site Lockdown Strategies

SharePoint is a powerful collaboration platform that is used by organizations of all sizes. However, it is important to be able to lock down your SharePoint sites to prevent unauthorized access. This is especially important if you are storing sensitive information on your SharePoint sites.

Here are some strategies for locking down your SharePoint sites:

  • Use strong passwords.
  • Disable not-in-use accounts.
  • Enforce ACLs (access control lists).
    This way, you can control who can access your SharePoint sites and what they can do with them.
  • Use site collection admins.
    They have more limited permissions than farm admins. So, they can only manage site collections, not the entire SharePoint farm.

The Final Story

One thing should be clear from here on: it’s paramount to protect your SharePoint environment. And, to do that, you need to implement SharePoint security best practices mentioned above.

This is how you save your data from unauthorized access. Leverage encryption, MFA, or any other access control mechanism mentioned above, all offer really robust security against cyber threats.

Remember, the security of your SharePoint platform is a continuous effort. It’s your responsibility to stay informed about the SharePoint security best practices. That’s how you maintain a resilient and safe digital workspace.

 WME Professional SharePoint Services

We Enhance Your SharePoint Security.

WME Professional SharePoint Services provides a comprehensive suite of security solutions to protect your SharePoint environment. Ultimately, we ensure the confidentiality and availability of your critical data with minimum downtime.

Our team of certified SharePoint experts possesses deep expertise in SharePoint best practices. We leverage advanced security technologies to strengthen your SharePoint infrastructure.

Our security-first approach uses a multifaceted strategy to address all aspects of SharePoint security:

✔ Access Control

✔ Data Protection

✔ Threat Detection

✔ Incident Response

Benefits of WME Professional SharePoint Services

✅ Expert Security Guidance

✅ Proactive Security Posture

✅ Reduced Security Costs

✅ Peace of Mind

Let’s Enhance Your SharePoint Security Today

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