Microsoft 365 adds phishing, ransomware protections for small businesses

Microsoft is looking to give small and medium-sized businesses some added protection against ransomware and fishing attacks with some new security features (opens in new tab) headed to Microsoft 365 Business. Intended for businesses with up to 300 employees, the new features give small businesses access to protections that would otherwise require IT solutions that some find "unaffordable and too complex."

For ransomware and phishing attempts specifically, Microsoft 365 now includes three new protections for businesses. From Microsoft:

  • 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.

Additionally, Microsoft is adding some additional protections for sensitive data. Small businesses can now access data loss prevention policies to "identify, monitor, and protect" social security numbers, credit card numbers, and similar sensitive information. Outlook will now include encryption rules that can prevent emails from being forwarded, copied, or pasted into other programs. Email archiving and preservation policies can also now be set, and BitLocker device encryption can now be enforced for all Windows devices to protect data stored on them.

These new security features come in addition to a host of new Microsoft 365 additions announced last week alongside the Windows 10 April 2018 update.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • In general I love the idea of Office 365 and Microsoft 365. If I'm a small business owner I can subscribe to one service and get most everything I need to run my business. The only complaint is that the package seems to be missing the one thing I need the most... financial software. How do I account for debits & credits, track writeoffs for tax purposes, make plans to invest in my business? Well let's see... I have to go download Quicken (from Intuit) or go online and log into Mint. And the sad part is that neither one of these is available on the MS Store! With MS' billions in profits, vast developer resources, and Azure "cloud" muscle why is there no financial software bundled with Office 365? Nothing against them helping me with phishing and ransomware, Windows 10, and documents, and spreadsheets, OneDrive, and Skype credits, but financials goes to the heart of my small business.
  • MS product to run business is dynamics. Something like Dynamics 365.
  • I think its outrageous that Microsoft have monetized basic email protection features like anti-phishing and anti-ransomware. Their ATP service should just be baked into the service for customers already paying a pretty penny for their 365 services.