An end-to-end security stack
The moral of the story, says Vallianatos, is that The Walsh Group used the security and management capabilities built into Microsoft 365 to achieve a greater level of control over its hybrid environment than it could achieve on-premises. With the privileged account management features in Azure AD Privileged Identity Management, for example, the team reduced the number of employees with of global admin rights from around 20 to just 3 or 4—another win for zero trust. Vallianatos says: “We practiced the principle of least privilege—give people what they need and work your way up as necessary. We made second and third passes to see whether people were actually using the rights they had and revoke them if they weren’t being used.”
To protect its systems against malware and attacks across its cloud, email, and on-premises environments, The Walsh Group has deployed Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), Office 365 ATP, and Microsoft Defender ATP, which mutually reinforce each other, helping to stop and detect threats at every level of the company’s IT infrastructure. “Instead of solutions from different vendors, we deploy Advanced Threat Protection across different platforms and trust Microsoft to provide that protection,” says Nottoli.
The company is introducing Azure Information Protection, which it uses with Microsoft Exchange Online mail flow rules and Office 365 Message Encryption to encrypt email based on its sensitivity. “We’re just getting started with the data-classification capabilities of our Microsoft security tool set, and we’re looking to auto-classify now that we have an E5 license,” says Vallianatos.
Vallianatos says that if the company’s security initiatives have proven anything, it’s that its trust in Microsoft has paid off. “We have a positive track record of working with Microsoft to get successful results. We don’t have that level of confidence with other vendors,” he says.
“Our CIO believes that we’re leading our industry in terms of identity and access management, and we feel like we have a competitive advantage,” adds Nottoli.
Find out more about The Walsh Group on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.