Understanding and Optimizing your Microsoft Secure Score

It’s a full-time job to track your company’s data, who it’s shared with, and track potential security risks. Through filesharing tools, IT professionals are responsible for managing and protecting their sensitive information.

Thankfully, many Microsoft Enterprise licenses have built-in tools to help you manage your data. One of these tools, Microsoft Secure Score, is a powerful security analytics tool included in standard M365 plans. It highlights ways you can implement organization-wide enhancements through its security dashboard.

Note: If you have not yet upgraded to Microsoft 365, the standard Office 365 Secure Score feature still helps you optimize your security, but it’s limited to office applications. Also, if you use Azure AD, Intune, or Cloud App Security, only Microsoft 365 will pull these tools into its security dashboard.

How it works

Microsoft Secure Score begins by performing an audit of the services currently connected to your organization. During this process, Microsoft Secure Score evaluates not only your connected Microsoft tools, but also considers third-party software in-use to generate a more holistic security evaluation.

Software configurations that correlate with security for each application, data source, or tool are calculated and pooled into your maximum (or potential) security score. Imagine this score as the total value of points on a test. Aligning with industry best practices and suggested Microsoft security settings acts as your grading rubric.

From this, Secure Score compares your configured security settings, assigns these settings a numerical score, and displays your total against the maximum number of available security points. These scores show both your Office 365 and Windows environment score.

It’s important to think of your score as a calculated sum of the missing security optimizations that are negatively affecting your score. Microsoft calculates your score automatically once a day to highlight areas that have room for growth, comparing your score against the averages of other Microsoft 365 users in similar industries and company sizes.

In addition to displaying your score, this tool also suggests how you can increase your Secure Score by improving the overall security of your organization. Microsoft prioritizes suggestions by what will yield the biggest improvements for your organization while impacting end users the least. Not only will these changes drastically improve your score, but you’ll also learn which configurations lead to the biggest improvements.

How to improve your score

Microsoft gives you the functionality to search, filter, and group security controls through the improvement actions tab

You can configure Microsoft tools directly through the Secure Score dashboard; for third-party tools, you can apply your changes through these services and see them reflected within a 24-hour window. Also, you can set target scores for your organization to benchmark your success, analyze your score’s growth over time, and assess potential security threats.

In addition to settings configuration, Microsoft Secure Score suggests recurring actions so you can maintain your overall security score, such as weekly audits or reporting.

Your organization’s security will show a notable improvement over time by taking measures such as configuring regular auditing, establishing multi-factor authorization, and setting spam parameters.


While establishing these new security measures to improve your overall score, implementing these improvements without disrupting service to end users is a delicate balancing act.  Partner with an IT solutions provider like Sequel Data Systems to improve your organization’s security without negatively impacting your end users experience.

Call us at 512-918-8841 to talk to an expert today.

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