Fortifying SMB Security: Why You Need Microsoft 365 Business Premium

As technology innovates, so too do the threats against it. Especially in SMBs. This year, small businesses received 94% detected malware by email (surely, you're familiar with this term "phishing" by now). Unfortunately, SMBs run the highest risk because around 40% of them don't have a full-time IT staff to handle these risks. Enter Microsoft 365 Business Premium. It provides small businesses a cost-effective way to access proven security features big corporations use without the big price tag.

Purposely designed for small businesses with less than 300 employees, Microsoft 365 Business Premium has everything that’s included in Business Basic and Business Standard, plus built-in advanced security, access and data control, and cyber threat protection.

Here are just some of the exclusive perks that help small businesses (like yours) thrive.


5 smb Benefits of Microsoft 365 Business Premium 

1. Streamline Application Management

At the heart of M365 Business Premium  is Azure Active Directory (AD), a cloud-based storage and access management solution that allows SMBs to manage and access their resources across multiple applications. Basically, Azure AD is an online catalogue that houses all your data on who the users are and their access to your services (applications, modules, and the like). 

SMBs can centralize who is using what, easing the strains of managing access to multiple applications (usually siloed) and services from a single location. That location then spreads to the other locations and endpoints. Easy peasy. 

Active Directory makes it easier for small businesses to manage their IT infrastructure by providing a centralized location for managing user accounts, network resources, and group policies. This can reduce the workload for IT staff and increase efficiency. If you're still wary, here are 5 basic reasons why AD is the way to go. 

Azure Active Directory Premium adds Conditional Access Policies, self-service password reset, plus advanced security and usage reports.


2. Stop Hackers from Accessing Email Accounts

94% of SMBs report malware through phishing. Not to make you feel left out, but if you haven't seen one, you probably don't know the signs of phishing. Besides educating your staff, implementing things like Conditional Access Policies (CAP) can eliminate certain access in the first place, reducing the strain on your employees to recognize phishing emails. Access management solutions like CAP specify access restrictions based on factors like time of day, device type, and location of the access request. Examples could be passworldess authentication (biometrics) or Zero Trust policies for outside users. Azure offers all of these features. 

By implementing these policies, SMBs can ensure that only users of your choice can access specific resources, and that access is granted only when certain conditions are met. This helps to prevent and protect against potential security threats. Win win. 

Conditional Access Policies prevent email accounts being accessed from two different locations at the same time.


3. Prevent 99% of Email Compromises

Fraudulent sign-ins happen daily. In fact, "minute-ly" if that were a word. All because of weak passwords or leaked credentials. But one simple step can reduce the access an ability of a sign-in that's unauthorized: Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) or 2-Factor Authentication (2FA). MFA requires a minimum of 2 if not more proofs of identity, while 2FA only requires 2 (2FA is considered MFA but not vice versa). Millions of fake access request happen on Microsoft's cloud-services (because that's where you're data is stored), causing MFA to not only be recommended by required for maximum security protocols. 

M365 Business Premium has built-in MFA software that requires employees to use a second form of identification (whether a code or a push notification or physical token etc) to make sure they are a legitimate sign in request before they can access anything in cloud. 

For SMBs, this adds a much needed layer of protection to their data. Sure, it can seem tedious, but when your company's entire flood of information is at stake (some personal dependent on your industry...lookin' at you healthcare), then it's paramount to protect yourself completely. Especially since employees are the #1 reason for a data breach. 

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is built-in as a security default with true visibility of compliance.


4. Detect and Block Advanced Threats

Gone are the days of antivirus being the backbone of your security. With the addition of mobile devices and the access to data they provide, SMB vulnerabilities are expanding. Because employees now have access (via their sign in) to all your sensitive data on their mobile devices, the phone isn't the only thing that's mobile: so is you data. As threats get more sophisticated, so too should your security levels. 

In the past year, about 45% of SMBs said they suffered a data breach because of a mobile device. Businesses that are involved in global dealings were even more at risk, with 61% compromised. 

Unfortunately, if you don't have the budget for mobile device management, this risk is even more daunting.  Basic security typically protects against 98% of attacks but mobile device hygiene becomes a problem when the latest updates are not applied soon after release. It is increasingly urgent to adopt minimum standards to counter the rising level of threats in the digital ecosystem. This is especially true since 50%of small and medium-sized businesses say they let employees use unmanaged personal mobile devices to access work data. However, Microsoft Defender for Business is helping close that gap. 

Microsoft Defender for Business protects email and applications from phishing, ransomware, malware, and other attacks.


5. Simplify Security Deployment

Windows Intune made its debut in 2011 and since then, it has been changing the way SMBs simplify their security posture. As it grew over the year, the need for efficiency in IT also became increasingly important. Thus, we got Microsoft Autopilot, a tool that, in conjunction with Microsoft Intune, strengthens endpoint management and device deployment strategies.  Essentially, Autopilot automates the initial setup and deployment of devices while Intune manages the devices. 

Intune protects your data on managed devices (enrolled in Intune) and protect data on unmanaged devices (not enrolled in Intune). Intune can isolate organization data from personal data. The idea is to protect your company information by controlling the way users access and share information.

Windows Autopilot and Intune ensures consistent security protections for devices and applications with just
an internet connection.


secure your business data today

Your business can't afford to be negligent with security. Regardless of your industry, you're a target just by being a smaller business. Don't silo your data, let Microsoft 365 Business Premium give you an all-in-one solution personalized to your needs.  SMBs need the built-in security it offers, ensuring their information is safe. 

But with less staff comes greater challenges, especially if you don't have a dedicated IT team to manage your security posture. 

If that's the case, let us know. We'd be happy to assist your current team or be your dedicated IT team, keeping you safe, happy, and ready for growth. 

Originally published on December 5, 2023

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About the Author

Emily Kirk Emily Kirk

Creative content writer and producer for Centre Technologies. I joined Centre after 5 years in Education where I fostered my great love for making learning easier for everyone. While my background may not be in IT, I am driven to engage with others and build lasting relationships on multiple fronts. My greatest passions are helping and showing others that with commitment and a little spark, you can understand foundational concepts and grasp complex ideas no matter their application (because I get to do it every day!). I am a lifelong learner with a genuine zeal to educate, inspire, and motivate all I engage with. I value transparency and community so lean in with me—it’s a good day to start learning something new! Learn more about Emily Kirk »

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