Office 365 and Exchange Security Comparison

With the launch of Office 365 many people started to wonder whether the new Microsoft product is here to replace Exchange. Despite the fact that Office 365 is the most fast-selling product for the company in years and more organizations are switching to the cloud-based solution, Exchange remains the most common platform in the world. In fact about 85% of all websites operate on this technology in one way or another. Even if Office 365 is here to take the ancestor’s place, it’s going to take a while.

Dmitriy Yasinskiy November 21, 2016

But the question is the following: is Office 365 better than Exchange? This is a very long discussion, and we have already touched upon the subject a while ago giving you all the pros and cons of each system. Today we would like to make a brief overview of security and compliances for these two systems. Check out how they differ in this respect and how much it all costs.

Office 365 Security

The cloud-based platform utilizes Azure Active Directory (AAD) for most of security management. It is fully integratable with Active Directory and supports most third-party software. There are three basic identity modules for user account set up and management that AAD is responsible for:

  • Cloud
  • Synchronized
  • Federated

Microsoft constantly updates security infrastructure and due to the cloud nature you don’t have to worry about anything. Any update is automatically installed and you benefit from it.

Being a giant in the technology industry, Microsoft is able to provide top security protocols. Office 365 is currently the only service that includes both HIPAA and FISMA credentials.

Customer data is stored in Microsoft datacenters allocated around the globe and protected by multilayered security, built to withstand any harm from environmental and natural threats as well as any unauthorised breach. Moreover, every datacenter has a failover capability to prevent any loss of data due to unexpected events that might compromise clients information.

Microsoft runs a security system that can support multitenancy architecture for enterprise-level companies. Most of Office 365 security protocols are fully automated to limit any involvement and access to the data by the company itself.

Obviously, we cannot go in full details of all Office 365 security features as it will take us too much time, and to be honest it is not the most interesting topic. So with the basics covered, we are now moving on to look at Exchange Server security features.

Exchange Security

Due to Exchange Server complexity and its customizable nature, the security measures that organizations can take are superior to probably any other on-premise and cloud environment. But it comes at a cost.

Although Microsoft has automated many processes and eliminated a need for some tasks that were previously crucial when utilizing Exchange, like running the Security Configuration Wizard (SCW), it is still highly dependent on a system administrator. There are lists of practices that are recommended by Microsoft for server setup and continuous operations.

Most probably, your organisation is not a global giant like Microsoft, or even if it is, the chance is good that your experience with setting up an environment for physical security is not so extensive. Exchange Server on the physical side can be vulnerable to natural disasters. And while it might seem unlikely, remember that the fate of your organization lies on the data stored. And blackouts, for example, are common threats for server facilities.

And the most crucial point of all is that for advanced security you will need third-party solutions separately. Besides, it will need to be managed and maintained long after the deployment is completed. And although you can get all the security certificates in the world, you will have to keep paying for separate licences.

Overview of Office 365 and Exchange Security

Well, looking at the overview of security and compliance, it can be said that Office 365 just beats its older brother with simplicity and convenience.

Office 365 has more default credentials in a standard security package. The cloud-based platform is superior to the on-premise solution because it all runs on Microsoft’s servers. This also means that you as a client will no longer need to maintain these servers and update the system on both software and hardware sides of things.

Last but not the least, the price of Office 365 tends to be less than the cost of running on-premise Exchange due to the factors discussed. So moving to the cloud-based environment seems like the best option.

Many businesses and enterprises have already switched to Office 365 because it allows to focus on matters at hand and cut the costs of running server facilities. If you are interested in moving your entire on-premise Exchange infrastructure to Office 365, contact us at Digital Design. We are a proud Microsoft partner and we specialize in Office 365 migration services for companies of all sizes.