Since the pandemic struck and impacted the entire globe, companies of varying sizes have been finding ways to adapt to the situation by implementing new ways of working. As employees continue working from home or shift to a hybrid work environment, having secure and reliable tools to aid productivity and collaboration is a must-have. These tools are especially crucial for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which is why Microsoft announced various innovations that help transform the way small businesses work and serve clients.

Complete Security Solutions

Because cyberattacks towards SMBs have gotten more common in the last few years, Microsoft 365 will be making Microsoft Defender for Business available and bundled with Microsoft 365 Business Premium starting March 1, 2022. For those who want to get the standalone version, it will be available within the year.

SMBs typically have IT partners, and Microsoft wants to make these collaborations easier with the general availability of Microsoft 365 Lighthouse, which is also available starting March 1, 2022.

Here are some other features users can expect from Microsoft Defender for Business:

  • Cross-platform endpoint protection
  • Refined ransomware defenses
  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR)
  • Quickly detect and eliminate any threats and suspicious sign-ins

Constant & Seamless Communication

Aside from Microsoft Defender for Business’ robust security offering, Microsoft is releasing a standalone version of Microsoft Teams called Microsoft Teams Essentials. This platform helps gather all the features SMBs need to serve customers efficiently. Small and medium-sized businesses can conveniently and quickly communicate, collaborate, and even meet customers in non-traditional ways with Microsoft Teams Essentials.

Microsoft notes that a significant portion of SMB employees plan on switching to remote work permanently even after the pandemic, so the company is providing solutions for this new normal.

With Microsoft Teams Essentials, SMBs and customers can quickly and efficiently keep in touch in one place. For only $4 a month, the platform offers a myriad of features, including but not limited to:

  • Unlimited group video calls that can last up to 30 hours
  • Efficient collaborative features through calendaring, group chats, and file sharing
  • Users who don’t have a Microsoft Teams account can still participate

Work on the Cloud

Microsoft took Windows 365 to the cloud, allowing more flexibility to SMBs, especially given the current conditions. With this, users can safely and securely stream apps, content, and more to any device, allowing flexibility to users who work at home, in the office, or anywhere else.

When employees, contractors, vendors, etc., come and go, SMBs can quickly decrease or increase the number of Windows 365 Cloud PCs. What’s more, SMBs can purchase Windows 365 Business on a per-user, per-month basis, which means they don’t have to worry about exceeding their budget.

Of course, these updates aren’t the end of the journey but, instead, are only the beginning. For more information, head over to the Microsoft blog.

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