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Microsoft 365 and Office 365 - what's the difference?

As data becomes the new gold and business-critical for many companies, security is also becoming increasingly important. A lost mobile phone or an infected email can do a lot of damage. It's not just devices that need to be protected, software needs to be secure too as we become more and more mobile. Microsoft works on security in all its products, but what makes them different?

Windows 10 - Office 365 - Microsoft 365 - your security staircase

Microsoft offers a range of products and it can sometimes be difficult to know which does what. Here we will look at the difference between Office 365 and Microsoft 365 from a security perspective. But we'll start with a quick look at Windows 10. The first step to better IT protection is to update to Windows 10. Unfortunately, many businesses are still using old versions of Windows and not installing security updates as they are released. Enabling Windows 10's built-in virus protection and firewall gives your business basic protection. Small steps that make a difference.

Office 365 - more than just productivity

Office 365 has the tools you and your colleagues need to work and collaborate smoothly and efficiently. We're all familiar with Word, Excel and Powerpoint, but there's more. Teams, Yammer and SharePoint take collaboration to a new level. Office 365 includes some security features such as email and file encryption and the ability to classify information with labels. In Exchange, you can set up rules for emails and enable protection against intrusions, Trojans and other malware.

It's safe to work in Windows 10 and Office 365 apps inside your firewalls against your local company servers. Businesses are changing and we're working in new ways, more and more work is moving to the cloud and the workplace has gone mobile. More types of devices, cloud services and unsecured networks are being used in places like cafes and public places. Which places higher demands on security as business data is at risk of exposure and systems are threatened by attacks and breaches. Something as simple as a lost mobile phone or tablet can pose a major security risk. In the cloud, a higher level of security is needed with protection against ransomeware, ID hijacking, using systems that detect anomalous behaviour, which Office 365 cannot fully provide.

With Microsoft 365, security takes several steps up

The best way to lift security is to upgrade Office 365 to Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 has three areas of focus when it comes to security: securing users' accounts, i.e. identity, managing and securing their devices, and securing file management in the cloud.

Identity, is about ensuring that the user really is who they say they are. Identity management in Microsoft 365 is handled by Azure Active Directory Premium (AAD). Here you can control the user's rights, which devices, apps and services can be used. Azure AD can also be configured to alert if a user suddenly logs in from an unknown device, requiring two-factor authentication, while a known device on the office network gets a simpler login.

Device management - As important as keeping track of users is controlling and protecting their work tools. Microsoft 365 Enterprise Mobility +Security (EMS) is a set of tools that helps you manage and secure the devices used in your business. EMS allows you to manage mobiles, tablets, laptops but also which apps can be used and security settings. EMS also allows you to lock or delete sensitive content on devices that have gone astray.

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To protect data is about more than just backing it up. Microsoft 365 lets you assign permissions, encrypt files and track who's managing them. You can classify data as sensitive, manually or automatically using rules. An automatic data protection check alerts you if large amounts of data are deleted or uploaded. And you can lock files so they can't be downloaded locally or to an unapproved cloud service.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) - an extra step

Windows Defender ATP is an add-on to Microsoft 365. It's intelligent protection that uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to ward off threats. ATP learns your users' routines and reacts if something breaks the pattern. At the same time, ATP learns to detect threats and automatically deal with them. The advanced virus protection in ATP can check links in emails and documents and goes deeper than the protection available in Office 365.

Choosing the right Microsoft 365 plan

In order for every company to find the right security solution for its own company and its users, Microsoft offers different levels of licenses. Microsoft 365 license levels are based on the security needs of the company's users, not the size of the organization. It could be a small business where all ten employees need to be at the highest level with all the security features and intelligent protection offered. The large company probably has users where the entry level with ID protection and device manager provides is adequate protection while middle managers need a little more security and management needs everything.

In short, we can say that you work confidently on an updated Windows 10 with the secure and productive applications of Office 365. Microsoft 365 protects your identity, manages your devices, and safeguards your data as you step out into the cloud.

Want to know more about which Microsoft 365 security solutions are right for your business? Learn more about the possibilities of Office 365 and Microsoft 365 in our guide here.