Secure your business: Four ways Microsoft 365 for Business can help
Published Jun 06 2024 07:04 AM 3,740 Views

Cybersecurity has become a critical concern for businesses of all sizes, 82% of ransomware attacks are targeted at small and medium-sized businesses [1]. In today's digital landscape, businesses face an array of security threats that can compromise sensitive data, disrupt operations, and diminish customer trust. Small businesses seek effective, scalable, and user-friendly solutions to operate securely. Microsoft 365 for Business offers a suite of solutions tailored to meet productivity and security needs, with three distinct plans - Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, and Microsoft 365 Business Premium.


Business Basic includes key Microsoft cloud services like Microsoft Teams, Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft OneDrive, and foundational identity, email, and mobile device security that’s essential for protecting your business. Business Standard includes everything in Business Basic plus desktop apps like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, and creative tools like Microsoft Loop and Microsoft Clipchamp. Business Premium takes security to the next level, offering extensive protection that includes everything in Business Standard, plus comprehensive cybersecurity features from Microsoft Intune, Microsoft Purview, Microsoft Entra ID, and Microsoft Defender for Business and Microsoft Defender for Office 365. With Business Premium, users benefit from layered protection for devices, email, and collaboration content, as well as identity and access management, data encryption, sensitivity labels, and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capabilities.


By choosing Microsoft 365 for Business, you can leverage security solutions that are not only effective, but also scalable and user-friendly, allowing you to manage your business with confidence. In this blog, we'll discuss four ways Microsoft 365 for Business can enhance your company’s security.


Four ways Microsoft 365 for Business helps secure your businessFour ways Microsoft 365 for Business helps secure your business

Enable your employees to access business data and applications with identity and access management


Your online security and privacy depend on using strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts. However, passwords alone are prone to loss or theft, which cybercriminals can use to access your data. To enhance your protection, additional identity and access controls are necessary.


Both Business Basic and Business Standard plans include Microsoft Entra ID Free, enabling you to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your Microsoft accounts and apps. Beyond entering your password, you can use your phone, email, or an app to receive a code or approve a sign-in request. This extra layer of security can block over 99.9% of account compromise attempts [2].


Business Premium takes identity and access controls to the next level by incorporating Microsoft Entra ID P1, offering enhanced identity protection through conditional access policies. These policies grant or block access based on user identity, location, and sign-in methods, ensuring business data remains secure by permitting access only under specific criteria. For example, if cybercriminals from overseas attempt to breach your company's data by stealing passwords, conditional access policies in Microsoft Entra ID P1 with Microsoft 365 Business Premium can automatically block or require additional verification via multifactor authentication (MFA) for login attempts from countries where your business doesn't operate. This helps ensure that only authorized personnel can access your data, no matter where or when they log in, providing robust protection against unauthorized access. 


Keep your business data safe and secure when collaborating


Working in a hybrid environment presents challenges in communication and collaboration with teams, customers, and partners while protecting your business data. With Business Basic and Business Standard, you can utilize SharePoint to manage file access and Microsoft Teams for secure collaboration within your organization. For customers deploying Copilot for Microsoft 365, who want to prevent oversharing or surfacing sensitive files, Restricted SharePoint Search helps ensure that only content from reviewed and governed sites appears in search results, providing a secure and controlled generative AI experience. Both plans also include audit capabilities, allowing you to track and review user activities, access, and changes to documents, which help to maintain security and compliance. 


Business Premium extends the capabilities in Business Basic and Business Standard with additional Microsoft Purview functions, allowing you to label and protect sensitive files and emails, including those used or generated by Copilot for Microsoft 365. For example, imagine you own a retail shop that collects and stores confidential information, like credit card numbers, in an Excel file for future use. This file might be protected by a password, but it’s frequently shared via email for company use, which means anyone could download the document and save their own copy. With Business Premium, you get advanced capabilities like Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and Microsoft Purview Information Protection, to help classify and protect sensitive data like customer or employee information, confidential business data, social security numbers, credit card numbers and more. By applying the appropriate label and protection policies such as encrypt or do not forward, you can help ensure sensitive information is secured to protect your data wherever it goes.


