Microsoft 365 Adding Advanced Security, Compliance SKUs

The software giant wants to broaden the appeal of its advanced security and compliance offerings.

Jeffrey Schwartz

January 8, 2019

3 Min Read
AT&T upped its cybersecurity game with the acquisition of AlienVault. The vendor offers unified security management and what it calls the "first and largest open threat intelligence community." The companies say those capabilities will fit with AT&T's portfolio, which includes threat detection and response.Shutterstock

Enhanced security and compliance options are coming to the Microsoft 365 service next month in more affordable, standalone SKUs.

Two new options – Identity & Threat Protection and Information Protection & Compliance – are intended to let partners deliver Microsoft’s recent advances in threat detection, data protection and compliance to a larger addressable market by breaking them down and offering them at a lower entry price.

Currently, those services are only available with the premium and most expensive E5 versions of Microsoft 365, the bundled subscription offering that combines Windows 10 licenses, Office 365 and the company’s Azure-based Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) service.

While partners can make a viable case to recommend the advanced security and compliance features in the E5 licenses, not all organizations require or want some of the other options in the premium SKUs such as Power BI, collaboration and enterprise voice and video communications. Even those that do might not require E5 for all employees, particularly at midsize organizations and larger enterprises.

By adding the two new SKUs, Microsoft hopes to broaden the market for its extended security capabilities by giving partners more flexible ways to offer them.


Microsoft’s Ron Markezich

“As we speak to customers about the future of work, we know security and compliance are some of the highest organizational priorities and we hope these new offerings will help them achieve their security and compliance goals,” said Microsoft corporate VP Ron Markezich, in a blog announcing the new options.

Microsoft’s Identity & Threat Protection option, set to cost $12 per user, per month, will add the company’s Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), Windows Defender ATP, Office 365 ATP and Threat Intelligence. Notably, it also includes the company’s Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), the technology Microsoft gained in its 2015 acquisition of Adallom.

The CASB, Microsoft Cloud App Security, is a framework consisting of cloud discovery to detect all cloud usage including shadow IT to mitigate risk, data protection to provide monitoring and alerting ,and data-loss prevention (DLP) enforcement and advanced threat protection.

Meanwhile, the Information Protection & Compliance SKU, priced at $10, per user, per month, will enable risk assessments and compliance scoring, but it will also help apply and maintain the appropriate governance policies.


SADA Systems’ Roman Avanesyan

The service consists of Azure Information Protection, which applies polices to prevent against unauthorized sharing of data, and Office 365 Advanced Compliance, a capability introduced in 2017 that uses machine learning to identify risk and thereby apply that to data discovery and retention, and provide policy recommendations.

Roman Avanesyan, director of SADA Systems’ Microsoft Productivity and Infrastructure practice, anticipates the new security and compliance options will appeal to customers who don’t require the premium E5 licenses but might need one, or both, of the forthcoming SKUs.

“With this new announcement of advanced security and compliance offerings, Microsoft 365 E3 customers can add specific packages around Identity and Threat Protection by covering all different endpoints and threat vectors or add Data Governance to address the needs around unstructured data, classification,and information protection,” Avanesyan said. “Additionally, these packages allow partners to simplify the security-versus-compliance story for customers and make the advanced security and compliance workloads more digestible.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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