Advanced Threat Protection — A Modern Defence System for a Modern World

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Remember the “good old days” when all you needed to keep your business’ data safe and sound was a lock and key system? Or the slightly more modern times when all your computers needed were up-to-date anti-viruses? 

While those techniques may have worked in the past, a modern, digital age requires a more modern approach to security. A holistic security system that encompasses your devices, your emails, your data and your documents. What you need is Advanced Threat Protection.

What Is Advanced Threat Protection?

Advanced Threat Protection is a range of security solutions for businesses that keeps devices, emails, data and documents safe.

As technologies advance, cybercriminals advance their techniques as well, finding new ways to infiltrate and exploit critical data. Keeping your business safe from attackers has become far more complicated than simply installing a piece of software. You need to ensure that all of your employees’ devices are safe, that your communication is secure, and that your online data and documents are backed up. And if this already sounds overwhelming, imagine having to manage your company’s access control, tracking user activity to find out what is ‘normal’, and setting up alerts to let you know about unusual or unauthorised access.

While any business can implement individual cyber security protection measures on a cases-by-case basis, there are also solutions like Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection solution, which offers you all the protection that you need under a single service. Also known as Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection or Office 365 ATP, it is the perfect security tool for a business that uses Microsoft 365 and needs their information to remain safe and secure across the board.

How Does Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection Keep My Business Secure?

In many ways, you can think of Microsoft Threat Protection as an anti-virus for the cloud. MS ATP alerts you to and protects you from unauthorised access attempts, helps you to train your teams, and even secures each of the devices that your employees use to access your company information.

There are 8 main ways that it does this:

  1. Safe Links & Attachments
    One of the main areas that cybercriminals target when looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities is a business’ email security. They send SPAM and phishing emails with dubious links and malicious attachments. They wait for unsuspecting victims to open, reply to or click their emails, and then infect their machines, which in turn have the potential to infiltrate your network.

    This is where Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection steps in. It scans emails for unsafe links and attachments, and warns users before they try to open them. This extra measure means that your employees will be less likely to follow a suspicious link, or think twice before opening an attachment which could contain malware, rather than opening them automatically.

  2. Spoof intelligence
    Some SPAM and phishing emails are obvious attempts – coming from strangers or organisations that you don’t do business with. Other phishing mails are more devious, and more dangerous. They get sent from addresses that look like legitimate businesses, like banks. They can even look like they’re coming from a friend or colleague. These ‘spoofing’ mails, as they are referred to, are more dangerous, because they seem to come from a trustworthy source. This makes it more likely that their links and attachments will be clicked or opened.

    Thankfully, even in the case of spoofed mails, Advanced Threat Protection has methods of keeping your business safe. It’s not just the links and attachments that are checked, but the email addresses and mail records themselves, ensuring that the emails that you receive come from the companies that claim to be sending them, and preventing illegitimate attempts from reaching your mailboxes.

    And, where legitimate spoofing does occur – and it can, when using external platforms like Mailchimp to send emails to your clients, for example – Advanced Threat Protection’s spoofing intelligence will allow you to set rules for which emails should and should not be received.

  3. Strict Anti Phishing Policies
    While Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection automatically scans links and attachments from suspicious senders, it doesn’t check all mail. This is because legitimate emails can at times be marked as SPAM, or legitimate links can trigger alerts when they have been shortened or come from third-party mailers.

    However, Advanced Threat Protection does provide businesses with the option to turn on stricter anti-phishing rules and policies to check every mail that comes through your servers. This may lead to more legitimate mails being marked as SPAM, and more warnings about legitimate links, but it will also offer increased protection to your business and your users.

  4. Real-Time Detection & Automated Incident Responses
    Don’t find out about attacks after they’ve already happened. With Advanced Threat Protection, you will be alerted to unauthorised access attempts as soon as they occur, providing you with the opportunity to immediately respond and pre-emptively stop attackers in their tracks.

    Attacks often won’t even need manual intervention thanks to Automated Incident Responses, which immediately take action to prevent well-known attack methods from infiltrating your systems. This will keep your emails and your cloud storage safe from intrusion.

  5. Threat Trackers
    It’s not just your system that Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection monitors. Microsoft keeps track of security and attack trends around the world, providing you with the information that you need to keep your business secure against potential threats.

  6. Attack Simulations
    Last, but certainly not least, Advanced Threat Protection is the perfect tool for training your teams in the latest email security techniques. Rather than waiting for your teams to fall victim to phishing attempts, ATP provides you with tools to run attack simulations, sending fake phishing mails to your employees, and monitoring how they respond. This is a vital tool for understanding your business’ preparedness, and where staff training may be needed.

Is your business ready to implement Advanced Threat Protection or Microsoft Defender for Office 365? Looking for an experienced IT company in Johannesburg, Cape Town or even London? Solid Systems is here to help. We’ve spent the past 18 years working with companies to find the right security solutions for them, and as Microsoft Gold Partners, we are perfectly placed to help you put Microsoft ATP to the test for your business.

Michael Claxton

Michael Claxton

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