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How to Manage and Protect your Devices and Data with Microsoft 365 Business Premium 

How to Manage and Protect your Devices and Data with Microsoft 365 Business Premium 

Introduction

In our previous blog on Microsoft 365 Business Premium ‘Boost security with Microsoft 365 Business Premium, we looked at the different subscription plans available and examined the differences between the Business Standard plan and the Business Premium plan. We also looked at the powerful identity and access management tools in Entra ID Plan 1 (part of Business Premium). 

While MS 365 Business Standard contains the Office apps you use on a daily basis, it does not offer the security needed in an era of rapidly growing and evolving cyber threats. MS 365 Business Premium takes care of that by bundling security features that give you more control and greater protection. 

Those security features are the major selling point, and the reason that many organisations decide to upgrade from Business Standard to Business Premium.  

The additional features present in Business Premium can be summed up as: 

  • Identity and access management (Microsoft Entra ID Plan 1), covered in the previous blog. 
  • Device management and protection (Microsoft Intune and Microsoft Defender) 
  • Information protection (Microsoft Azure Information Protection Plan 1) 

These applications work well together (with some overlap) to improve security while also reducing friction and boosting productivity.  

Our previous blog looked at identity and access management, and here we will explore device and information management and security.  

Device management and protection  

Business Premium’s device management and protection features are provided by Microsoft Intune and Microsoft Defender. With Intune, you can manage all devices that access your network (including employee-owned devices used for work). Defender protects you against cybersecurity threats and attacks. 

  • Microsoft Intune – simplifies device management 

Intune is a tool for managing and protecting the organisation’s devices, apps and data. As well as corporate devices, it also covers BYOD devices (“bring your own device” – personal devices owned by employees and used to connect with the business’s network). This enables you to protect your organisation’s data across the range of devices and access points. Our blog on BYOD devices ‘The hidden dangers of personal computers on your network‘ has more details on the risks, and how to mitigate those risks. 

With Intune deployed on each device, you can apply policies to and install applications on all the computers, regardless of their location (including machines used for working remotely). 

This means that from one central location you can ensure that every employee has access to all the applications and data they need, and keep those applications up to date. You can tailor access so that the right employees have access to the right resources, ensuring that sensitive areas (e.g. HR and management) are only available to authorised personnel and devices. 

You can also use it to roll out standard document templates as required, making it easier to makes changes when needed. 

You get to choose how the devices are used and what they can access, and you can configure the security features your organisation needs. Ensuring that only compliant devices can access company resources and data improves security and protects confidential information. 

If you have employees working remotely and using personal devices to access work resources, mobile app protection policies can help you maintain boundaries between work and personal apps and data. For example, you can prevent confidential work files from being saved in personal storage locations on a user-owned device. 

You can also remotely retire or wipe devices that are no longer used in the businesses (e.g. if a device is lost, stolen or simply no longer required). 

  • Microsoft Defender for Business – proactive detection of cybersecurity threats 

Defender for Business is a device security solution for small and medium businesses. It provides protection against a wide range of cybersecurity threats such as viruses, malware, phishing and ransomware across different devices (including desktops, laptops and mobile devices). 

It uses Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) to deliver proactive threat detection that continuously monitors systems for suspicious activity and can catch and stop advanced threats, even new threats that do not appear in antivirus databases. 

  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 – protection within Office 365 applications 

Whereas Defender for Business protects your devices, Defender for Office 365 provides protection within your Office 365 environment. 

Its Safe Attachments feature securely checks incoming email attachments before they are delivered to recipients. It also helps detect and block dangerous files shared in OneDrive, SharePoint or Teams. 

Safe Links checks links contained in incoming emails to provide protection before the email reaches the recipient.  

It can also provide protection at the time the link is clicked by checking and blocking dangerous links contained in Office apps (e.g. Teams PowerPoint and Word) 

It integrates seamlessly into Office apps to give you peace of mind. 

Information protection

The information protection features in Business Premium are provided by Azure Information Protection Plan 1 which is designed to manage and safeguard sensitive information.  

  • Azure Information Protection Plan 1 – protects sensitive data 

Sensitivity Labels enable an organisation to classify data (manually or automatically) according to its sensitivity. Then, using the access management tools contained in Entra ID Plan 1 – discussed here Boost security with Microsoft 365 Business Premiumrules can be defined as to how and with whom confidential data is shared, where it can be stored, whether it can be emailed, etc. 

Data Loss Prevention helps you protect sensitive data and reduce the risk of it being shared with the wrong people. Documents can be automatically identified, using rules you establish (e.g. by keywords and other markers), and protected across multiple applications. 

If you email sensitive or confidential information, email encryption can help to keep that data safe and prevent unauthorised access. 

Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs Microsoft 365 Business Premium 

With the range of products available from Microsoft, it can be difficult to know which is right for your organisation. MS 365 Business Standard comes with the Office apps you use every day, but does not include the vital security features necessary to keep your data and devices safe. 

Business Premium includes everything available in Business Standard, plus extra security features that your business needs to stay safe and protected against growing cybersecurity threats.  

Many of our clients chose to upgrade to Microsoft 365 Business Premium once they realised the security benefits it offers. 

Although Business Premium costs more than Standard, bundle pricing makes it cheaper than buying the tools separately. Productivity gains mean that the plan pays for itself, and averting a single breach would immediately justify the purchase. 

To discuss which Microsoft product is the best fit for your business, or learn about upgrading please contact us.


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