Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is an email security solution developed by Microsoft, designed to provide enhanced protection against spam, phishing, business email compromise, and malware. Defender for O365 is available to all O365 users and is offered in three tiers.
The first, Exchange Online Protection, provides basic protection against broad, high volume email attacks, such as spam. This is free to all O365 users. The second, Microsoft Defender for 0365 P1, provides greater protection against advanced and zero-day malware, phishing attacks, and business email compromise. This is available as part of Microsoft 365’s E5 subscription tier.
Finally, Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P2 is an advanced option, adding more threat investigation and reporting options, with automated response and phishing simulation for training users to avoid scams. This is available as an add-on service.
Microsoft Defender for O365 is a popular email security service for O365 users. It can be cost-effective, it’s easy to configure, and it has some strong security features, which work across Microsoft services including Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive.
However, there are some drawbacks. Licensing can be confusing; some security features are not as well developed as other security solutions on the market, and some organizations will have additional compliance requirements that Defender for O365 does not meet.
To help organizations decide which email security service is the right fit, we’ve put together a guide to the best alternative email security solutions to Defender for Office 365. We’ll consider what users like and dislike, key security features, and ease of use when assessing each vendor on this list.
What Is Microsoft Defender For Office 365?
Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud-based email filtering service, available as an add-on to your Microsoft 365 subscription. It protects against advanced threats to the email channel, and to Microsoft 365’s collaboration apps, such as Teams and SharePoint. This includes protection against phishing, business email compromise and malware, along with threat hunting, investigation, and remediation features.
How Does Email Security For Microsoft 365 Work?
There are two approaches to enhance email security for Microsoft 365, aside from Defender for 365. The first involves deploying a secure email gateway, which can be either physical or cloud-based. These gateways monitor incoming and outgoing email traffic, ensuring the elimination of spam and malware. They use rule-based controls to prevent the delivery of harmful email content. To implement this, mail exchange (MX records) are redirected to direct emails to the security service, which filters them before delivery.
The second method of email security for Microsoft 365 is through “integrated cloud email security” (ICES) solutions. These services are cloud-native and seamlessly integrate with the Microsoft 365 environment using API connections. They enable real-time scanning of internal email content to identify compromised email accounts, phishing threats, malicious links, and attachments.