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Microsoft 365 is your business' secret cybersecurity weapon

Security is hard for all businesses large and small. We've all seen antivirus alerts pop up on our screens or received emails with obvious malware attached, and the problems are only getting worse. Organizations as diverse as a global auto parts manufacturer, a real estate software vendor, and the digital operations of multiple American cities have all recently been hit by ransomware—causing over $100 million in damages. Overworked IT departments are under pressure to protect data in the modern workplace that goes far beyond a company-owned PC or laptop. In our connected world, hackers target every "network endpoint" such as the cloud-based systems (think Dropbox or AWS app servers) that your partners and customers use to share corporate data and your personal electronics, too. If your organization allows you to check your company email from an Android or iOS smartphone, then you are accessing corporate data. Even though the company doesn't own your iPhone, your company's understaffed IT department must protect this network endpoint from cybersecurity threats. Any one of these endpoints is vulnerable to a hacker, which is why safeguarding your company can be so difficult and time-consuming.

However, organizations with Microsoft 365 For Enterprise (a subscription service that combines Windows 10 Pro, Office 365, and Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility + Security suite) have a built-in cybersecurity feature, Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), that helps shield endpoints against ransomware and other common cyberattacks. As the "A" in the name implies, ATP is an advanced cybersecurity solution designed to deliver comprehensive protection, detection, and response against a wide variety of attacks. This solution is the result of Microsoft spending over a billion dollars every year on research and development to secure their cloud-powered enterprise productivity solutions.

Amaxra has successfully deployed Microsoft 365 For Enterprise with ATP numerous times and our firsthand experience gives us unique insight into its benefits for your organization:

Cybersecurity built on millions, billions, and trillions of data sources

ATP is built on a cloud-based technology called the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph. Although it is technically a set of programming interfaces, think of the Microsoft Graph as similar to a graph in mathematics; a diagram showing the relation between variable quantities. The Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph for ATP takes multiple sources of data from various points across the public internet then analyzes them using cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI). The AI is trained by Microsoft using the combined knowledge of 3,500 cybersecurity professionals to automatically detect patterns that could be related to ransomware, malware, phishing, and other cybersecurity threats.

ATP's ability to leverage the cloud and AI to automatically scan, analyze, and protect against cybersecurity threats is a game changer for understaffed IT departments. Over the past year, the AI behind the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph in ATP scanned over one billion Azure cloud user accounts and analyzed 470 billion emails from Outlook. ATP actively scans over 1.2 billion connected devices and detects about five billion threats to those devices every month. Across the entire Graph, ATP picks up and analyzes 6.5 trillion threats daily.


Microsoft 365 with ATP makes sense of the cybersecurity noise

Understaffed IT departments at midsized enterprises are typically the hardest hit by hackers. Midsized enterprises often achieve success by being more nimble than their large and lumbering rivals. A midsized business often maintains profitability by lean corporate processes and controlling costs. But that often means IT is considered either a cost center or operational expense that CFOs want to minimize. Even though midsized enterprises have several people working in their IT department, these workers often double as PC support and data security. Unfortunately, hackers see the midsized enterprises as their sweet spot to attack; big money protected by relatively small IT security teams.

When you consider that Microsoft 365 with ATP scans billions of endpoints and finds trillions of threats per day, you get a sense of the sheer volume of constant cyberattacks made against businesses. It's such an overwhelming amount of threats that it becomes cybersecurity noise to a single human being. But the Microsoft Graph and cloud-powered AI that underpins Microsoft 365 with ATP is constantly analyzing all of that threat data for you, correlating all the shared data across multiple endpoints and accounts to determine if someone in your branch office just forgot their password or a foreign hacker is trying to get into your network—and immediately alert you with actionable information.

The fact that ATP can detect and respond automatically to cyberattacks is the real value of Microsoft 365 for your business. Nothing against the good people who work in your IT department, but even if many of them are certified cybersecurity experts, are they staffed to detect and respond to 6,500,000,000,000 cybersecurity attacks per day? If you have Microsoft 365 at your business, that level of cybersecurity is continuous and automatic.

Microsoft 365 is cybersecurity + business productivity

One common objection that Amaxra hears from midsized enterprise IT departments considering Microsoft 365 with ATP is that it's in the cloud. "My concern is running this security will eat into my bandwidth," one IT Director told us. "I can't have ATP slow down cloud app performance for my users."

The long answer is extremely technical, but the short answer is "Microsoft already thought of that." Microsoft 365 with ATP does not require an organization to install any additional hardware or software to protect your network and the devices that connect to it. As part of your Microsoft 365 subscription, every employee in your organization gets a free copy of Windows 10 Pro hardened against cybersecurity threats. ATP protections extend beyond Windows 10 PCs to cover all popular device platforms such as Apple Macs, iOS devices, and Google Android. All of the cybersecurity analysis is done via AI in the extremely powerful Microsoft Cloud infrastructure rather than using your employees' limited device processing power. You never have to worry that ATP cybersecurity will cause your typing to be slow when composing an email in Outlook or entering numbers in an Excel spreadsheet.

If ease of use and business productivity are important to you, then Microsoft 365 with ATP is the perfect choice. The ATP security is unobtrusive and enables your employees to do the right thing in their jobs every day while automatically securing their data.

Microsoft 365 with ATP is a must-have for the midsized enterprise

Amaxra is a Microsoft Gold-level Partner with over a decade of expertise in deploying secure cloud solutions. As an early adopter of Microsoft 365, we can give you an honest, real-world evaluation to determine if your organization would benefit from deploying Microsoft 365 For Enterprise with ATP. Whether you currently have Office 365 and have questions about an upgrade or want to deploy a "greenfield" Microsoft 365 into your organization, our expert consultants will get you the answers you need.

 

Contact me at mike.arntzen@amaxra.com or call 425 749 7471 if you have any questions or comments on this blog.

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