Does Microsoft 365 Include Security?

What exactly do you get with your Microsoft 365 licence? I wrote a blog post before all about that, but in this post I’m focusing on one specific thing: does M365 include security?

Several Microsoft 365 Business plans include advanced threat protection, helping protect your emails, remotely remove data from devices, apply restrictions to certain users, and enforce malware protection.

Not all of the Microsoft 365 licences include advanced threat protection or any kind of additional security, so next let’s have a look at which plans include security. I’ll also detail what ‘Advanced Threat Protection’ is, as well as whether it’s any good.

Which M365 Licences Include Security?

There are 4 Microsoft 365 plans that include some kind of additional security. One of these plans is aimed at SMEs, whereas the other 3 are enterprise options.

These are the 4 Microsoft 365 plans that include security solutions:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium
  • Microsoft 365 E3
  • Microsoft 365 E5
  • Microsoft 365 F3

Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes advanced threat protection, helping protect your emails, remotely remove data from devices, apply restrictions to certain users, and enforce malware protection.

Microsoft 365 E3 & F3 include device and app management and security management, enabling you to create sophisticated analytics and control how your data travels.

Microsoft 365 E5 includes device and app management, identity and access management, threat protection, information protection, security management, and advanced compliance. This is the ultimate solution for controlling users and how they access your systems, as well as preventing external attacks and breaches.

Everything above is excellent marketing copy, but what does it actually mean for your business?

What Security Solutions Are Included With M365?

Let’s first look at Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes ‘advanced threat protection’, which is vague to say the least. What does that even mean?!

Microsoft 365 Business Premium Security Solutions

With Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you get access to Microsoft Defender for Office 365 (Plan 1).

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is a comprehensive security solution that protects your users and your business as a whole against a range of security threats, such as:

  • Zero-day phishing
  • Malware
  • Business email compromise attacks

There are numerous policies that you can set and customise through Defender for Office 365.

  • Safe Attachments: Safe attachments is functionality that safeguards your messaging system. In basic terms, it scans attachments for malicious content. Through AI-driven machine learning, the solution gradually learns what is malicious content and what isn’t to become more effective at blocking security threats and letting through content that isn’t.
  • Safe Links: Safe link provides time-of-click verification for URLs. So if you click on a URL that is malicious and will potentially damage your PC, you will get a warning and access will be stopped. Furthermore, every single link is checked every single time it is clicked. So if a link was safe before but now is potentially unsafe, Safe Link policies prevent you from accessing the link.
  • Anti-Phishing Protection: Anti-phishing protection detects attempts to impersonate your users. Have you ever received an email that initially looks as though it’s from a colleague, but upon inspection it isn’t? Anti-phishing protection for Office 365 should prevent you from ever seeing these emails.

Microsoft Defender Reports

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 also gives you access to a multitude of real-time reports and analytics that can help you tackle security threats as they occur.

There are numerous reports already available to you which can be customised or added to, such as:

  • Threat explorer
  • Threat protection status report
  • Defender for Office 365 file types report

Several reports exist beyond those mentioned above, giving you a fully comprehensive suite of real-time reports that allow you to monitor your security and tackle threats before they cause an issue.

Microsoft E3 and F3 Security Solutions

Microsoft E3 and F3 are two enterprise offerings which also include some security solutions.

E3 and F3 plans both include:

  • Microsoft Advanced Threat Level Analytics
  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus and Device Guard

Microsoft Advanced Threat Level Analytics

Microsoft Advanced Threat Level Analytics is an on-premises solution that helps you to protect your enterprise from multiple types of cyber attacks.

Advanced Threat Level Analytics monitors network traffic, authenticating and authorising certain data and flagging up anything that doesn’t look quite right.

ATA learns the behaviour of the users within your business, building a profile of all the users on your network. This enables Advanced Threat Analytics to detect suspicious activities and report them via the ATA console.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus and Device Guard

Microsoft Defender Antivirus is a solution that protects the devices in your organisation. This is cloud-delivered protection, which means near-instant detection of threats and constant security as new security threats are noticed.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus looks after your devices in real-time, such as detecting and blocking applications that are seen as unsafe. Always-on scanning makes it virtually impossible for threats to be missed.

Microsoft E5 Security Solutions

Microsoft E5, Microsoft’s biggest enterprise offering, includes numerous security solutions.

  • Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics
  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus and Device Guard
  • Microsoft 365 Defender
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity
  • Microsoft 365 Data Loss Prevention
  • Azure Information Protection P1
  • Azure Information Protection P2

As you can tell, this is by far the most comprehensive plan in terms of security solutions. Where best-in-class security solutions are needed, Microsoft E5 is the plan you should go for.

Although these security solutions all have similar names, they all perform different duties.

Microsoft 365 Defender

Microsoft 365 Defender is a solution that aims to detect and stop attacks across Microsoft 365 services.

Incredible automation powers Microsoft 365 Defender, requiring little from the organisation using the solution. For example, Defender automatically prevents threats from accessing your organisation and auto-heals affected assets. This is a hands off solution, managed through a single dashboard.

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is the ultimate endpoint security solution, offering both preventative and reactive protection against threats.

With advanced automation, investigation and response can take place without any action on the organisation’s part. Best of all, it’s all monitored and managed through a single interface to make your life as easy as possible.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 protects your Office 365 solutions against a range of advanced security threats such as business email compromise. Again, Defender for Office 365 is powered by industry-leading AI, ensuring your organisation is comprehensively protected without any involvement from your team.


Azure Information Protection

Azure Information Protection is a solution designed to help you protect your sensitive information. Essentially, it enables you to control your data, who can see it, and whether or not it can be transmitted externally.

Label data according to how sensitive it is and the solution will automatically prevent the data from being transmitted if that’s what you require. Manage where your data is stored and monitor which users are accessing data.

Is It Worth Upgrading To A Plan Including Security?

After reading this blog post, you’re probably asking yourself whether or not it is worth upgrading to a plan that includes security.

Microsoft’s security solutions are undoubtedly the best of their kind and the most advanced solutions available. Whether your business is an SME or you’re in charge of cyber security for an enterprise, Microsoft’s solutions are the best money can buy.

I personally think everyone should upgrade to a Microsoft 365 plan including security. The plans including security solutions might cost a little bit more, but they are well worth the investment.

Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

Recent Posts