Previously, I’ve shared my experiences with Altaro’s Office 365 Backup and Hornetsecurity’s 365 Threat Monitor. Both services add information security value on their own, but are also part of something bigger: HornetSecurity’s 365 Total Protection.
Should you go all-in with HornetSecurity’s 365 Total Protection to face your Microsoft 365 challenges head-on?
The three flavours of 365 Total Protection
HornetSecurity offers its 365 Total Protection suite in three flavours:
- 365 Total Protection Business
- 365 Total Protection Enterprise
- 365 Total Protection Enterprise Backup
365 Total Protection Business offers everything an organization needs in terms of email security. It also offers individual and group email signatures.
365 Total Protection Enterprise includes all of the features of 365 Total Protection Business and adds advanced features like archiving, retention, eDiscovery and sandboxing.
365 Total Protection Enterprise is the all-in-one solution. It offers everything 365 Total Protection Enterprise offers, adds Office 365 Backup, and also adds backup for Windows-based devices.
365 Total Protection vs. Microsoft 365 E5/A5
Microsoft 365 E3 and Office 365 E3 seem to be the prevailing license subscriptions at organizations adopting Microsoft cloud services.
A lot of people responsible for information security at organizations may now ask themselves what the difference is between HornetSecurity’s 365 Total Protection and the additional benefits that Office 365 E5/A5 subscription licenses bring. I feel that for many organizations HornetSecurity’s 365 Total Protection offers answers to the common asks that drive organizations to subscribe to one or more of the following Microsoft subscriptions for their Exchange Online security challenges:
- Microsoft 365 E5/A5
- Microsoft 365 E5/A5 Compliance
- Microsoft 365 E5/A5 Security
- Office 365 E5/A5
- Defender for Office 365
Safe attachments and safe links
The Safe Attachments and Safe Links functionality in Office 365 E5/A5 allow organizations to have Microsoft detonate attachments in sandboxes in Microsoft’s datacenters and rewrite URLs in messages so the recipient uses an intermediate process to access webservers. The same functionality is available in 365 Total Protection Enterprise through its ATP Sandboxing and URL Malware Control features.
Data loss prevention
Many organizations facing GDPR, CCPA and other regulations have embraced the idea of data loss prevention rules, helping people in the organization to handle PII data with care. You can define labels and apply data loss prevention policies based on these labels, but people have to apply the labels manually. Automatic labeling is a Microsoft 365 E5/A5 feature.
However, the main goal for many organizations that use Exchange Online to start dabbling with Data Loss Prevention is to have messages with PII data encrypted. 365 Total Protection’s Secure Cipher Policy Control and Global S/MIME & PGP Encryption features work together the provide that outcome. Just as Microsoft provides easy access to these encryption mechanisms, so does HornetSecurity. No hassle or self-hosted PKI, but an easy option to select.
Advanced Audit, Advanced eDiscovery and Threat Explorer
Part of Microsoft 365 E5’s benefits over its E3 capabilities are its Advanced Audit and Advanced eDiscovery features. Needless to say, organizations typically use these features in post-breach and legal situations.
365 Total Protection offers similar features. Its eDiscovery feature provides the same fine-grained search and export capabilities. However, its Forensic Analyses, Realtime Threat Report and Malware Ex Post Deletion focus specifically on post-breach situations, covering both external and insider threats.
Organizations that have chosen Office 365 E1, Office 365 Business or Exchange Online Plan 1 and work with non-subscription versions of Outlook may also benefit largely from a 365 Total Protection subscription. Their licensing setups do not include the full archiving functionality. 365 Total Protection offers fully automatic Email Archiving with a 10-year Email Retention.
365 Total Protection vs. other solutions
For some of the other functionality that 365 Total Protection offers, other organization provide solutions, too.
Many point solutions exist offering email encryption. This feature is also present in all 365 Total Protection plans and is named Websafe. It allows communications with organizations that do not offer email encryption and offers functionality similar to the functionality offered by Trustify, SmartLockr and Zivver.
Email signatures have led to recurring nightmares for email admins. It’s the reason many on-premises organizations have embraced Exclaimer. 365 Total Protection offers the same functionality as part of the overall solution, but also throws in a Company Disclaimer and Intelligent Ads. It’s what your organization always wanted in emails, but did not realize until now.
Office 365 Backup and Restore
Many organizations feel that the replicas within Microsoft’s infrastructure and the resilience in that infrastructure offer sufficient data availability guarantees. As many Office 365 backup vendors would point out, the responsibility of your organization’s data is a shared responsibility. The Enterprise Backup tier of 365 Total Protection offers backups of your data.
By creating backups of the data in Microsoft 365 services, your organization can handle incidentally deleted data, purposely deleted data and its exit scenario with ease. In its top tier, 365 Total Protection offers this functionality as a service.
However, restoring all data in case of a ransomware attack or even accessing your data when the Microsoft 365 services are unavailable is a pain. It always takes longer than you anticipate… 365 Total Protection’s Email Continuity Service provides the answer to these situations. Within seconds, your organization can get back to business as usual and have all the information they need right in their familiar Microsoft Outlook.
Windows Endpoint backup and restore
Microsoft’s vision for consuming data Microsoft 365 apps and services is focused on the device. Intune management may configure these endpoints with up to date Windows versions, up to data anti-malware measures and disk encryption, but it doesn’t help in situations where the device is otherwise encrypted, incapacitated or stolen. Productivity of your colleagues may depend on local data and settings on these devices and 365 Total Protection offers backups and restores, without the need for a VPN or other non-user-friendly setups.
There are no organizations that rely on Microsoft-only software. Every organization uses software from at least one more vendor. When standardizing on Microsoft 365 services, several vendors offer solutions, but HornetSecurity is a vendor that has a complete vision on what it takes to truly do that. In a world where every vendor and supply partner is a potential data leak to happen (just look at the issues with SolarWinds, Kaseya and Log4J, just in the last 12 months…) having one vendor assisting your admins within an optimized solution might prove invaluable in the long run.
When an organization leverages Exchange Online as the main service of the Office 365 services available to them, it makes perfect sense to consider 365 Total Protection as an alternative to upgrading licenses to Office 365 E5/A5.
However, 365 Total Protection does not offer the rich integration with other Microsoft 365 and Office 365 services. SharePoint and Teams are no focus for the 365 Total Protection suites (except for Enterprise Backup). When Teams and SharePoint Online are in (heavy) use, E5 licenses may provide more value though its rich integration with all services.