In January 2017, UK businesses saw a price increase on Office 365, with Microsoft citing Brexit and the fall in the value of sterling as the major contributory factors. However, this cloud-based solution remains the obvious choice for SMEs.
More than half of businesses today say that their IT is either partly or wholly cloud-based and for Microsoft Office users, Office 365 offers the most efficient option in terms of cost and support.
Traditionally Office ran as separate desktop installations across multiple PCs with licences linked to specific computers. The software went out of date very quickly and required manual maintenance by technical engineers, as new versions appear. Office 365 changed all of that as cloud-based licences provide greater flexibility, upgrades are universal and tech support can happen remotely.
Security benefits of Office 365 for small businesses
Office 365 can also offer greater security than other systems, thanks to a broad range of features that you benefit from when uploading your data in a cloud service. Here are seven advantages highlighted in a recent Microsoft blog post.
Broader scope of threat intelligence
With Office 365, intelligence is gathered centrally about threats. An attack launched against any organisation in Office 365 can functionally inoculate everyone else.
Greater automation and decreased human intervention
In the cloud, managing things like hardware, operating systems and patches become automated. Manual management activities are minimal and must be approved by multiple people, which can include customers.
Better anomaly detection due to uniformity and simplicity
In recent years, cloud services have evolved to dramatically simplify configuration options, server roles and management complexity. This simplification gives services the ability to consolidate how they protect, detect and respond to threats.
Some cloud services, including Office 365, have a full-time team of penetration testers who look for vulnerabilities. With your Office 365 software being in the cloud, you benefit from this automated ongoing penetration testing.
Smaller breach boundary
Most small companies have weak physical firewalls – protecting directories of data and not the key gateways into the network. When you adopt cloud services, it is more difficult for attackers to breach your domain and gain access to any of the data in the cloud service.
Cross-application security model
Traditional on-premises security capabilities centre on the computer, the operating system and firewalls. Cloud application services take your security to a new level by delivering integrated and context-aware security capabilities.