Microsoft 365 security best practices case study: Planet Technologies
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Finding the right fit with Office 365 security solutions
As organizations deploy tools that allow employees to create, share, and use data across a variety of platforms, they’re improving productivity, collaboration, and customer service, but that effort also increases risk if security is not managed effectively. Security threats to information systems and data increase rapidly, with new attacks and vulnerabilities affecting more enterprises and public-sector agencies every day.
Planet Technologies, a Microsoft partner based in the Washington DC metro area, has built a highly successful IT practice around Microsoft services and solutions. For more than 20 years, they’ve worked with a wide variety of enterprise clients. A large part of their practice focuses on federal, state, and local agencies, ranging from small cities all the way up to some of the largest federal agencies.
Adding an advanced security solution for USD2 dollars a seat
With a long history of public-sector engagements, Planet Technologies understands that government agencies are always security conscious. While most federal agencies have relied upon dedicated security solutions that require expensive subscriptions and costly hardware, they’re finding that agencies are receptive to Microsoft Security solutions as a fully capable, less costly alternative.
“These agencies realize they’re spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on security subscriptions, not to mention the hardware costs,” explained Jeff Fowler, Federal Senior Cloud Strategist for Planet Technologies. “If they can get Advanced Treat Protection (ATP) and other Office 365 security tools that provide the same functionally at a lower price point than what they are paying for their current solutions, they’re going to jump at the opportunity.”
Planet Technologies has a long-term contract with a large federal agency and has several staff on-site as an extension of the customer IT team. That high level of interaction drove conversations between the Planet Technologies team and the agency’s IT management. As both sides looked at the expenses associated with the agency’s existing threat protection measures, it became clear that Microsoft offered a more affordable solution to help address their needs. As Fowler relates, “IT management at the federal customer wondered, ‘Why are we paying for our current bolt-on security product when we can get similar functionality from Microsoft built-in for just a couple more bucks per user?’ That made the decision to deploy ATP a nobrainer.”
Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is one of the specific reasons the agency decided to switch. “Using ATP, we’ve enabled Safe Links across the entire tenant with about 1,000 users now, and Safe Attachments is currently being trialed,” Fowler said. “With Safe Attachments, they’re focusing on high-target users and executives who tend to be the target of those types of attacks.”
Driving engagements with Office 365 Advanced Security Management
Planet Technologies sees more opportunities developing as customers learn how Office 365 Advanced Security Management gives them greater visibility and control over their Office 365 environments.
Planet Technologies envisions widespread application for Advanced Security Management in any organization that runs a Security Operations Center (SOC), with full-time security positions often staffed 24/7 to respond to any threats that develop. “Office 365 Advanced Security Management gives a SOC better insight and more control to secure their enterprise. It also helps them protect their end users from themselves, and they are very excited about that,” Fowler said. “This is a big opportunity for large agencies to replace existing tools that cost a ton of money. That’s a huge win for the customer.”
Similarly, Planet Technologies believes they’ll have additional opportunities to deepen their customer relationships as customers learn more about the specific benefits of Office 365 Secure Score, Advanced Threat Protection, Threat Intelligence, Customer Lockbox, and Advance Data Governance.
As an example, Fowler explains that Planet Technologies uses Secure Score to analyze customers’ Office 365 security and the score they have which is based on their regular activities and security settings. “We are very excited about Secure Score,” Fowler stated. “We use it to show customers where they stand today, then we show them how we can use different aspects of Office 365’s security suite to help them improve their scores and in turn their security position.”