Office 365 E5 increases security and compliance in the cloud

For those hoping to achieve compliance with a managed Office 365 plan, the same broken record is oft-repeated: cloud-based security, real-time collaboration, and predictable costs. By clarifying that you’re looking for an enterprise-level solution, you may learn 365’s E5 plan includes publicly switched telephone network (PSTN) conferencing, voice solutions with cloud PBX and everything that comes with Skype for Business — but how exactly does it help your organisation achieve legal and regulatory compliance?

The answer is simple: unprecedented protection and security of your data. Aside from the under-the-hood improvements, Microsoft grants administrators new controls on two fronts: inbound threats from outside your network, and internal threats from the malicious or accidental behaviours of existing users. By increasing security and streamlining compliance administration features, Office 365 E5 makes meeting industry and regulatory requirements for ISO/IEC 27001, HIPAA, FISMA, EU Model Clauses, GLBA, and and other compliance initiatives a walk in the park.

Advanced Threat Protection

Ultimately, hackers need to deploy their code onto your organisation’s workstations to be effective. Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection policies derail these inbound dangers by screening the attachments and links embedded in your emails. According to Proofpoint, between 2014 and 2015 there was a 600% increase in attachment-based email attacks vs. their URL-based counterparts. Although detecting and thwarting these attack vectors was once an elementary routine, innovations in malware have forced security programmers to turn to new detection strategies. Office 365 E5 is leading that charge with Safe Attachments, a service that prevents malware infections by opening files inside of a virtual, self-contained environment. In this safe space, the true intentions of Outlook attachments can be unmasked before exposing the entire system.

The second avenue of attack for those intending to harm your business is malicious links. Regardless of whether they intend to infect your network or to trick you into giving away sensitive information, hyperlinks remain one of the most dangerous threats to organisations that rely on email for day-to-day communications. Much like the virtual spaces created to quarantine email attachments, E5 introduces Safe Links to redirect email hyperlinks through a proxy to make sure they don’t land your staff in an untrustworthy space. Because Microsoft believes the long-term solution to these attacks is about more than just software, Safe Links also tracks individual user history for administrators to see which of your staff are regular offenders of unsafe web practices.

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Advanced Security Management

While Safe Links and Safe Attachments curb external threats to your organisation’s network, Advanced Security Management from the E5 plan mitigates threats that originate within your own network. By limiting third-party application permissions, suspicious logins, and uncategorised IP addresses, network administrators can reduce the number of opportunities for untrained users to open backdoors or expose private data to unauthorised viewers.

On top of these clearly defined custom policies, 365’s enterprise-level plan employs machine learning and behavioral analytics to sniff out suspicious behaviour. Red flags can be as obvious as simultaneous logins on opposite sides of the globe, or as subtle as abnormal download habits.

Compliance

Security is arguably the main prerequisite of compliance, but machine learning is helping in another way as well — by drastically reducing your discovery burden. Predictive coding identifies duplicated data and redundant information so you aren’t combing through the same information over and over again. Reviewing records and data is more painless than ever.

And when you need the assistance of a real person, Office 365 offers privacy controls aimed directly at keeping you compliant. Nearly every set of data regulations requires strict control over who can and cannot access records. To this end, if any event requires troubleshooting by a Microsoft engineer, a request must be made directly to the network administrator outlining what the engineer needs access to, why, and for how long. All this information will be automatically collected by 365 and relayed to the administrator for approval.

Obfuscated by thousands of pages of legislation, the standards set forth by governmental entities are intrinsically complex. Compounding this challenge is the fact that doing business in the 21st century has become increasingly international in nature. Whether it’s the American’s HIPAA regulations or the EU’s GDPR, there’s a great deal to juggle. As it stands, we believe Microsoft’s Office 365 E5 plan is one of the quickest routes to consolidating and achieving this intimidating task.

We say, “one of,” because here at Damson Cloud our team doesn’t believe in limiting you to a narrow range of cloud solutions. With certifications and specialisations in twelve separate platforms ranging from household names like Google to lesser known gems such as Backupify, we know what it takes to put you ahead of the competition. Leave behind the cut-rate cloud solutions from providers that have spread themselves thin across dozens of services and call Damson Cloud today — your personal cloud specialist.