Some special Microsoft 365 accounts will now receive stronger protection than the rest

Microsoft 365
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is preparing a new feature for its antivirus platform that will give organizations a greater level of control over the protection provided to specific employees.

As per a new entry in the company’s product roadmap, Microsoft Defender for Office 365 will soon allow companies to dial protections up and down depending on the identity and profile of the specific user.

“We are introducing differentiated protection for Priority accounts, which will provide users tagged as Priority with a higher level of protection,” Microsoft explained.

The new system is still currently under development, but should roll out far and wide by the end of March.

Priority accounts for Microsoft 365

Not to be confused with Microsoft Defender, the free antivirus services that comes bundled with Windows, Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is a paid service designed to shield organizations against “threats posed by email messages, links and collaboration tools”. 

Although it’s obviously important that all employees are protected sufficiently against malware, ransomware and other threats, there has recently been an uptick in sophisticated and targeted cyberattacks aimed at high-profile members of an organization.

This is because cybercriminals generally have more to gain by targeting executives and other senior personnel, who handle more sensitive information, have greater access privileges and can be blackmailed to greater effect.

This is the rationale behind the new differentiated protection feature for Microsoft Defender for Office 365, which will allow organizations to tune the level of protection (or put another way, the level of inconvenience) on a per-user basis.

As part of this process, security alerts linked with Priority accounts will jump to the top of the queue used by cybersecurity teams to triage and respond to threats. Under this system, businesses could even operate a sub-team dedicated specifically to investigating and responding to alerts targeting the C-Suite, Microsoft says.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.