Microsoft 365 Business: the new ransomware remedy for SMBs?

Greetings from Washington DC, where I’ve just seen Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announce a fantastic new product that we’ve been developing with them from the UK. It’s called Microsoft 365 Business, and small-medium organisations concerned about cyber-attacks such as ransomware can now sleep soundly at night. But it’s not just that. With Microsoft 365 Business, they can also boost productivity, team collaboration and really nail successful remote working and BYOD.

We’re at Microsoft’s global partner conference, Inspire, where I’ll be picking up from Satya’s Microsoft 365 announcement today during two breakout sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ll be sharing the story of our work with customer The Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE), one of the first UK companies to adopt Microsoft 365 Business.

ACE were particularly concerned about security and data protection following Petya and WannaCry, the two recent ransomware cyber-attacks that knee-capped the NHS and threatened a UK advertising business, so they were doubly keen to join us in the trials. I think the growing number of cyber-attacks have left particularly small-medium sized businesses feeling deeply vulnerable. Unfortunately, that’s mainly because they are. Here’s an alarming stat for you:

“72 per cent of all cyber-attacks occur in businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Two thirds of those businesses (60 per cent) are likely to be out of business within six months.” – SmallBiz Trends

What is Microsoft 365 Business?

Let me explain what Microsoft 365 Business is and what it can do as succinctly as possible. Designed specifically for small-medium businesses (SMBs), Microsoft 365 Business is as a cloud technology geared towards delivering a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees. Always-on security backed by Windows Defender guards against cyber-attacks such as the ones I mentioned earlier. It also helps SMBs manage the changing compliance requirements surrounding the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). So Microsoft 365 Business gives them back control over their devices and data.

Why did ACE like Microsoft 365 Business?

We worked with Sebastian Ailioaie, group digital manager at ACE, who highlighted three key areas where the business has enormously benefited from Microsoft 365 Business surrounding 1) remote working/BYOD, 2) data security, and 3) being ahead of the competition. Let me pull out a quote from our press release:

“We now all enjoy working from our preferred machines and devices – whether we’re in the office or not – without worrying about leaving company data vulnerable. It’s good to feel confident that we’re always working with the latest, up-to-date technology. I feel like we’re leading the way in our industry now.” – Sebastian Ailioaie, group digital manager, The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE).

What’s next with Microsoft 365 Business?

Today, Satya also announced that Microsoft 365 Business would extend from private to public preview from 2nd August 2017. So, here’s where this news is even better for our customers. Because we’re one of only three UK partners involved so deeply with Microsoft on Microsoft 365 Business, we can now offer preferred pricing to customers prior to full public launch, which I should think will be some time around end 2017/beginning 2018.

When we’re back in the UK next week, Charlotte Margree, our product manager, and I will be hosting a webinar where we’ll share in more detail how you can ‘Be better with Microsoft 365 Business‘. And we’ll talk a bit more about where it’s helped ACE with their business challenges, too. Please get in touch if you’re interested.