With over 70 million active users across the world, there is a good chance that your organization currently utilizes Office 365 in some capacity. If not, your company may be contemplating it as an astonishing 78 per cent of IT decision-makers claim to use or plan to use Office 365 in 2017. What’s more, 70% of Fortune 500 companies have already purchased Office 365 for their users and integrated active directory reporting for their employees on the go. Though we often associate Office 365 as an email solution when discussing corporate IT, not all enterprise subscribers use it for email services. According to Gartner, less than 10% of enterprises use Office 365 Exchange, although they have an 80% market share for large public companies that use cloud-based email services. Many customers simply use Microsoft’s prominent cloud solution for its application suite or for OneDrive cloud storage. Despite what it may seem, not everyone is hurriedly migrating their email platforms to Office 365. Some of the reasons for this include the high reoccurring cost structure of licensing users for large organizations. For others, it is a matter of ensuring the desired level of support they seek for their users.
Many businesses continue to turn to managed service providers for their email operations. While some MSPs rebrand Office 365 as an extension of their own service offerings, many MSPs offer email alternatives that offer the same level of performance as the big player on the market. Many MSP customers also appreciate the granular level of service and attention that only a local MSP can provide. An MSP becomes the trusted advisor and partner to its small business customers, providing reliable service far beyond the realm the giant cloud providers. Email services fit perfectly when packaged with other services such as endpoint security, backup and VDI services, Email services fit perfectly.
Office 365 is a Big Target for Hackers
Beyond the basics of email hosting however, there is one aspect of email in which MSPs can offer substantive value for even those who are direct subscribers of Office 365 Exchange; email security. That is because there is one big problem with being the big kahuna in the cloud email space – you become the #1 target for hackers and phishing masterminds. If millions of users use the same email cloud service that utilizes the same set of security tools, hackers can simply devote their resources and time to circumvent them through discovered weaknesses and exploits. Just as users get more bang for the buck by migrating their email services to Office 365, hackers get more bang for the buck by having so many enterprise users concentrated into one platform.
You may have never thought about it, but phishing creators and hackers use Office 365 as well. They have the option to pay the subscription fee or break into another user’s account through a credential stuffing attack (which is why it is so important to have complex secure passwords). They then use these accounts to test and research just how Microsoft security functions.
Many Office 365 customers may assume that they are getting Microsoft’s full blanket of protection concerning their accounts. Unfortunately, this is not the case. All accounts do get the benefit of the default security offering. Microsoft however offers an additional security package called Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). This package includes message sandboxing, link reputation checking, URL reporting/tracing, and phishing protection. To take advantage of the full suite of capabilities requires an enterprise subsection license. Customers can also add these services in à la carte fashion but each additional service requires an additional fee. Again, keep in mind too that the hackers have access to the sandbox as well.
Compounding Office 365 Default Security with an Add On Solution
This is why so many enterprises are indeed turning to third party solutions and MSPs to enhance the security of their Office 365 hosted email accounts. In fact, according to a recent Gartner report, 40% of Office 365 deployments will rely on third-party tools by 2018 in order to fill gaps and meet expected security requirements and compliance. They expect that number to rise to 50% by 2020. MSPs have a variety of proven security solutions that can complement any email cloud solution for those that have an office 365 distribution group, or multiple.
As was evident in the recent Petya attack that disrupted companies of all sizes for days or weeks, the cost of prevention is far less than the cost of recovery. What’s more, many MSPs offer email gateway solutions that are specifically designed to complement and integrate with Office 365. For Managed IT service providers, offering an add-on email security solution is another way to help ensure that their customers remain safe and malware free. The fact is that Office 365 is a great cost effective email solution for so many organizations today, and with the inclusion of an added security solution, it indeed can be the complete package you need.