How Does Microsoft Protect Your Data?

Microsoft 365 email protection

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According to the FBI, over 90% of cyber attacks originate from Email. So it makes sense to have some good Email security. 

What happens if you’re a Microsoft 365 user? What protection does Microsoft offer to your email account?

Those questions and many more will be discussed in this blog. 

It’s pretty insane the number of cyber attacks that originate from email, and out of all cyber attacks in the UK in 2022, 83% have been caused by Phishing. 

These statistics vary; some are even produced by companies that sell cybersecurity and email security software, so they may be biased.  However, I’m sure we can agree on one thing: Email is a large target for Cyber criminals. We all use email as a communication tool. Lots of us in the corporate world pretty much live inside Microsoft Office. When it comes to Microsoft 365, they have over 1 Million businesses using their platform worldwide. 

The Basics

Whatever Microsoft licence you buy, you will get Microsoft’s basic online protection for your emails. This is called Exchange Online Protection. 

Exchange Online Protection includes a few things…

Firstly, it will scan all your messages sent to your business. Some of these will be blocked even before they reach your mailbox. This is based on the reputation of the sender of that email address so that if it is a dodgy sender, it will not be allowed to enter anybody’s outlook. 

The second thing Exchange Online Protection includes is Anti-malware; Microsoft will scan all the messages or send them to the junk email folder. As an IT Admin, you can configure how you want Microsoft 365 to behave in certain situations. If you want to block it, put it in the junk folder; It’s up to you. 

Thirdly, Exchange Online Protection includes Anti-spam and Anti-spoofing. This means that, again, your inbound messages will be scanned. If there are any that Microsoft feel are spam, they’ll send it into the junk folder or clock it depending on how you configure your settings. I’m sure you’ll agree; this sounds pretty good. 

 So is that all you need to protect your Email?

Defender Against Business For Office 365

In our opinion, you need more protection; and Microsoft seems to agree as they have an advanced product called Defender Against Business For Office 365. 

Pricing and Licencing

Defender Against Business For Office 365 comes in Plan 1 and Plan 2. These have different features which we will explore later in the blog. Both of these are available as stand-alone products with the pricing listed below. 

Microsoft defender prices

These prices are in British pounds, but you can convert them to your own currency. 

As I said, you can buy these as stand-alone products that you can bolt onto your Exchange Online Protection. However, it is included in Microsoft 365’s Business premium package, which we always recommend to all our customers. 

Defender Against Business For Office 365 Plan 2 is included in the following:

  • Office 365 E5
  • Office 365 AS  for faculty
  • Microsoft office 365 E5

Defender Against Business For Office 365 Plan 1

As previously mentioned, this plan is included in Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium. Plan 1 is a really great product for your email security. This is because it contains 3 brilliant features

Safe Links

We all send and receive emails that contain links. These links are mostly genuine, such as links to SharePoint, websites, or online documents to and from colleagues/clients. 

However, cybercriminals take advantage of this. They use dodgy links in their emails to try and take advantage of you and your colleagues. Deceiving links disguised as innocent emails could lead you to enter your password and username or download malware onto your computer. 

Safe links protect you and your business by having the links scanned by Microsoft to make sure you’re not clicking on anything malicious. 

Safe links also work with Microsoft teams and SharePoint sites, so it is a great feature and worth having.

 Safe Attachments

The second great feature in Defender Against Business For Office 365 Plan 1 is Safe Attachments. This is similar to Safe Links, but with, you guessed it, attachments. 

With basic email security from Microsoft, this will scan all your attachments coming into your business Via email. However, the Safe Attachments feature within Plan 1 builds on that protection. It will scan the attachments that are coming into your company via email. Still, the Safe Attachments feature in Plan 1 builds on that protection and scan it again in a special, secure area, and if it is happy with the attachment, it will be forwarded to your Mailbox. 

Impersonation Attack Protection

If that wasn’t already enough, there’s a third! Impersonation attacks are when a cyber-criminal impersonates someone else. A typical example is when a cyber criminal poses as your boss after researching your business. They’ll set up an email address similar to someone high up in the industry and email you asking for bank details, money or login details. 

Because you’ll be busy, you might not look closely at the email and send a response due to stress/being active. Then the cyber-criminal has access to your bank/money/accounts. 

Defender Against Business For Office 365 Plan 2

Plan 2 is more expensive, and if you have a lot of users in your business, it can build up to a substantial amount. It needs to be worth the cost. Let’s take a look at the features. 

Attack Simulations & Cyber Awareness Training

In defender plan 2, you can receive dodgy emails from people; these will have a link, and clicking the link will let the employer know who requires cyber awareness training.  This will help when genuine phishing attacks crop up and prevent employees and businesses from being hacked. This is similar to KnowBe4.

KnowBe4 is a third-party company that provides attack simulation and cyber awareness training, but with Plan 2, you get it all in one with the price set. 

Cyber Awareness training is such an essential part of your cyber security posture. 

Advanced Cyber Security Features

Within this plan, you can also receive some advanced features, such as threat trackers. This provides you with all of the difficult types of malware that are being emailed around the world. IT teams use this to provide protection to your business. 

Those are the protection plans you can have in place with Microsoft 365. 

Although some may cost extra money, they provide extra protection against Cyber-crime. 

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