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Microsoft 365 Beefs Up Ransomware Defenses

Enterprise software suite Microsoft 365 Business is adding enhanced cybersecurity solutions for small business (SMB) users, Microsoft announced ON Monday (April 30).

The company is introducing added features to protect SMBs against phishing and ransomware. The tools are targeted for firms with up to 300 employees and include email attachment scanning using artificial intelligence, automated email link analysis and device protection.

Business data protection enhancements include data loss prevention policies, email archiving and data protection for the Outlook email app.

According to Microsoft’s own research, a survey of small businesses found 71 percent felt vulnerable to a cyberattack. That figure jumped to 87 percent for companies that had already fallen victim to an attack.

Despite their vulnerability, Microsoft found only about half used email encryption, and less than half said they were able to remotely remove data from a lost or stolen device — both capabilities, the company noted, that were traditionally only affordable for larger enterprises.

Microsoft also emphasized the volume of sensitive information that small businesses managed, with most firms surveyed noting they stored Social Security numbers, and 29 percent storing bank account information.

“Preventing unintentional leaks of theses types of sensitive information can be a challenge, despite the best efforts and good intentions of employees,” Microsoft stated in its announcement.

Earlier this year, Microsoft said its Office 365 service is now used by 30 million people. The company rolled out a monthly subscription service of its Office suite in 2011, with the enterprise software subscription market growing significantly since then.

Last year, Microsoft introduced more features for small business users of Office 365, launching Microsoft Connections, Listings and Invoicing as new apps to its Business Premium service. The firm also rolled out its Office 365 Business center. Together, the additions enable small businesses in the U.S., U.K. and Canada with marketing, information management and eInvoicing features.

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