Why Microsoft 365 E5 Security is a game changer

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Released in 2019, Microsoft 365 E5 Security is a security-focused licence that gives organisations access to advanced security and threat protection solutions to support a Zero Trust model at a cost-effective and discounted price compared to purchasing standalone licenses or the full Microsoft 365 E5 plan. 

Update November 2021: We have updated the article in line with the latest Microsoft product name changes and licensing updates to keep this content current and accurate.


On 1st February 2019, Microsoft launched two new SKUs to separate their security and compliance features into dedicated licences that are available as add-ons. These are:

  • Microsoft 365 E5 Security (originally named as Identity & Threat Protection at launch) – This provides integrated security and threat protection solutions that combine all the advanced security tools across Office 365, EMS and Windows 10 that were previously only available in Microsoft 365 E5.
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance (originally named Information Protection & Compliance at launch) – This provides information governance, classification and protection capabilities to help organisations meet data protection and compliance regulations. 

Microsoft 365 E5 Security UK ERP Costs

  • Commercial = £9.00 per user per month
  • Charity = £3.60 per user per month

Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance UK Costs

  • Commercial = £9.00 per user per month
  • Charity = £3.60 per user per month


The launch of these – particularly E5 Security - was an exciting announcement from Microsoft and one that we had been long hoping for. The security story within Microsoft 365 is extremely compelling; offering companies of any size some of - if not the - best security tools on the market. However, to get the full advantage of the security offerings organisations needed to either:

  1. Purchase Microsoft 365 E5 – the highest-spec (and most expensive) licence with a large portion of the cost going towards voice/telephony and Power BI Pro, which most companies simply didn’t need
  2. Create a licensing mix and match, combining E3 and E5 offerings across Office 365, Windows 10 and EMS to get most of the security tools but causing licensing complexity and missing out on the discount of the Microsoft 365 bundle

Luckily, these licences has stopped the need for this and gives the right combination of products in a cost-effective package to give real value and elevate your security to a whole new level.

Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance

This article is focusing on the Security add-on, however to read more on the E5 Compliance offering you can read our article "Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance Overview".

Microsoft 365 E5 Security

This offering is the one we were most excited by as it combines all the advanced security and threat solutions into one package with a very big discount. This package contains Microsoft’s best security tools - Microsoft 365 Defender along with Azure Active Directory P2 and costs £9.00 per user per month. If you were to buy the products in this SKU individually from Microsoft it would cost over £30 per user per month.

However, it’s not the discount that makes this offering special but the sheer quality and potential. These tools don’t just boost your IT security up a level – they take your security to a completely new level and give you everything needed to build a modern Zero Trust security model. Microsoft invest millions into their product development and have large-scale teams working on the solutions to continually test and improve them, which few companies can compete with. As security evolves, your security tools also need to – and Microsoft’s products are built on (and using machine learning from) the intelligence and experience of its telemetry. This consists of 400 billion emails being scanned monthly and 450 billion authentications. No other company can match this telemetry and intelligence.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (formerly Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection) is a great example of this; from the first download of the BadRabbit virus it took only 14 minutes to completely block the ransomware to any other user that received an email. Combined with Microsoft Defender for Office 365 and any trace of this threat was removed from anywhere within the tenancy – you can read about it in detail here

What’s included?

Microsoft 365 Security includes:

  • Azure Active Directory P2
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 (previously known as Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection) 
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity (previously known as Azure Advanced Threat Protection) 
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps (previously known as Microsoft Cloud App Security) 
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (previously known as Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection) 

Microsoft 365 Defender - Microsoft's XDR platform

These final four solutions are also known collectively as 'Microsoft 365 Defender' and alongside Microsoft Defender for Cloud (which used to be known as Azure Defender - Microsoft do love a name change!) form their extended detection and response (XDR) solution. 

The combination of these products and services provides a holistic and integrated approach to your security. All the pieces integrate and can feed data to one another to build up a simple picture of your security, which balances tight security with great user experience. Having this simplified management is invaluable, as complexity is the enemy of security – having multiple, separate pieces that cannot integrate or are difficult to damage leaves you exposed to more risk of threats, vulnerabilities and likelihood of mistakes. Of course, the other advantage as mentioned earlier, is cost. 

What do these products do?

Azure Active Directory Plan 2: Cloud-based directory and identity management service to unify user accounts for improved security and management. Features include single-sign on (SSO), self-service password reset and password-less abilities.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365: Advanced email protection delivering additional malware and URL link protection (‘Safelinks’) and email detonation chambers. This also includes Office 365 Threat Intelligence - a single pane of glass for actionable insights into your threats, which pulls data from across all these services. Features includes: interactive threat explorer, red team/blue team simulations to find your security holes and one-click actions based on threat alerts.

Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps: Reports and analyses web browsing activity and gives visibility into your cloud apps and services.

Microsoft Defender for Azure: Threat detection software which uses machine learning to understand typical behaviour and then detects and acts upon any network anomalies.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint: An advanced post-breach and Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) solution, which detects advanced attacks, automatically investigates and gives simple reaction options (all within minutes).



When Microsoft 365 E5 Security launched we were extremely excited as it enabled us to give our customers the best security solutions within a bundle without requiring a full Microsoft 365 E5 licence (which as nearly £50 per user per month is a large cost commitment). 


If you would like more information, a demo of any of these tools or want to discuss your Microsoft licensing then get in touch with us.

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