Maximizing the ROI of your Microsoft 365 Investment

No one wants to pay for anything twice, yet organizations that own Microsoft 365 E5 licensing most likely are. How so? Several factors come into play:

  • Not being fully aware of the entire suite of applications and services encompassed within the Microsoft 365 E5 license.
  • At the time of subscribing to Microsoft 365 E5, already having ongoing subscriptions with third-party solutions.
  • Not being acquainted with the premier reputation status of Microsoft’s security offerings.

If your organization has a Microsoft 365 E5 subscription and isn’t harnessing its full potential, you are letting value slip away.

The Reasons for E5 Licensing

Most E5 subscribers are familiar with the comprehensive productivity suite that E5 offers, but its offerings go far beyond product enhancing Office applications and Power BI. At its core, E5 offers a robust security suite that includes Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) through Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. Some of its features include:

  • Threat & Vulnerability Management that identifies vulnerabilities across endpoints.
  • Automated advanced investigation and response to investigate alerts and suggest remediation measures.
  • Advanced attack detection capabilities use sophisticated machine learning models to identify abnormal behaviors and anomalies that may suggest a security incident.
  • Threat analytics that provide security personnel detailed information about prioritized threats to aid them to improve defenses.
  • A security score that provides a snapshot of an organization’s overall security health and posture.

If you have an EDR solution in addition to your Microsoft 365 E5 subscription and your EDR renewal contract is coming due, it might be prudent to compare features and capabilities.

A Holistic Security Experience

In addition to the many tools that Microsoft provides, you also get something that no other vendor can provide: a holistic view of your Microsoft 365 environment. All Microsoft 365 E5 security tools are tightly integrated. This eliminates the gaps that are created with disparate third third-party solutions. With your security administrators accessing all features from a unified interface, they can operate with enhanced efficiency and effectiveness, having everything consolidated within a singular, comprehensive dashboard.

Securing the Microsoft Attack Surface

Microsoft is one of the largest attack surfaces in the world today. That attack surface becomes yours as well when you use Microsoft 365 for things such as email, file storage, and office productivity tools. While numerous enterprises employ third-party solutions like ProofPoint to fortify their email and cloud app environments, E5 licensing offers intrinsic security features that are equally effective. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is engineered to shield against threats like phishing, business email compromise, and other email-borne risks while Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps monitors, identifies, and combats cyberthreats that target your cloud applications. Now consider this: Who is better equipped to safeguard your Microsoft 365 environment than Microsoft itself? Why pay for third-party security solutions when Microsoft already provides the robust tools to do so?

Compliance Driven

Many organizations opt for Microsoft 365 E5 to fulfill compliance mandates or meet the prerequisites for a cyber insurance policy. The emphasis on E5 licensing by compliance entities is well-founded. Microsoft 365 E5 offers a comprehensive suite of tools and features, encompassing conditional access, multifactor authentication, data loss prevention, eDiscovery, encryption, and advanced auditing, among others. However, it’s not uncommon for organizations to procure E5 licenses primarily for compliance and then fail to look under the hood at the vast array of compliance tools and security controls they are getting in return. If you are paying for a third-party MFA or DLP solution, that is money that could be reallocated to benefit other facets of your operations.

Reducing Your Vendor Load

Embracing the principle of “less is more” in the IT landscape can yield significant benefits. By consolidating vendors, businesses can streamline procurement, ease contract management, and foster stronger vendor relationships. This not only simplifies operations and onboarding but also offers tangible financial benefits. For instance, Microsoft highlights that by reducing the spread of varied security solutions and focusing on the comprehensive offerings in Microsoft 365 E3 and E5, companies could achieve cost savings of up to 60%. In essence, a leaner IT vendor approach translates to efficient, cost-effective operations.

Microsoft is a Proven Leader in Security

The reason to utilize Microsoft 365 E5 security and compliance tools isn’t just that Microsoft knows their attack surface better than anyone else. It’s also because of Microsoft’s reputation as a substantive leader in the areas of cybersecurity. Microsoft continues to be recognized and awarded by respected independent industry analysts such as Gartner, IDC, Forrester, and MITRE. Here is just a sample:

  • Microsoft was named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms
  • Microsoft named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management
  • Microsoft is a six-time Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Access Management
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is named a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Email Security, Q2 2023
  • Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting is a Leader in the 2022 MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK® Evaluations for Managed Services

In other words, the tools that you get inclusive with the E5 suite are just as effective, if not more so, than any third-party solutions you might be paying for. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as Microsoft has been allocating over $1 billion annually to security research and development (R&D). In 2021, they amplified their dedication, elevating their annual investment to $4 billion as a segment of a comprehensive $20 billion commitment over five years.

Unified Communication

Now let’s address another area of potential redundancy for E5 subscribers. With an E5 subscription, you automatically get Microsoft Teams. So, if you’re also paying for Webex or another similar platform, you’re essentially incurring duplicate costs. A better approach for E5 subscribers is to reallocate the funds used on other collaboration platforms to enhance their E5 license that can unlock a broader range of features and functionalities.

Now think beyond mere collaboration. In addition to an outstanding collaboration tool, Teams is a unified communication platform that is now replacing traditional phone systems. In addition to the recurring refresh cycles and support contracts, think about how much time your internal team spends on administering your phone system. Imagine the simplicity of equipping an employee with a Bluetooth headset and relying on Teams for all their communications. While traditional phones might still fit certain roles, numerous organizations have successfully shifted to software-based communication solutions. This transition eliminates the need for physical hardware, controllers, and significantly reduces time and resources spent on system upkeep, upgrades, and administrative tasks.

How Evolving Solutions Can Help

At Evolving Solutions, we’ve observed firsthand the financial implications businesses face from overlapping or underused toolsets. A common trend we’ve noticed is that a vast majority of our clients aren’t tapping into the full spectrum of their existing Microsoft 365 subscription. Not only can we guide you in maximizing the use of the tools you’ve already invested in, but we can also help identify and reallocate overlooked resources.

The reason to reduce vendor sprawl in relation to your Microsoft attack surface is as much financially motivated as it is technology driven. By streamlining your security and communication services you can reduce superfluous cost expenditures, alleviate the strain on internal security and support teams, and leverage some of the best technology solutions on the market today. Let our Microsoft 365 specialists help you uncover and optimize the latent capabilities of your current subscription tiers.

Ryan Wuellner

Delivery Architect - Microsoft

Ryan Wuellner is a Microsoft Delivery Architect at Evolving Solutions and joined the company in 2023. Ryan has extensive experience within the Microsoft technology stack and in the data center storage, server, and virtualization space in large complex environments.

Photo of Ryan Wuellner

Related Blog Posts