Microsoft 365 Business 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 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.