Microsoft Office 365: An advancement in cloud network or an open threat to security?

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Microsoft

Microsoft Office 365: An advancement in cloud network or an open threat to security?

The modern cloud based applications have created a new dimension for data storage. Accessing from
anywhere, having a backup in the cloud and open to automatic updates are some of them. But it has
still not able to gain the trust of users for data security. A huge section of the users still prefer to use
their system’s memory or external hard-disk for data storage and security.

Let us take the example of Microsoft Office 365 which is one of the vastly used software packages in
the whole world. It has around 27 million consumer users and 100 million enterprise users. It was
launched in June 2011 and offers services like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, cloud-powered email, Skype.
According to an internet security threat report, it has been found that 48 per cent of harmful email
attachments are office files. This is a matter of concern as Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in
making Office 365 secure. Also the vast popularity of Office products give hackers the encouragement
to use them as a medium of attack.

Accessing data from the cloud at anywhere is the unique feature provided by this package. The hackers
usually target for a mistake to be made by the user for gaining permit to their systems and valuable
data. This usually happens when a user click on a link in an email which is unsafe or opens an unsafe
word document. Several other tricks can also be played upon by the hackers. It is through these
mistakes hackers get a malware installed in a system and acquire valuable information, regardless of
using cloud apps or not by the user.

So, the final security of using cloud based technologies like MS Office 365 comes down to the safety
protocols followed by the user. Using updated versions of software and setting up robust passwords
which are difficult to crack are some of the steps which should be followed by all. Suspicious
documents or links along with unsafe websites should never be opened. The number of users in a
system should also be kept at a check if possible. Maintaining a strong backup of the entire system for
emergency failure is another step which can be very beneficial in case any such attack actually takes
place.

Thus, Microsoft Office 365 is a SaaS (Software as a Service) which offers a good range of benefits like
ease of accessing information, flexibility and limited maintenance. It should be used following the
necessary safety guidelines important for Cloud based applications.

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