Now that a majority of the popular Microsoft software applications are available as a hosted platform (or in other words, you can access them via the “Software as a Service”, or “SaaS” model), one of the other thoughts that will be on your mind is that of the security which comes with these applications.  This is a topic which is of prime importance, given the COVID19 threat landscape that we are living in today.  In fact, many hosted platforms that are used for virtual conferencing and meetings are at grave risk, it is not just Zoom.

But it is important to note that Microsoft has come out to the forefront with different security packages to fit your individual needs, and even the security requirements for that of your business.   In today’s breach heavy environment, we recommend that the MS 365 E3 is only purchased with the Security E5 options.   This is the focal point of this article.

Breaking Down the Differences

Microsoft comes with two different flavors, known more specifically as “Microsoft 365 E3 with the Security E5 option” and “Microsoft 365 E5” which contains both Security and Compliance.

Understanding the Microsoft 365 E3 with the Security E5 Plan

This combination plan comes with the following features:

  • Office 365 E3;
  • Security features that are included in the Enterprise Mobility + Security E5;
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E5.

The following matrix gives a further breakdown of the security features that are associated with the E3 Plan:

Package                                                 Included Security Features

Office 365 Anti-Malware; Anti-Spam; Minimal Levels of Alerts & Auditing; Data Loss & Prevention
 

 

EMS E5 like security options
(with the exception of Compliance and eDiscovery)

Azure AD Premium P2 (this includes Multifactor Authentication, Conditional Access, Intermediate Levels of Security, and Azure based Active Directory Cloud Application Discovery); Microsoft Intune; Azure Protection P2; Advanced Threat Analytics; Windows Server Licenses (CALs)

Microsoft Cloud Application Security

Advance threat Protection

Privileged Access Management tools

 

 

 

Windows 10 Enterprise E5

Windows Defender Anti-Malware; Windows Defender Firewall; SmartScreen & Network Protection; Windows Defender Credential Guard; Windows Defender System Guard;
Windows Defender Application Control;
Windows AppLocker; Windows Defender Exploit Guard; Windows Defender Application Guard and Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

 

The pricing for the Microsoft 365 E3 Plan with the Security E5 right now is at $44.00 per month per user.  The Microsoft 365 E3 is $32.00 a month, and the Security E5 add on option is $12.00 a month.  We do not recommend the Microsoft E3 without the Microsoft E5 security option.

Understanding the Microsoft 365 E5 Plan

This type of package comes with the following features:

  • Office 365 E5; which includes Power BI and Audio Conferencing
  • Enterprise Mobility + Security E5;
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E5;
  • More advanced Compliance and eDiscovery features than the E3/E5

The matrix below gives a further breakdown of the security features that are associated with the E5 Plan:

Package                                            Included Security Features

 

 

Office 365

Same as 0365 E3, but also includes the following:

 

*Power BI Pro

*Audio Conferencing for Teams meeting

*

0365 Threat Intelligence;

 

 

 

EMS E5 security features and
Compliance and eDiscovery

Similar to the MS 365 E3 + Security E5 options but includes all of the Compliance and Identity options such as the following:

 

*Azure Active Directory Identity Governance.

*Compliance management

*Advanced eDiscovery tools (this is geared specifically towards the legal industry);

*Advanced Data Governance;

*A “Customer Lockbox”;

*A “Unique Customer Key”.  The primary purpose of this is to provide a set of Encryption keys that can be used to literally scramble your 0365 information and data into a garbled state in case it was to be intercepted by a Cyberattacker.

 

 

Windows 10 Enterprise E5

Same as MS 365 E3 + Security E5 option

 

The pricing for the Microsoft 365 E5 Plan right now is at $57.00 per month per user, and this comes as a completely bundled package.

In addition to the above, Microsoft has also introduced a newer package, which is known as “Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance”.   This package allows you to add the MS 365 Compliance features to the MS 365 E3 license for those users that need Compliance management and not some of the other tools available in the Microsoft 365 E5. The pricing for the above package is $10.00 per month per user.

Conclusions

Even when you have both an O365 and/or Azure Cloud account(s), you can also deploy many security solutions from there as well, by simply adding on those extra services.  If you choose to go this route, or purchase one of the plans as outlined in the above matrices, this will give you a layered security environment, along with conditional access based detection for MFA.  Conditional access is a service that helps determine when an out of area attacker is attempting to accessing the resources in your account.    it is very important that you have multiple layers of security, which includes “Multifactor Authentication” or “MFA” for short, with the conditional access options.

This not only provides a better and more holistic approach to security, but you can also get a much better understanding of the Cyberthreat environment that your business could potentially be under.  In this regard, in order to get a more affordable solution with the best layers of protection it is highly recommended that you make use of the M365 E3 Plan combined with the Security E5 Plan.

Although the plans reviewed in the last section appear to come as a bundled package, you can also pick the various components a la carte as well.  This may appear to be a rather daunting task at first, but at Kamind IT, we are here to help you.  Contact us today!!!

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