Your business is like your child—you’ve raised it and nurtured it, and now that it’s out in the world, you want to do everything you can to protect it. With this in mind, Microsoft 365 has released brand new security features to better protect your business from all manners of cyber threats.

These updates are specially designed for businesses with under 300 employees and focus on being comprehensive and reliable without breaking the bank—just what a small business values the most. All of the new features will work together to protect you from some of the most common security risks.

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Microsoft 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)

Phishing and ransomware are common security risks at the forefront of small business owners’ minds. The new Microsoft 365 Business security features introduce Advanced Threat Protection, which utilizes several important tools to keep your business safe:

  • Scanning and Analysis. Microsoft 365 uses advanced scanning and AI-powered analysis to find and dispose of dangerous messages before they reach your employees.
  • Email Checking. New security features will automatically check links in emails and flag them to prevent employees from being redirected to unsafe sites.
  • Device Protection. This feature prevents your business’s devices from interacting with hazardous ransomware or any other unsafe web locations.

How Advanced Threat Protection Works

Advanced Threat Protection prevents phishing by testing and analyzing email attachments in a safe, virtual environment. If an attachment is found to be malicious, ATP will block delivery of that attachment so your employees will never even have the opportunity to open it.

Ransomware protection and link checking work a little differently, but with the same results—when your employee clicks on a link, ATP will determine whether the link is safe. If it detects any threats, it will warn the employee not to proceed to the site and redirect them back to a safe page. It may even block the site completely if a highly malicious threat is detected.

Microsoft 365 Data Loss Prevention

Your data is your most valuable asset—compromising it could mean losing everything you and your business stand for and will undoubtedly have long-term devastating effects on both your revenue and your reputation. Because of this, Microsoft 365 Business has added several features to make sure your data stays safe:

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Policies. These policies will help ensure that sensitive information such as credit card numbers or other identification stay secure. It allows you to flag sensitive information and track or set policies around the distribution of that information.
  • Information Protection. This Outlook feature will enable you to set certain policies for how you and your employees share sensitive data. For example, you can set policies preventing forwarding certain emails, or even copying and pasting within the emails.
  • Theft Protection. With BitLocker encryption, Microsoft 365 ensures that your information remains safe even if a device is stolen. You can also remotely wipe any lost device, or reset any device to its factory settings if you’re passing it on to a new employee.

Email Archiving

All small businesses are subject to regulations on how email communication is handled and retained. Microsoft 365 Business works to address even the most stringent regulations with its new email archiving features:

  • Litigation Hold. This can be used to put an entire user’s email inbox, including deleted items, on “litigation hold.” This will preserve all of their inbox content, including original versions of items that may have been modified.
  • Retention Policies. Exchange allows you to customize your own retention policies according to your regulatory and business needs. You can choose to delete things permanently after a set period of time, keep them in a separate storage area, and more.

These features can also be of tremendous help in the event of a security breach or accidental deletion of important data, as archiving allows you to go in and recovery lost information if necessary.

Azure Information Protection

This cloud-based solution allows you to apply labels to your documents and emails so you can more easily classify and protect them as needed. Labels can be applied automatically, or users can be given suggestions for how to label certain data.

Some examples of labels include:

  • Do Not Forward
  • Confidential
  • Highly Confidential
  • Encrypt

Simply putting these labels on an email or document can draw your employees’ attention to the fact that this is sensitive information that should be handled with extra care, or help you find and track certain types of items later on.

Security Dashboard

All of these features sound great, but how will you manage them? If it becomes a complicated chore to juggle all of the tools, what’s the point of using them?

Fortunately, that’s not the case with Microsoft 365 Business. The Security Dashboard collects all of the relevant security information in one place. It’s clear and uncluttered, so even the most non-technical users will feel right at home.

On the dashboard, you can activate and deactivate features with just the click of a button, set custom policies that make sense for your business, and instantly remote-wipe stolen or lost devices.

Downsides of Microsoft 365 Business

There really aren’t any true downsides to Microsoft 365 Business. In fact, many analysts have predicted that it will become the gold standard for small businesses. However, adopting Microsoft 365 Business will require some communication and training.

For example, the system may flag an unsafe link, but that will not necessarily stop your employee from dismissing the warning and clicking “Continue to link” anyway. Therefore, it’s imperative that you actively train your employees on security best practices, as well as inform them of the Microsoft 365 Business security features discussed here so they’ll know how to properly handle warnings.

However, these trainings and communications should be relatively simple—all that your employees really need is knowledge of what’s going on and an idea of how to listen to these security prompts. Everything else is very intuitive, and your staff will likely appreciate the ease of mind these security features will bring.

Security Features Made for You

Microsoft 365’s new security features were designed with small businesses like yours in mind. They’ll empower you to protect your data and employees from all of the potential cyber attacks that threaten modern businesses. Take advantage of this update today to begin enjoying greater security.

Still not sure if Microsoft 365 is right for your business? Contact us today for more information on how it can help you secure your data and get more done.

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Written by Mathieu Pipe-Rondeau Marketing Communications Specialist @ SherWeb

Mathieu is responsible for SherWeb’s blog content and organic social media. Highly conscious of branding and related communications, he’s constantly on the lookout for new and better ways to showcase SherWeb to the world. Mathieu has ten years of communications and marketing experience, including expertise in knowledge management, process creation and improvement, technical writing and content strategy. When he’s not producing engaging content, Mathieu enjoys cooking, singing and skateboarding with his son.