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Tom Hind27 March 20244 min read

Microsoft UK Government Blueprints

In today's digital landscape, secure collaboration is paramount, especially for governmental organisations entrusted with sensitive data and critical information. As central and local government entities in the UK increasingly embrace Microsoft 365 as their collaboration platform of choice, ensuring a robust security posture becomes imperative. Fortunately, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offers comprehensive guidance through its "Office 365 UK Blueprint for NCSC - Secure Configuration Alignment" and "Microsoft 365 Collaboration Blueprint for UK Government" documents. These documents provide a great baseline for the security of Microsoft 365 from an access, configuration, and collaboration perspective.

The "Office 365 UK Blueprint for NCSC - Secure Configuration Alignment" serves as a foundational document, outlining key principles and guidelines for configuring Microsoft 365 environments securely. It emphasises aligning configurations with NCSC's Cyber Essentials and 10 Steps to Cyber Security frameworks, ensuring that security measures are consistent and effective across government entities. By adhering to these recommendations, organisations can mitigate common security risks associated with cloud-based collaboration platforms, such as unauthorized access, data breaches, and malware infections.

Building upon the secure configuration alignment, the "Microsoft 365 Collaboration Blueprint for UK Government - Technical Guide" offers a more in-depth exploration of Microsoft 365's collaboration capabilities tailored specifically to the needs and requirements of UK government entities. This technical guide delves into various aspects of Microsoft 365, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Teams, providing detailed configuration recommendations and best practices to enhance security without sacrificing user experience.

One of the key principles emphasised in both documents is the concept of "defence in depth." This approach involves implementing multiple layers of security controls at various levels within the Microsoft 365 environment to create overlapping layers of protection. By combining measures such as multi-factor authentication, data encryption, access controls, and threat detection capabilities, organisations can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised access and data breaches.

Moreover, the documents advocate for the use of Microsoft's built-in security features and tools, such as Entra ID Identity Protection, Conditional Access policies, and Defender for Identity. These features leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to detect and respond to security threats in real-time, providing proactive protection against evolving cyber threats.

Despite the emphasis on security, both documents recognize the importance of maintaining a seamless and user-friendly collaboration experience for government employees. Balancing security with usability is a delicate task, but by following the recommended configurations and best practices outlined in the blueprints, organisations can achieve a positive blend of security and productivity within the Microsoft 365 environment.

Ingentive are aware of the threats organisations are facing across government, local government and healthcare. The cyber risk landscape is constantly evolving with threat actors making more damaging attacks at scale, with ransomware attacks taking precedence. Despite the introduction of artificial intelligence in the creation of malware and malicious content, human operated ransomware attacks tripled over the last year with the goal of data exfiltration. (source: Microsoft Digital Defense Report 2023). It is possible to align the controls in the blueprints to the most common types of attacks across industries which are identity attacks, ransomware, targeted phishing and business email compromise.

Whilst most organisations are taking steps towards the implementation of zero-trust and extended detection and response it's key to set a foundation for success through baseline technical controls already available through Microsoft 365.

Why Ingentive?

As an organisation that offers both pro code and low code, we are uniquely placed when it comes to offering advice to businesses looking to digitally evolve, since we are unbiased. Ingentive act as a trusted pair of hands to guide you through the best options for your business - be it pro code or low code. 

We stand as a strategic partner at the intersection of pro code and low code, empowering businesses to drive innovation, enhance collaboration, and achieve their strategic objectives. Whether it's the precision of custom coding or the agility of low-code solutions like Microsoft's Power Platform, we provide a strategic and adaptive approach to software development, unlocking the full potential of businesses in the ever-evolving digital era. Choose Ingentive for a transformative partnership that aligns seamlessly with your strategic business vision. 

We embrace the principles of "Zero Trust," where trust is never assumed, and rigorous identity management plays a pivotal role.

Our commitment to contextual identity management ensures that access to your digital resources is based on real-time, situation-specific factors, minimising security risks. We rely on Microsoft's robust security solutions, such as Microsoft Sentinel, to provide holistic and forward-thinking protection. With Ingentive as your cybersecurity partner, you can trust us to navigate the intricate landscape of digital security, crafting a secure and resilient future for our clients. Together, let us fortify your digital boundaries and safeguard your digital assets in this ever-evolving digital era.

Want to learn more?

We are uniquely placed as a Microsoft FastTrack Ready Partner that are able to diagnose your organisation's digital processes, using your use cases. From this understanding, we create tailor-made solutions that suit your business needs.

Want to learn more about how Ingentive can help you stay ahead of the curve? Join our workshops and get in touch to learn more about how we can help your business digitally evolve.