Microsoft's new AI-powered tool aims to ward off cyberattacks on small businesses

Microsoft's new AI-powered tool aims to ward off cyberattacks on small businesses
Photo Credit: Reuters
3 May, 2018

Microsoft is aiming to help small and medium enterprises ward off cyberattacks by launching a new artificial intelligence-powered security tool.

The new offering is called Microsoft 365 Business, which includes Office 365 for productivity and collaboration, and comes with added security features to protect against phishing, ransomware and unwanted data leaks, Microsoft said in a blog post.

There is also a device management function to protect company information across the devices that employees use for work. 

In the blog post, Microsoft said the tool offers: "... scanning of attachments and AI-powered analysis to detect and discard dangerous messages, automatic checks of links in email to assess if they are part of a phishing scheme and prevent users from accessing unsafe websites and device protection to prevent devices from interacting with ransomware and other malicious web locations." 

The solution can be utilised by firms with a maximum headcount of 300 people.

In order to prevent data loss, the new tool includes information protection in Outlook, email archiving and the ability to enforce BitLocker device encryption on all Windows devices to help protect against data theft or exposure if a protected device is lost or stolen.

Microsoft claimed that it had undertaken a study which showed that nearly 71% of small and medium businesses surveyed feel vulnerable to a cyberattack and despite these concerns, only 41% of SMBs say they have the ability to remotely remove data from a lost or stolen device. Only half the respondents said that they use email encryption.

In a separate development, the company also announced the launch of its Redmond-based Azure Cloud Collaboration Center, a facility targeted towards customer responsiveness, security and efficiency.

Jason Zander, executive vice president at Microsoft Azure, wrote in a blog post that the new facility gives customers a snapshot of what is happening with their data 24x7 and enables real-time troubleshooting of any issue by multiple teams simultaneously from across the organisation.