Why the new Microsoft 365 security offering is a game changer

Padlock on a gate

In January 2019, Microsoft announced two new security offerings that will sit alongside Microsoft 365 - and we think they are going to be a game changer for companies.

The two new SKUs coming on 1st February 2019 are:

  • Identity & Threat Protection – advanced security and threat solutions with a whole range of products (see below)
  • Information Protection & Compliance – aimed at governance and compliance (which includes Office 365 Advanced Compliance and Information Protection P2)

 

Update 1st Feb 2019: UK costs announced

Identity & Threat Protection UK Costs

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

Information Protection & Compliance UK Costs

  • Commercial = £7.50 per user per month
  • Charity = £3.00 per user per month

 

The launch of these – particularly Identity & Threat Protection - is an exciting announcement from Microsoft and one that we have 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 to get most of the security tools but missing out on some key tools and the discount of the Microsoft 365 bundle

Luckily, the new licensing change has stopped the need for this and gives the right combination of products to give real value and elevate your security to a whole new level.

Identity & Threat Protection

This offering is the one we’re 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 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. 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.

Windows Defender ATP 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 O365 Threat Intelligence and any trace of this threat was removed from anywhere within the tenancy – you can read about it in detail here

What’s included?

The new Identity and Threat Protection licence includes:

  • Office 365 ATP Plan 2 (Office 365 ATP + Threat Intelligence combined)
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security
  • Azure ATP
  • Azure Active Directory Plan 2
  • Windows Defender ATP

What do these products do?

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection: Advanced email protection delivering additional malware and URL link protection (‘Safelinks’) and email detonation chambers.

Office 365 Threat Intelligence: 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.

Cloud App Security: Reports and analyses web browsing activity and gives visibility into your cloud apps and services.

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

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.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection: An advanced post-breach solution, which detects advanced attacks, automatically investigates and gives simple reaction options (all within minutes). This is an Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) 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.

Conclusion

We believe that this new offering is the missing piece and we’ve been waiting for it for a while, so we’re excited by the launch on 1st February. IT security is a top business priority – and will only continue to grow as our dependence on data and technology grows. Companies are all at varying stages of their cybersecurity maturity journey but one of the difficulties is how fast threats and tactics evolve (such as new ransomware, or identity theft methods).

While it’s important to begin with 'low-hanging fruit' such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), security threats are continually evolving so you cannot be complacent. This new offering gives a wealth of tools that can take your security to a very advanced level.

 

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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