Read time: 3 minutes

How to strengthen data security for Office 365

Amid an alarming rise in ransomware attempts and cloud data security breaches globally, Obsidian Systems, a supplier of open-source software solutions, advises South African businesses to reassess their data protection strategies for Microsoft Office 365.

Despite Microsoft's robust and secure infrastructure, businesses must not overlook their critical role in the shared responsibility model. Many companies, large and small, mistakenly assume their data is fully protected by the cloud service provider. However, this misconception exposes them to considerable risks, particularly concerning the data residing in production and sandbox environments. 

"Data protection is an intrinsic responsibility of every business," says Muggie van Staden, Managing Director of Obsidian Systems. "This includes data entering, living in, and leaving the system. It's vital to maintain proactive, long-term protection for all our IT environments."

Even beyond malicious users, there are many scenarios that can result in data loss. For example, accidental deletions, ransomware attacks, and delays in data restoration can all have severe implications on organisational operations. Regulatory fines, encrypted and unusable data, or potential business continuity disruptions are some scenarios that businesses may face.

To combat these risks, Obsidian advises enterprises to focus on four key Microsoft 365 data protection needs: Data isolation, extended retention, flexible restoration, and Service Level Agreement (SLA) compliance:

  • Data isolation: It is crucial to maintain separate backup copies outside of source environments. This best practice mitigates risks associated with data corruption and ransomware attacks.
  • Extended retention: Long-term data retention without native limitations can safeguard against accidental deletions and ensure recoverability, even when data losses are only discovered months later.
  • Flexible restoration: Quick and full-fidelity data recovery options can keep business disruptions to a minimum. Firms should not underestimate the potential time required to fully restore all data and site structures.
  • SLA compliance: Businesses need dedicated controls to fulfil Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) requirements. Meeting these standards is not just about compliance; it's about ensuring business continuity.

“I can urge every company to leverage multi-layered security, which encompasses measures such as virtual air-gaps of backup data, AES-256 bit encryption, early threat detection capabilities, and zero-trust access controls,” says van Staden.

In today's digital landscape, South African businesses cannot afford to be complacent. Data protection is a vital component of risk management and should be a top priority in every enterprise's strategic planning.

Obsidian Systems

Obsidian Systems is an established supplier of Smarter Hybrid IT Open Source software solutions. The company was started in 1995 as a modest services provider targeting businesses and organisations looking to integrate and leverage off Linux infrastructure.

Obsidian Systems has expanded by partnering with Autumn Leaf and RadixTrie.

Our group of companies forms a formidable team who strives to find “smarter” ways to unlock the enterprise potential of applying Open Source solutions to deliver on your Hybrid IT strategy.

We specialise in retail and subscription management services; vendor-certified products and local skills providing support, compliance, testing and observability for managed services; consulting, architecting and software services to support hybrid IT strategies for your business across all of your data centres, branches, IaaS, PaaS and edge devices for everything:

  • Teams
  • Code
  • Platform
  • Data

We specialise in innovative offerings built on the latest open source technology. Our latest being a hybrid IT management platform called TACO that delivers a single pane of glass to trust, automate, comply and observe your complete hybrid IT environment no matter where it is.

Obsidian Systems is a Level 1 contributor to Broad-based Black Economic empowered supplier of open source software solutions in South Africa. We help teams to get their code to the best compute and the correct data.

Telephone: 0860 4 LINUX (0860 4 54689)

Telephone (International): +27 11 795 0200

Physical Address: Unit 5 Tandridge Office Park, Ateljee Street, Randpark Ridge 2154, South Africa

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4938, Cresta, 2118, South Africa

Editorial contacts
Rubicomm Gloria Malan
Daily newsletter