The volume of enterprises moving to Microsoft Office 365 is skyrocketing. Microsoft tallied 24.9 million subscribers in January’s earnings report – this represents a huge number of people using the solution to help manage their businesses. It makes sense. Office 365 provides organizations with a lot of benefits: one of the biggest is a one-stop shop for tools and applications that improve business and employee productivity. And because it’s entirely cloud-based, it’s easy for employees to work from anywhere and to collaborate easily.

But with all the hype on productivity benefits, let’s not forget about security. When organizations plan a move to Office 365, they shouldn’t mistake it for an email security and compliance product. While Office 365 has some built-in email threat protection features, organizations need to take a close look and examine whether its native email security capabilities are sufficient. The short answer: they’re not.

Enterprises accustomed to robust email security with effective threat protection, granular policy control and archiving capabilities are adopting a complimentary email security solution to work alongside Office 365. In fact, Gartner estimates by 2020, 50% of organizations using Office 365 will rely on non-Microsoft security tools to maintain consistent security policies across their multivendor “SaaSscape.”i This is the smart approach – it ensures the enterprise security solution keeps pace with the ever-evolving nature of the threat landscape.

Year after year, email takes top rank as the primary vector cyber criminals use to gain access into the corporate network. This is why it’s critical for organizations to maintain a high level of trust and confidence in their email security controls. According to Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigation Report, 66% of malware was installed via malicious email attachments. For this reason, Gartner recommends, “security and risk management leaders responsible for cloud security should consider additional security processes and products to achieve the required visibility into Office 365, as well as across an organization’s SaaSscape. In this regard, most organizations are likely to adopt third-party tools.”ii

Here are a few areas where advanced email security provides greater protection than Office 365 built-in capabilities:

Office 365 Alone Advanced Email Security Solution
Limited ‘stop and block’ approach to threat detection, leading to potentially high number of false negatives and increased security risk Adaptive email security solutions are experts in threat intelligence, using multiple layers of detection plus human review to deliver the highest levels of accuracy and protection against email-based threats.
Limited email policy controls, which leads to burdensome impact on the business and IT Advanced email security solutions offer more flexibility and control in policy creation and dealing with policy violations. This includes end user quarantine management, which ensures users can review messages tagged as spam for potential false positives.
Limited malware protection, such as inability to remove active content and other potentially malicious components An advanced email security solution integrates advanced malware protection capabilities. This provides stronger protection against data breaches originating from malware. It can automatically remove active content, commonly in MS Word and PDF files, which may contain day-zero threats and other malware.
More than storage alone, organizations need to ensure compliant, legally-defensible retention of content in Office 365. A strong email solution goes beyond security features to support email-related compliance requirements, including smart indexing for email retention. Advanced email security solutions enable organizations to retain and archive business-relevant content in a way that is legally defensible with indexing that also supports quick, effective e-discovery.

It’s true, Office 365 offers some basic email security features; however, this list highlights some critical gaps. When organizations consider a migration to Office 365, an advanced email security solution must be included on the project list.

EdgeWave provides the perfect complement to Office 365. EdgeWave SecureUP is an integrated service designed to protect Office 365 users, addressing the most critical email requirements. Offered as a cloud-based service, SecureUP bundles advanced email security, continuity and comprehensive email archiving—making it easy to use and deploy. SecureUP service bundle is highly integrated with Office 365, from its intuitive client plug-in to archiving and journaling capabilities.

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i Gartner. How to Enhance the Security of Office 365. November 2016.
ii Gartner. How to Enhance the Security of Office 365. November 2016.