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Microsoft Readying Two New Microsoft 365 Service Bundles

A pair of security and compliance offerings under the "Microsoft 365" branding will become available next month, Microsoft announced on Wednesday.

The two products, "Identity and Threat Protection" and "Information Protection and Compliance," are intended for Office 365 E3 users, though all of their capabilities are currently available in the Microsoft 365 E5 suite. They will be available to purchase separately starting Feb. 1, 2019.

The Microsoft 365 E5 suite is Microsoft's top-of-the-line offering that has Office 365 services (Office Web apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Skype for Business), the Windows 10 operating system and the Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) bundle. EMS includes the Azure Active Directory Premium identity and access management service plus Microsoft Intune, which is used for mobile device and app management.

There are actually three Microsoft 365 plans for business, enterprise and education. The Enterprise plan itself includes E3, E5 and F1 offerings, which are described at this page.

The new Identity and Threat Protection bundle coming next month will encompass Microsoft's "advanced threat protection" (ATP) family of security services. It will include Microsoft Threat Protection, Microsoft Cloud App Security (for discovering SaaS app use among end users) and Azure Active Directory services. The Microsoft Threat Protection component of the new Identity and Threat Protection bundle is yet another bundle of services that consists of Azure ATP, Windows Defender ATP and Office 365 ATP, plus the Threat Intelligence service for assessing malware and phishing threats. Identity and Threat Protection will be priced at $12 per user per month for organizations using the Office 365 E3 plan.

The new Information Protection and Compliance bundle coming next month will bring together the Office 365 Advance Compliance service and the Azure Information Protection service. It'll be priced at $10 per user per month for organizations using the Office 365 E3 plan.

Of course, organizations needing such security and compliance services could also just purchase the Microsoft 365 E5 suite. The E5 suite is designed for organizations with 300 or more users and priced at $35 per user per month, according to this Agile IT partner blog post. Organizations using the E3 suite are already paying $20 per user per month, so the new security and compliance bundles likely could serve as a sales prod to move organizations toward upgrading to the E5 offering.

"This new SKU is actually important for many of AvePoint's customers who are security minded, but find it daunting to make the full purchase to an E5 license," said John Hodges, vice president of product strategy at AvePoint, a software company and Microsoft partner on Office 365, via an e-mail response.

An organization may be interested in Microsoft's compliance bundle if it already has an "e-mail protection plan or other CASB [cloud access security broker] system" in place, Hodges noted. An organization looking "for a smaller tool to monitor logins and network traffic" might prefer Microsoft's security bundle, but also retain an option for a "simple upgrade to an E5 in future years," he added.

Microsoft didn't increase prices with its two new security and compliance bundles. They're just offered to enable "simpler purchase, deployment and adoption" for organizations, Microsoft's announcement explained.

In related Office 365 news, Microsoft also announced on Wednesday that users of the Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Business offerings, as well as Office 365 users, now have access to Microsoft's MyAnalytics service. The MyAnalytics service is used to track user productivity in terms of time spent on tasks. It previously was just available as part of the Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 plan or as an add-on for E1 and E3 plan subscribers.

MyAnalytics currently tracks Outlook e-mail use, meetings and Skype for Business time. However, this month Microsoft is adding tracking for Microsoft Teams use, too. In addition, MyAnalytics now can pull "signals from documents you're working on that are saved in OneDrive and SharePoint," Microsoft's announcement indicated. These two new capabilities are expected to be available to "new suites in the next couple months," according to Microsoft.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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