No one wants to be at the receiving end of a cyber security breach. As businesses and organisations migrate their operations and data to the cloud, the need for robust security measures has become paramount.

One of the recent measures that has gained traction is geo-blocking with Microsoft 365. Here we examine geo-blocking in Microsoft 365, its efficacy and limitations, and valuable tips to ramp up your data protection. 

What is Geo-blocking in Microsoft 365?  

Geo-blocking in Microsoft 365 is a security feature designed to allow organisations to control or restrict access to their Microsoft services based on location. In simple terms, this feature restricts which countries can access Microsoft services like Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, OneDrive, etc. On the surface, this blocks out a percentage of threat actors like Script Kiddies and ‘risky’ regions and countries. 

What’s the Problem with this Security Measure? 

While geo-blocking sounds like an effective security measure to eliminate cyber threats, it also poses serious challenges to organisational operations. Remote workers in regions with geo-blocked access cannot seamlessly conduct their duties on Teams, OneDrive, and other cloud-based services. This means that IT teams would have to make an exception for that country for a short time, thereby exposing their Microsoft 365 services to threat actors.

Geo-blocking also heavily relies on IP addresses to track locations. If cybercriminals use VPN to generate IP addresses from approved regions, your digital architecture will be crippled within minutes. A noticeable challenge with geo-blocking is that it may also negatively impact businesses with international partners, as it can create friction when trying to collaborate. 

So, What Should You Do? 

Implementing conditional access policies in Microsoft 365 is one of the effective ways to enhance security. This reduces the attack surface and ensures that only authorised and compliant devices and users can access your resources.

Other strategic tips include the following: 

  • Updating operating systems to latest version: First, ensure all the devices connected to Microsoft cloud-based services are running a supported operating system. It is recommended that all connected devices have the latest updates to reduce the risk of being compromised through apparent vulnerability.
  • Enabling endpoint protection and ensure it is up to date: Endpoint protection software safeguards devices from malicious software and processes that could grant threat actors access. You must ensure that endpoint protection is installed on all authorised devices to keep them from being exploited by malicious software. You should also ensure that this software is current. 
  • Local drive encryption: This protects the data stored on the device’s internal hard drive or storage. If such a device gets stolen or accessed by unauthorised persons, the data inside the storage remains safe and secure. 

  • Patch management for OS and third-party applications: This process involves planning, testing, and deploying software updates or security patches to keep your operating systems and third-party apps updated. This proactive approach to software maintenance ensures cyber criminals do not exploit some loopholes in an outdated device to access your Microsoft 365 processes. 

  • Vulnerability management: Your organisation should have responsive vulnerability management in place. This is a comprehensive practice that encompasses identifying, assessing, prioritising, mitigating, and monitoring security vulnerabilities within your digital architecture. Its primary goal is to reduce the likelihood of security breaches by addressing weaknesses that could be exploited. 

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): You’ve probably heard about this already. But MFA can also be utilised when collaborating on Microsoft 365 services. MFA adds an extra layer of authenticity by requiring multiple forms of authentication. This significantly reduces the risk of user account breaches, protecting data in Microsoft 365. 

  • Remove local admin access: Restricting local admin access to Microsoft 365 can prevent the accidental installation of malicious software, malware, and remote-access hacks. Microsoft LAPS or Azure LAPS can help you control admin access effectively


Combining geo-blocking with these control measures will reduce your Microsoft 365 tenancy's attack surface from entry-level hackers and more sophisticated threat actors. 

Improving cyber security isn’t just a prudent decision but an imperative one – especially when protecting Microsoft 365. Cyber threats are constantly evolving. You need a comprehensive approach to spotting and addressing loopholes early. 

Do you need a Microsoft 365 Security Review?

With our Microsoft 365 Security Review or Security Controls Review you can trust our team of industry experts to determine your IT strengths and weaknesses, including providing you with personalised recommendations to fit your business needs.  

Contact our team today for an independent, third-party security review to ensure comprehensive protection tailored to your organisation.



Marco Liewerenz

IT Support Manager