What are Microsoft’s New Security Plans?

When it comes to cyber security, threats like email phishing and spoofing remain very real risks regardless of business size. To combat such threats, Microsoft has developed a number of intelligent solutions designed to identify cyberthreat before it can impact operations. Many of these features, however, are bound exclusively to Enterprise plans, which, besides having the highest price point, include many additional features unrelated to security. These higher costs can represent obstacles for businesses with more limited IT budgets.

To solve this issue, Microsoft has released two new security bundles designed with security and compliance as the respective core focuses:

Identity and Threat Protection

Information Protection and Compliance

  • Used to manage and monitor end-user accounts against credential theft and unauthorized use of data
  • Leverages machine learning to identify suspicious user behavior consistent with known cyber threat
  • Advanced Threat Protection extends monitoring to desktops, email, and servers
  • Oriented towards controlling data use and access via security policy
  • Enforces file encryption and blocks sensitive data from exiting the boundaries of the IT environment
  • Includes tools for risk assessment and compliance scoring, quantifying overall security posture in relation to regulation.

It should be noted that the services provided by these bundles do not include any new services, but group existing services together that provide similar functionality. By dividing these functions into two distinct services, Microsoft aims to make its enterprise security products more widely available to businesses on a granular level.

A company with an existing retention/backup plan, for example, may lack a solution for monitoring user activities for threat/risk. With these new plans, however, such a company could adopt the Identity focused bundle to fill gaps in security, while forgoing large deployment expenses.

What about existing Security bundles?

Prior to the release of these plans, Enterprise + Mobility was the sole security bundle being sold by Microsoft. Compared to the new plans, EMS provides security services on a broader scale, though not as targeted or complex.

There is also some overlap between EMS and the new bundles, but the three still serve fairly distinct services. EMS, for example, includes tools for enabling multi-factor authentication and mobile device management, which are not represented in the other plans.

Ideally, these new plans would be best used to compliment an existing Microsoft 365 plan, which already includes EMS as a component.

How much do I save with these plans?

Depending on the existing infrastructure in use by a company, these plans can save businesses anywhere from $4-12 per user. While these values seem relatively small, larger user bases can amount to significant savings from month to month.

As of February 1st, businesses can now begin licensing the new plans for their organizations to use. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Metro CSG can assist in the implementation and deployment of these services within IT environments and provide a seamless transition.

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