Microsoft 365 for Enterprise is the trusted standard for data-rich organizations. This powerful suite provides a solid foundation for digital transformation and workplace productivity with integrated technologies readily available. It gives organizations greater access to digital tools and allows them to collaborate effectively across timelines and locations. Microsoft 365 E5 is the most advanced Enterprise deployment for in-office installations and remote or hybrid applications.

E5 provides enterprise-grade security features with Microsoft Defender, with advanced threat protection integrated into core applications. It also features identity and access management with Azure Active Directory Premium, and Cloud PBX services for cloud-based call management. Along with industry-leading apps and intelligent cloud services, E5 can help to enhance the security posture of your entire organization.

Let’s take a closer look at Microsoft 365 E5, including key differences from E3 and advanced security features.

What is Microsoft 365 E5?

Microsoft 365 E5 is a cloud-based suite of productivity apps with an advanced feature set. This powerful suite is designed to enhance online communication and collaboration, along with analytics, compliance, and security services. Security vulnerabilities have been a significant issue over recent years, with more flexible and agile working practices leading to a lack of consistent coverage. However, increased mobility and collaboration demand more integrated IT security services, and for many organizations, Microsoft E5 Security is the answer.

The difference between Microsoft 365 Enterprise licenses

Whether you’re scaling up or investing for the first time, it’s important to understand the differences between Enterprise licenses. There are two best-in-class enterprise solutions available from Microsoft: Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5. Each suite is available for a monthly cost based on an annual commitment, with E5 the more expensive and fully-featured option.

The following differences are noted between E3 and E5:

  • E3 provides an extensive array of enterprise features, including standard Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It also comes with an Office desktop client, extra Mailbox and OneDrive storage, Azure information protection (AIP), data loss prevention (DLP) features, and eDiscovery compliance tools. This license is ideal for many organizations, but it lacks the advanced security features of E5.
  • E5 is the more advanced package, with the features of E3 available alongside extra security, analytics, and phone systems. Additional features include Office 365 cloud app security, advanced threat protection, Customer Lockbox, Customer Key, PSTN conferencing, Cloud PBX services, and a more advanced version of eDiscovery. This license is perfect for organizations that demand complete security coverage and those that deal with sensitive data.

What’s included in Microsoft 365 E5 Security?

E5 makes Microsoft 365 one of the most integrated and productive platforms on the market. It combines leading office apps with advanced voice, analytics, and compliance tools. However, while these features are important, organizations typically migrate to E5 to take advantage of its best-in-class security features. Microsoft 365 E5 Security includes a wide array of interconnected technologies from Microsoft EMS, Office 365 Enterprise, and Windows 11 Enterprise.

The following security technologies are included in both E5 and E3:

  • Credential Guard
  • Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics
  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus
  • Data Loss Prevention for email and files
  • BitLocker
  • Microsoft Security and Compliance Center
  • Device Guard
  • Windows Information Protection
  • Microsoft Secure Score

The following security technologies are included in E5 only:

Azure Active Directory Premium

With a number of effective identity management features, Azure AD helps you set smart access policies and enhance security through a single identity platform. Features include access reviews, identity protection, privileged identity management (PIM), and entitlement management. In addition, the Azure Information Protection Plan allows you to discover, manage, and protect sensitive electronic documents and communications. Learn how we can help you streamline your Azure workflow with Azure managed services.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365

This defender suite helps you prevent phishing and zero-day malware attacks through one of two unique plans. Plan 1 includes anti-phishing, real-time detection, safe attachments, and safe links. Plan 2 includes attack simulation training, automated investigation and response (AIR), threat explorer, and compromised user detection.

Additional Microsoft Defender solutions

Separate Defender services are also available for Endpoint, Identity, and Cloud Apps.

  • Defender Endpoint’s features include advanced hunting, threat evaluation, AIR, threat and vulnerability management, detection and response, and device discovery.
  • Defender for Identity helps to detect and investigate suspicious user behaviour. It utilizes the on-premise Active Directory to protect you from changing attack vectors.
  • Defender for Cloud Apps provides controlled access to cloud-based apps and services. In addition, it analyzes device location and security configuration to prevent suspicious access and unapproved applications.

Customer Lockbox

If you need support from Microsoft or a trusted partner, Customer Lockbox is a secure way to share files and data. This powerful tool helps engineers to access data on your network in a way that satisfies compliance. Specific information is shared for a set period of time, with all endpoints and access methods logged and available for review. Customer Lockbox works with Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.

Microsoft Compliance add-ons

Microsoft E5 licenses can be augmented with top-tier compliance add-ons. While compliance is typically managed separately from security, legislation and data protection laws affect both issues simultaneously. Microsoft Compliance add-ons include eDiscovery and audit, information protection and governance, and insider risk management, along with other optional features. If your organization deals with sensitive or mission-critical data, it needs to be audited, secured, and reported in a way that meets industry standards and legal requirements.

Enhance your security posture: Get started now

If you’re ready to upgrade your security posture, Microsoft 365 Enterprise is a great place to start. E5 is the most advanced and feature-rich solution on the market, with immediate protection available and infinite room to grow. If you would like to get started with this powerful software suite, we would love to help. At Softlanding, we provide professionally managed IT services to help you thrive.

As a trusted Microsoft partner, we can help you deploy and implement Enterprise solutions across your organization.

We are part of Microsoft’s FastTrack program, so you can rely on integrated cloud resources and advanced security expertise. To discover more, please reach out to our team.

Written By:


Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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