What is Microsoft 365 Governance? And What Does it Mean to My Business?

What is Microsoft 365 Governance? And What Does it Mean to My Business?

M365 governanceAre you frustrated with your Microsoft 365 or SharePoint environment? Do you struggle to find documents? Is it painful to share or collaborate with your colleagues? Chances are your M365 governance was not established correctly or kept up with.

You have invested in Microsoft 365’s comprehensive suite of tools and services, and rely heavily on it to keep your employees productive, streamline collaboration, and secure data. It’s become a cornerstone to your organization.

However, with great power comes great responsibility—enter Microsoft 365 governance. But what exactly is it, and why should it matter to your business?

Understanding Microsoft 365 Governance

Cloud governance or Microsoft 365 governance refers to the framework of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that control how an organization’s Microsoft 365 environment is managed and used. The aim is to ensure the system is used effectively, complies with relevant regulations, and maintains security.

Microsoft 365 governance is designed to:

  • Overseeing the current and future management of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem
  • Setting rules of use and codes of conduct
  • Providing guidance for the implementation and evolution of Microsoft 365
  • Ensuring strict data control
  • Aligning tools and their use with business processes
  • Assisting in the transition of information technology responsibilities
  • Integrating the company’s corporate image

Understanding what cloud governance is and what it’s designed to do is crucial to establishing a robust and secure environment within Microsoft 365.

  • Access Policy Management: Defining rules for how Microsoft 365 tools are to be used, including who can access certain data and how information should be shared. This includes setting up role-based permissions so that only employees with specific roles can access sensitive data.
  • Security and Compliance is all about ensuring that data is protected, and that the organization meets legal and regulatory requirements, such as GDPR or HIPAA. With governance policies in place, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches.
  • Data Management: Organizing, classifying, and controlling data to ensure it is used appropriately and stored securely.
  • User Management: Controlling who has access to what features and information, and managing user identities and roles. Improved user management is a significant benefit of good governance practices.
  • Monitoring and Reporting: Effective governance ensures that data is accurate, accessible, and secure. This improves decision-making processes and enhances overall business intelligence by providing reliable data insights. Keeping track of how Microsoft 365 tools are being used and generating reports to identify any issues or areas for improvement.

Why Microsoft 365 Governance Matters to Your Business?

Without properly managing your Microsoft 365 governance, you risk several mistakes from occurring which can have lasting consequences on your business.

  • Excessive permissions: Granting excessive permissions can increase security risks. Following the principle of least privilege is crucial to ensure that users have only the rights necessary for their tasks.
  • Lack of a strong password policy: Not having strong password policies in place exposes accounts to vulnerabilities.
  • Lack of change tracking: Effective governance requires constant tracking of security changes, permissions, and configurations. Failure to track can create security gaps.
  • Failure to meet your industry regulatory compliance requirements: Ignoring compliance policies can lead to legal and security issues. Implementing policies that comply with regulations and verifying their application by users are essential.
  • Poor management of groups and roles: Inadequate management can lead to security and confidentiality issues. Clearly defining roles and responsibilities, as well as limiting access to resources, is crucial.
  • Inappropriate use of collaboration features: Although Microsoft 365 offers powerful collaboration tools, insecure use can compromise data privacy.
  • Lack of user training: Uninformed users can make unintentional security mistakes. Regular training on good security practices is essential.
  • Violation of retention and deletion policies: Ignoring these policies can lead to compliance issues. Setting adequate retention policies is necessary for proper data management.

Avoiding these errors is crucial to ensuring effective, secure, and compliant governance within the Microsoft 365 environment. Governance is an ongoing process, it must be reviewed regularly and proactively to adapt to technological developments, organizational changes and new security requirements. A proactive approach ensures robust and adaptive governance within Microsoft 365. However, executive leadership need to be onboard and stress the strategic importance of cloud governance and the role it will play in the outcome of how your business operates, data protection and compliance. Your managed IT provider will play a central role in implementing and maintaining the governance and will lean on their expertise to establish effective security protocols.

To effectively implement Microsoft 365 governance, follow these basic steps:

  1. Define Your Objectives: Understand what you want to achieve with your governance policies. This could include enhancing security, ensuring compliance, or improving productivity.
  2. Develop Policies and Procedures: Create clear policies and procedures that outline how Microsoft 365 tools should be used, who can access them, and how data should be managed.
  3. Assign Roles and Responsibilities: Identify key stakeholders and assign roles and responsibilities for managing the Microsoft 365 environment. This includes IT staff, compliance officers, and department heads.
  4. Train Your Employees: Ensure that all users understand the governance policies and how to adhere to them. Provide training sessions and resources to support this.
  5. Monitor and Adjust: Continuously monitor the use of Microsoft 365 and adjust your policies as needed. Use analytics and reporting tools to identify areas for improvement and ensure ongoing compliance.

Of course there is much more that goes into it than this, but this is a good overview to help you understand just how important establishing that governance is.

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, having a well-defined governance strategy is not just a best practice—it’s a necessity. So, take the steps today to establish comprehensive Microsoft 365 governance and secure a brighter, more efficient future for your business. By implementing a robust governance framework, your business can maximize the benefits of Microsoft 365 while minimizing risks and inefficiencies.

Do you need help managing your Microsoft 365 environment? Contact us at Proper Sky today for an assessment and recommendations on how to get the most from your Microsoft 365 investment.

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