The Power of Three: Secure Office 365 with Cisco Solutions

Marsilda Bialczak

We all have watched superhero movies. There’s always a villain, a threat, and the superhero at the end who saves the day. In our case, we have three superheroes called “The Power of Three.” Microsoft, Cisco, and Veeam have partnered together to transform your business with high-performance availability and complete modern data center protection. With the power of Microsoft Office 365, Cisco Email Security (including AMP for Endpoints and Umbrella) and the data availability of Veeam, you can take your Office 365 deployment to the next level.

Email is the primary business communication channel and the top threat vector for the distribution of cyber attacks. According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, attackers used email to communicate with their target in 95% of breaches, and 4% of people targeted will click on any given phishing campaign. Our villains (cyber criminals) rely on email to deliver ransomware and other malware in the most effective way. They send malware via email messages to employees with a malware attachment to look like a legitimate document with the hope someone will click it. Opening an email attachment or clicking on a link in an email can be all that it takes for accounts or devices to become compromised.

To give you one simple example of what attackers do, take a look at this image below. Can you spot what is wrong?

If you look at my signature, Connection’s domain name is obviously spelled wrong—connecti0n—with a zero in place of the second “o.” This is only one of the ways attackers deceive users—there are countless others.

Microsoft Office 365 has become the standard productivity platform in organizations large and small around the world. It is a cost-effective solution and provides a basic level of email security through Microsoft Exchange Online Protection. But as more and more companies adopt this platform, it has opened up the opportunity for a blended attack. Unfortunately, the default security levels for many existing cloud-based email solutions may be too limited to deliver adequate protection. That’s why Microsoft relies on other third parties for an added layer of security.

Related: TechSperience Podcast Episode 18 – Cyber Security from the Cisco Point of View

One of those third parties is Cisco. Their Email Security Solution can:

  • Reduce threats from ransomware by automatically removing malicious file attachments— protecting against spam emails, fraudulent senders, and risky URLs
  • Protect against phishing attacks by dropping, rewriting, or replacing malicious links within an email
  • Defend against business email compromise with enhanced authentication controls for senders and targets
  • Provide a comprehensive threat intelligence from the Talos team, one of the largest threat intelligence teams in the world, comprised of world-class researchers, analysts, and engineers that defend Cisco customers against known and emerging threats.

Since email is the number one method that cyber criminals use for their attacks, it is critical that companies and individuals take measures to secure their email accounts against common attacks and attempts at unauthorized access to accounts or communications.

So what is so special about Cisco’s Email Security Solution that makes the best fit for Office 365 customers?

In 2018, cyber crime reached a revenue of $1.5 trillion. Many big companies such as Marriott, eBay, Yahoo, Target and many more suffered attacks. There is no such thing as a secure castle; there are always areas of vulnerability. But the more security layers you add, the harder it is for the threat to reach the door to your castle.

Cisco Talos analyzes 300+ billion emails per day. Why is this important? More data means a broader view of the threat landscape. This number is more than what other competitors see in an entire month! This data means that Talos stops more threats before they reach our customers. Plus, they’re able to share the latest threat news and updates every three to five minutes.

As part of their security portfolio Cisco offers Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) to combat ransomware hidden in malicious attachments. AMP is a cloud-managed, next-generation endpoint security solution that not only prevents cyber attacks, but also rapidly detects, contains, and remediates malicious files if they evade front-line defenses and infiltrate your endpoints—before damage can be done. AMP for Endpoints achieves this using a suite of different techniques: a traditional anti-virus inspection engine, machine learning, static and dynamic analysis of files (sandboxing), vulnerability monitoring, continuous analysis of file behavior, and retrospective detection. AMP shares malware analysis and verdicts globally so that all AMP customers benefit and can automatically remediate malware in Office 365 mailboxes. Administrators can forget about the manual process of cleaning up infected mailboxes. This automated response means security teams can get that time back to focus on more strategic projects.

Lastly, we can’t forget mentioning Cisco’s cloud security platform, Umbrella, that provides the first line of defense against threats hosted on the Internet, whether users are on or off the corporate network. Cisco Umbrella delivers complete visibility into Internet activity across all locations and endpoints, and through the use of models, can proactively block malicious requests before a connection is even established. Umbrella helps organizations to stop attacks earlier, identify already infected devices faster, and prevent data exfiltration.

Contact us today to learn more about Cisco’s security solutions. If you’d like to test any of Cisco’s Security solutions to see how they fit in your security environment, be sure to ask to sign up for a free, 14-day trial.

Marsilda is a subject matter expert on the Cisco security portfolio. In her spare time, Marsilda enjoys dancing with her daughter, traveling, and motivating others to get healthy and stay fit.