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Written by Ian Thomas

With ransomware up 300%, one in four organisations, of all sizes, reporting a breach in the last 12 months and the average cost of a breach running into hundreds of thousands, even millions of pounds, security is now a top 3 business risk for Boards and no longer just an IT problem.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past, where if you told a security professional your security strategy or tooling revolved around Microsoft, the response would be a roll of the eyes. 

All that has changed, an understanding of the collaborative and specialist nature of security, the constantly escalating cost of point security solutions and the complexity of integrating them has given Microsoft a space that they’ve made their own. In the realm of digital security, Microsoft has continually positioned itself at the forefront, especially with its comprehensive E5 Security and Compliance offerings. 

Microsoft has made impressive advances in security, considering it holistically, and embracing security outcomes rather than complex engineering-led integrations, a willingness to support, work with and leverage value from security professionals coupled with significant investment of finance and people, that has never been seen before. With reportedly well over $1 billion a year being poured into Security, this explains why Microsoft Security solutions are an optimal choice for companies seeking robust, comprehensive and critically integrated, security solutions.

1. Historical Perspective: Microsoft’s Security Evolution

Microsoft’s journey in security over the last 5 years has been one marked by continuous evolution and adaptation. They have transformed from a company primarily focused on software development to one that prioritises security at every level. This evolution is partly in response to the changing digital landscape, where cyber threats have become more sophisticated and frequent.

2. Advancements in Cybersecurity Technologies

One of the key areas of advancement for Microsoft has been in the development of sophisticated cybersecurity technologies. Microsoft invests over $1 billion annually in cybersecurity research and development. This investment has led to the creation of advanced tools such as:

  • Azure Sentinel: This scalable, cloud native SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) system uses AI to analyse large volumes of data across an enterprise. It detects, investigates, and responds to security threats quickly. 
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint: Formerly known as Windows Defender ATP, this platform provides preventative protection, post-breach detection, automated investigation, and response. It is now recognised by Gartner as the leader in this space.
  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): Integrated across Microsoft 365 services, ATP offers protection against sophisticated threats in email, collaboration tools, and more.

3. Integration and Comprehensive Coverage

Microsoft’s E5 suite stands out due to its integration and comprehensive coverage across various services and platforms. The suite combines security and compliance solutions in a way that not only enhances security but also simplifies management. It integrates seamlessly with existing Microsoft products, ensuring that companies can bolster their security without disrupting existing workflows.

4. Compliance and Regulatory Adherence

With the increasing importance of data privacy laws like GDPR, CCPA, and others, compliance has become a critical concern for companies. Microsoft E5 provides a range of tools to help organisations comply with these regulations. Features like Compliance Manager and Advanced eDiscovery make it easier for companies to manage compliance risks and respond to legal obligations.

5. AI and Machine Learning in Threat Detection

Microsoft has heavily incorporated AI and machine learning into its security solutions. With further developments announced at Ignite recently, you can now protect every layer of your environment with a unified security operations platform embedded with Microsoft Security Copilot. These technologies enable proactive threat detection, automate threat response, and provide predictive security insights. AI-driven analytics can spot unusual behaviour patterns and potential vulnerabilities before they become significant threats.

6. Cloud Security: Azure’s Role

Azure plays a crucial role in Microsoft’s security framework. With features like Azure Security Centre and Azure Advanced Threat Protection, Microsoft provides tools for securing cloud resources and hybrid environments. Azure’s robust security features ensure that enterprises can safely transition to the cloud without compromising on security.

7. User Education and Awareness

Beyond just technological advancements, Microsoft also focuses on user education and awareness. They offer various resources and training modules to help users understand security best practices and recognise potential threats. This focus on human elements is crucial as user error often leads to security breaches.

8. Why E5 is the Best Choice for Companies

  • Comprehensive Protection: E5 offers end-to-end protection for all aspects of a company’s digital operations, from email and document security to identity and network protection.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: By bundling various security and compliance tools, E5 provides a cost-effective solution compared to purchasing individual products.
  • Ease of Use and Integration: The integration with both existing Microsoft products and services, and the broader security landscape makes E5 easy to implement and manage. Thanks to auto-provisioning and configuration tools from some vendors standing up the service takes hours not weeks.
  • Customisability and Scalability: E5 can be tailored to the specific needs of a company and is scalable as the company grows.  Solutions which work for SME and Global corporates are rare in the security space.
  • Continuous Updates and Innovations: Microsoft’s commitment to security ensures that E5 customers benefit from the latest security innovations and updates.
  • Real defences and Simplified Automation: Including a comprehensive Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) in the solution saves further money on point security tooling and enables automation to be leveraged to act on incidents, increase detection and investigation speeds, and reduce overall risk.
  • Significant partner expertise and engagement: Microsoft’s open and collaborative approach to security, and the minimisation of the engineering burden of legacy tooling has led to security professionals embracing Microsoft security solutions. As such, there is a mature partner base offering support and “as-a-service” management and monitoring – providing companies with efficiencies and economies of scale not available from point product – in short, more of your monthly cost of security is spent on defending your business and less on expensive engineering and lights-on maintenance. 

Conclusion

Microsoft’s relentless focus on advancing security technologies, along with its commitment to integration, compliance, and user education, makes its E5 Security and Compliance suite an unparalleled choice for companies. By choosing E5, businesses not only safeguard their digital assets but also position themselves to adapt and thrive in an increasingly complex and threat-prone digital landscape.

The integration of advanced technologies like AI and machine learning, the emphasis on cloud security, and the overarching approach of providing a comprehensive, all-in-one solution are what set Microsoft’s E5 apart. In today’s world, where the cost of a security breach can be devastating, investing in a robust security solution like Microsoft E5 is not just a choice but a necessity for businesses aiming for long-term success and resilience.

To find out more about how Sapphire can help with your Microsoft E5 security solution, contact us today.  

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