Reviewing the new F5 Security and Compliance plans from Microsoft

Microsoft recently released three new security and compliance offers for Frontline Workers, which can be purchased as add-ons to the Microsoft 365 F1 and F3 SKUs.

Designed for those working on the frontline of their business with different technology needs to desk-based users. Microsoft is aiming to help these organizations accelerate the “digital empowerment of their Frontline Workforce.”

We take a look at what the update means, who it affects, and if it’s worth taking advantage of.

The new plans close a gap in Microsoft’s current offerings

Historically, frontline workers are likely to have been employees with minimal IT usage, such as cleaners or factory workers for example, but within Microsoft licensing rules their organizations would have been required to include them within any user count. They would also have had to be licensed on a similar level as any other user within the organization.

The introduction of the tiered functionality of Office 365 and Microsoft 365 productivity suites, such as F3, provided an option that better suited these individuals’ needs, by stripping down the Windows, Office install and CAL ‘one size fits all’ offering to allow users to just have access to a Line of Business application, email and intranet, for tasks like holiday booking or keeping timesheets, for example.

This was of great benefit to many organizations, allowing them to optimize spend by ensuring users had the correct level of access required for their role. However, if any company-wide Microsoft Security and Compliance features were used across the estate from the traditional E5 stack, these users would have required additional plans which would somewhat negate the cost benefits of the fit-for-purpose plans for frontline workers recently introduced.

Fortunately, Microsoft’s three new plans address this, allowing Microsoft 365 F3 users the ability to uplift their security and compliance features to the levels of their E5 counterparts in an easy and cost-effective way. Customers are now able to procure Microsoft 365 F5 Security, Microsoft 365 F5 Compliance and a combined Microsoft 365 Security & Compliance.

With security and compliance climbing up the priority list for many organizations, it’s a welcome move from Microsoft, closing an existing gap and making it easier for customers to enjoy the right level of productivity for their users whilst still saving on costs. It also ensures the option to utilize Microsoft’s suite of advanced Security and Compliance products for these users such as Active Directory Premiums Plan 2 (including Identity protection and identity Governance), Azure Information Protection P2 (including automatic classification for Data protection) and a range of other high-level product to protect access and data within their organization.

A more flexible solution for a new way of working

The pandemic accelerated the normalization of remote working, and regardless of future lockdowns, it’s clear that the traditional shared PC in an office somewhere is a scenario that’s becoming redundant within all industries.

While digital transformation is being prioritized to facilitate this though, companies often neglect the needs of frontline workers in their tech planning, however these core staff are now frequently being required to access files and documents from various devices and locations.

Mobile devices and home PCs are becoming more and more prevalent in this arena too, making data protection and identity management all the more important for these types of users, which makes the announcement by Microsoft particularly welcome. Having a clear view of what software is being used, by who, where, and when, is vital to protecting your organization from vulnerabilities.

Find more information and pricing on the new Microsoft security and compliance plans here.

 

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Ben Simpson

Ben Simpson

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