It seems we can’t go a week without a major data breach occurring; from Yahoo! losing data to over 500 million accounts to point-of-sale systems being compromised. Data, security, and software are three fundamental parts of any corporation and at Ignite this week, Microsoft is announcing several new tools for its enterprise clients to help them keep their data secure.
Microsoft has announced this week that they are extending and bringing new security features to Office 365. These new features include Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) being extended to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business and Office 365 Threat Intelligence which will provide alerts and information on the origination of specific attacks inside your environment.
With Office 365 ATP being extended to the Office apps and OneDrive, this reduces the number of open attack vectors and because this service includes a new dynamic delivery feature, this enables users to receive email immediately with a placeholder attachment while the actual attachment undergoes scanning; a user can still read the contents of an email while waiting for the attachment to arrive. Further, URL detonation with ATP looks at links in real-time to identify unknown and malicious websites and prevent a user for downloading or visiting a site.
When you couple this information with the new Office 365 Threat Intelligence service, which provides alerts and information on the origination of specific attacks, when running Office 365, you are not only better protected from outside threats, you can also identify those threats that have breached the outer layer of security faster and stop the threat before it spreads.
What Microsoft is doing with Office 365 is turning the platform into another security layer for your company. While firewalls, virus protection, two-factor authentication, and the like have always been a good way at keeping intruders and out, with Office 365 adding new and advanced security features to the productivity service, it’s yet another vehicle that can be used to monitor and protect your environment.
This extension of security to Office makes quite a bit of sense too. Imagine that a malicious file is sent to a user and Office 365 catches this file and stops it before a user opens it; what the service can now do is go upstream and look at who else that file was sent to and stop the delivery of the malicious documents.
Because nearly every company uses the Office suite, but not all of them currently use Office 365, Microsoft has created an interesting scenario where it is less-secure to utilize its on-premises software. With attacks becoming increasingly complex. if you are not using Office 365 E5, which is where you gain the full suite of security enhancements, then you are potentially putting your data at risk.
For smaller companies, keeping close tabs on your employees is much easier than at the enterprise scale. Having automated tools like the new security features announced this week is how Microsoft is going to make sure that Office remains the king of productivity for the foreseeable future as it not only adds value for productivity, but they are also now making those files safer too.