Understanding Your Microsoft Secure Score: Why It Matters & What to Look For

padlock in front of keyboard symbolizing cybersecurity

Go back to high school with us. You’ve studied all week for a test and you feel great after turning it in. But when you get your score back, your heart sinks! It wasn’t the A you were hoping for and now you’ll have to work even harder on your upcoming assignments. It happens to the best of us.

A Microsoft Secure Score is a bit like a test of your current cybersecurity, and surprisingly, lots of business owners feel disappointed after seeing their score. But unlike that (probably pointless) test in high school, your Microsoft Secure Score can be easily improved, and you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor when you work on your score.

What Is a Microsoft Secure Score?

As we mentioned, your Microsoft Secure Score is an assessment of your current security measures. The tool evaluates your organization’s security posture and provides recommendations for improving your security. It’s important to note that your score is not an indication of how likely you are to be hacked or technically how secure your data is; rather, it’s a culmination of points based on the Microsoft scoring system.

To use the Microsoft Secure Score effectively, it is important to understand its underlying scoring methodology. This includes looking at your organization’s security posture in different areas, such as software and hardware configuration, data protection settings, employee device policies, threat intelligence monitoring, and more.

Considering that Microsoft is the foremost software engineer in the world, it’s created a very in-depth assessment of security best practices and awards you points based on the ones you’ve already implemented. Each security measure has a certain point amount, depending on how much it improves your security.

Think about it like this. If you were to open a physical storefront, there would be lots of different security tactics you could use, and each one would be more effective or powerful than another. Putting a lock on the front door is essential, getting a security guard would deter lots of would-be criminals, and security cameras would help identify the culprits if someone did get in.

On the other hand, getting a smart lock for your door might be good so people can’t steal your keys, but it’s not going to do that much when it comes to preventing break-ins. The Microsoft Secure Score point system follows that same logic.

What Constitutes a Good Score & Why Is It Important? 

A good Microsoft Secure Score can vary depending on your organization’s security needs and priorities. However, in general, a score lower than 50% indicates that your systems could use some improvement. Many clients that we’ve worked with have expressed that they were surprised at how low their initial score was—it can feel a little overwhelming.

However, the Microsoft Secure Score dashboard does an amazing job at breaking down your score by category and providing recommendations for improving your security. For example, the home page will have a list of “Top Improvement Actions;” they’re essentially the measures that give you the most bang for your buck. We’ll talk more about improving your score later.

A score communicates something, such as how well you knew the Calculus material you spent all week studying. In this case, your Microsoft Secure Score shows that your organization takes security seriously and is actively working to protect your systems. Your score will also let you know what changes you need to make to protect your most important asset: your data.

Improved security will always lower your risk of a data breach, which could end up costing you thousands in disaster recovery and downtime. But on the flip side, showing that you put security first is really attractive to potential customers. In a study with 3,000 global consumers, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association found that about 30% of customers will stop all interactions with a business if they fail to protect a consumer’s personal information.

Overall, the Microsoft Secure Score is an excellent tool for improving your organization’s security and relationship with current and potential customers.

What Factors Play Into Assessing Your Security Posture?

The Microsoft Secure Score is based on a variety of factors, such as:

  • Software and hardware configuration: firewalls, antivirus software, and other security measures
  • Data protection settings: encryption and password policies
  • Employee device policies: policies and practices for securing and monitoring employee devices
  • Threat intelligence monitoring: your organization’s ability to detect and respond to threats in real-time

Without getting too technical, know that the score will do a deep dive into everything security-related. Because Microsoft has many of its own security capabilities, the score will take many of its tools into account and analyze how your company uses them (such as Microsoft Defender Antivirus).

How Can You Improve Your Microsoft Secure Score?

It may seem like there are a million ways to improve your security, but the Microsoft Secure Score makes it easy to prioritize which ones are the most important. By focusing on the measures that will have the biggest impact on your organization’s security, you can improve your score and protect your data with confidence.

For example, Microsoft Defender (the anti-malware software in Microsoft Windows), is constantly being updated with security tools that help its users. But if you fall behind on updates, you’ll be missing out on some of those automated anti-virus tools. Your Microsoft Secure Score reminds you when and how to take action.

This is where the Microsoft Secure Score dashboard and a managed service provider come into play. Your dashboard will have a list of “Top Improvement Actions,” along with their score impact, status, and device type. If you decide to take a specific security action, you can record your plan in the dashboard and see the effect it will have on your score.

When you became a business owner, you probably weren’t expecting to become a tech expert too. While some of the suggestions can be easy to implement on your own, like creating a password policy for your employees, other changes may require the help of a managed service provider.

With their security expertise, your MSP can give you a customized recommendation for improving your score and offer expert guidance on implementing it. Whether you have questions about sandboxing email attachments or need help updating your firewalls, they’re there to support you every step of the way.

Ace Every Test When You Partner With Stability Networks

As a business owner, staying on top of your security is essential for protecting your data and maintaining customer trust. Whether you’re dealing with sensitive client information or valuable company details, you need to take every step to keep your systems safe from threats.

With an MSP that lives for cybersecurity, you can be confident that your systems will always be ready to handle whatever comes your way. From data backups and firewalls to employee training, our technicians at Stability Networks will help you build a robust security strategy so you never have to worry about any critical vulnerabilities.

And because we think a Microsoft Secure Score is one of the best ways to improve your data safety, we’ll help you make a simple and actionable plan to boost your score and protect your business. You can get an in-depth consultation and assessment of your current security to see if Stability Networks would be a good fit. Schedule an assessment when you’re ready to take advantage of all a managed service provider has to offer!

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