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SharePoint Security Concerns

by | Apr 14, 2020

TOP SharePoint Security Concerns

The introduction of cloud in the modern enterprise changed a lot of things for the better – but at the same time it brought with it a whole new host of potential security problems. Let’s go over some of the most significant SharePoint security concerns.

Data Breaches

It’s not surprising to see data loss or breaches at the top of this list. Any data breach can be fatal for a company, or at the very least result in significant financial damage. New data regulations such as GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, and similar ones in the other countries, aren’t making that any easier. Security departments are forced to apply a variety of protection solutions to minimize the risk of a data breach happening, ensure that data is encrypted where it is stored as well as implementing a swift and decisive course of action in the event of a breach.

There are a lot of different solutions that are applied to minimize SharePoint security concerns, including data handling protocols, perimeter protections, data restoration plans, etc. Also present are plans of notifying both customers and federal authorities about data breaches and doing damage control on the areas that were affected. A data loss response plan is based on two important things: disclosure and threat mitigation.

Unauthorized Access

While data breach is probably the biggest potential issue with SharePoint, it’s critical to not forget about the plethora of other issues, including not being ready for insider or external threats in the first place. One of the most common issues reported is problems with unauthorized access (caused either by unauthorized access types or by improper use of a high-ranking employee’s credentials and access permissions).

While access and identity management are important – it’s even more important to consider SharePoint endpoint security as a concern. All kinds of “perfect” systems are now at risk thanks due to the popularisation of IoT (Internet of things) and BYOD (Bring your own device).

Until recently human errors could be partially mitigated by disabling USB ports and establishing a secure perimeter. Unfortunately now everything is that much more complicated and the whole organization’s security system needs to be constantly monitored to detect any signs of suspicious network events from both external as well as internal sources. The introduction of human review standards help in identifying if someone’s credentials have been compromised and were used in a potential data breach.

API and Interface

Availability and security of the services are dependent on how secure those APIs are to begin with. If an API isn’t designed with a variety of protection measures in mind, like access control, activity monitoring, encryption, and more – it’s a huge security concern for all of your SharePoint services that work through those API’s.

Regular testing of all of the API functionality every time that company enlarges an existing API-based service or includes a new one is a good way to ensure any misuse of an API is kept to a minimum.


Some security concerns in SharePoint also revolve around improper configuration problems. Most affected are customers of PaaS (Platform as a service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a service), with majority of problems coming from the following:

  • Disabled data encryption;
  • No identity access management;
  • Passwords that are not strong enough;
  • No permissions controls whatsoever;
  • Lack of policy awareness or insufficient policy.

If the setup itself isn’t done right, the potential of a disaster with your SharePoint site increases exponentially. That’s why it’s important to evaluate on-demand services’ to ensure that those potential loopholes are adequately sealed off.

Audit and Malware

An important part of figuring out the source of the problem is to keep track of everyone’s actions within the system. Auditing within SharePoint exists exactly for this reason, and allows you to see what has occured, even if this is only retrospectively. Sadly, there are many cases where companies fail to correctly set up auditing within their systems or fail to enable it from the beginning.

Another thing that should be mentioned is malware protection. Malware is principally designed to cause damage to systems, servers or networks. Since SharePoint content can be created anywhere, including outside the organisations systems, all kinds of malware can be introduced and corrupt your system. For that exact reason, configuring some form of anti-malware security for files within SharePoint is a must.

As discussed in the points above, data breach, unauthorised access, improper API configurations, poorly deployed SharePoint sites, malware and irregular SharePoint audit and management are all issues that directly impact on the integrity of SharePoint security in organisations that use this platform for business processes. Actions to address these SharePoint security concerns may include notifying stakeholders when there’s been a breach, periodic reviews of SharePoint configurations, implementation of end-point security on BYOD devices, utilisation of human review standards, malware protection and regular SharePoint audits. Security teams need to question whether they’re conducting these actions regularly enough to address these concerns.

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