Microsoft has announced plans to enhance the security capabilities of its Microsoft 365 Business subscriptions. The company says the new features will help businesses become more secure. To emphasize the importance of security on the platform, Microsoft cited a survey it conducted.

The company found 87% of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been breached and 71% think they are vulnerable. Probably the most worrying statistic is 60% of SMBs went out of business within six months of facing a security breach.

So, for a majority of SMBs, a breach means the end of operations. Microsoft says the average cost of recovering from a breach is $140,000.

New security features in Microsoft 365 Business plans aim to shore up a gap that exists between businesses under attack and those that can protect themselves. The survey found just 41% of SMBs can remotely remove data from a stolen device, while around half use email encryption.

Microsoft says phishing emails are amongst the most dangerous attacks facing organizations. By leveraging machine learning, Microsoft 365 Business will improve phishing detection. The platform will automatically check links to ensure they are safe:

  • Sophisticated scanning of attachments and AI-powered analysis to detect and discard dangerous messages.
  • Automatic checks of links in email to assess if they are part of a phishing scheme and prevent users from accessing unsafe websites.
  • Device protection to prevent devices from interacting with ransomware and other malicious web locations.

Protecting Data

SMBs tend to handle their own sensitive data, with 29 percent storing bank account details. Avoiding unintentional leaks, data deletion, and data storage problems, Microsoft 365 will get the following features:

  • Data loss prevention policies to identify, monitor, and protect sensitive information such as social security and credit card numbers.
  • Information protection in Outlook to let you and your employees manage access to sensitive data in emails. For example, you can set encryption rules to prevent an email from being forwarded, copied, or pasted into other programs.
  • Email archiving and preservation policies to help ensure data is properly retained with continuous data backup and compliance.
  • The ability to enforce BitLocker device encryption on all Windows devices to help protect against data theft or exposure if a protected device is lost or stolen.

It is worth noting these features are all already available for Microsoft 365 Enterprise. Soon, smaller companies on the Business subscription will be able to receive them.