Manage your devices to keep them compliant and secure


Device management helps ensure that your devices remain secure, up-to-date, and compliant with your organizational policies, to prevent unauthorized access, security breaches, data loss, and other incidents that could harm your business. Business Basic and Business Standard include Basic Mobility and Security, allowing you to apply essential security policies and access rules to your mobile devices. For example, you can require a PIN or password for device access or remotely wipe a device if it’s lost or stolen.


Business Premium takes this a step further with Microsoft Intune P1, offering advanced tools to manage Microsoft 365 resources on both personal and company-owned devices. For instance, you can deploy and protect applications across various devices and platforms, enforce compliance policies to ensure devices meet security standards, restrict data sharing to prevent leaks, configure device settings to maintain consistency, and monitor device health and status to proactively address potential issues. For example, Intune App Protection Policies can help to separate work apps from personal apps, so work documents and files are only saved in authorized and secure folders, like OneDrive for Business, to protect sensitive information.


Defend your business against cyberthreats like phishing and ransomware


Cybercriminals are constantly seeking ways to deceive you into giving up your information or infecting your systems with malicious software. One of their most common methods is phishing, where they impersonate a trusted entity and send you an email or message with a link or attachment that leads to a fake website or downloads malware onto your device. Phishing is pervasive and effective; the frequency of business email compromise (BEC) attacks has skyrocketed to over 156,000 daily attempts. Microsoft data shows attempted password attacks increased more than tenfold in 2023, from around 3 billion per month to over 30 billion [3]. These attacks can lead to identity theft, data breaches, ransomware, and other serious consequences. 


Microsoft 365 for Business offers security solutions to protect against growing threats. Business Basic and Business Standard include Exchange Online Protection (EOP), a cloud-based service that filters out spam, malware, phishing, and other email threats before they reach your inbox. Business Premium offers enhanced protection with Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P1, which extends security features to Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft OneDrive, and Microsoft SharePoint. It includes layered protection with Safe Links and Safe Attachments. Safe Links check the links in your emails and messages in real-time, blocking access to malicious or compromised websites. Safe Attachments scans your attachments for malware, removing or replacing unsafe files.


 Business Premium also includes sophisticated ransomware protection with Microsoft Defender for Business, that helps secure devices across Windows, iOS, Android, Linux and Mac from a single solution. It offers AI-powered endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities, including Automatic attack disruption, an industry-first capability that correlates millions of individual signals to identify active ransomware or other sophisticated attacks with high confidence. It then disrupts the attack in real-time by automatically containing compromised assets the attacker has access to and stops them from going any further in your environment. This game-changing capability limits a threat actor's progress early on and dramatically reduces the overall impact of an attack, from associated costs to loss of productivity. Automatic attack disruption is on by default so you can focus on what really matters - your business. This proactive approach ensures your devices are not only protected from known threats but are also resilient against emerging cyber threats, significantly reducing the risk of data breaches and security incidents.


Don’t wait to protect your business


Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and causing bigger impacts to small and medium-sized businesses. Microsoft 365 for Business offers productivity and security solutions tailored to meet your business’ specific security needs, helping you run your operations securely and efficiently.


Partners tools to manage Microsoft 365 business customers with Microsoft 365 Lighthouse


Partners play an important role in helping small and medium-sized businesses stay secure. Recognizing this, we built Microsoft 365 Lighthouse, a unified portal for managed service provider (MSP) partners that helps you manage Microsoft 365 business accounts across multiple clients from a single pane of glass. This tool allows partners to streamline security management, monitor compliance, and respond to threats efficiently - helping ensure that all managed businesses maintain robust security standards.


Learn more to help secure your business


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Partner resources:



[1] The devastating impact of ransomware attacks on small businesses, University of Maryland Law, April ... 

[2] based on MSFT internal study

[3] Microsoft Digital Defense Report 2023 (MDDR)


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