No doubt, Office 365 (O365) is a powerful productivity suite. O365 turned five years old in June, and it has become the cloud service of choice for enterprise users.
Still, some organizations have more specialized needs that fall outside the scope of O365. There’s an entire marketplace of add-ons and extensions that take the already powerful set of cloud applications to a higher elevation for individual needs.
Some of the more common areas where we see organizations looking to customize are single sign-on tools, security and compliance, and email support. There are a lot of options that build on the cloud suite’s offerings, so let’s break down what these add-ons can do and which ones might be best for your O365 environment.
1. Single sign-on. Give your employees simple access to O365 by harnessing the power of integration. Single sign-on extensions and add-ons integrate O365 access with existing Microsoft applications and other web-based tools. For organizations with many logins, this can save a lot of time without compromising on security.
Add-on tools from providers like Okta, OneLogin, Centrify, and Oracle improve user identity management. Users can seamlessly sign onto Microsoft programs and other third-party apps from either their work station or mobile device while IT focuses on important tasks instead of password recovery or creation.
2. Security and compliance. O365’s security is comprised of a number of built-in tools, including Data Loss Prevention (DLP), eDiscovery, and auditing and reporting functionality. But add-ons provide additional security protocols for organizations that have more specific requirements. For instance, health care providers and government agencies may opt for specialized security add-ons to maintain HIPPA and CJIS compliance, respectively, as add-ons can leverage existing policies and enable further DLP protections.
There’s no one threat that’s driving adoption of these add-ons, but organizations large and small continue to allocate resources to additional security protections. From Symantec’s Data Loss Prevention for O365 to Proofpoint’s Threat Protection to TrendMicro’s Cloud App Security, add-ons provide enhanced DLP monitoring, heightened risk protections, and malware scanning. Many organizations leverage their existing knowledge of security tools and vendors in selecting these add-ons.
3. Email. Most organizations using O365 have migrated their email accounts to Exchange, which has its own spam filtering and archiving tools. Still, organizations familiar with third-party spam filtering tools may opt to run similar add-ons like Mimecast and Symantec Email Security.cloud. Others may have an existing archiving solution and want to integrate it with their O365 Exchange accounts, rather than moving all of their data to the cloud.
Another in-demand service is email encryption. Most software vendors that provide inbound email filtering add-ons also encrypt and monitor emails. Add-ons such as Symantec Email Security.cloud and Cisco IronPort further enhance security, both by encrypting text and preventing sensitive data from leaving an environment in an outbound email.
Adding to O365’s engine to enhance productivity
By turning to add-ons and extensions that build on O365’s already robust foundation, organizations can more closely integrate legacy applications into their cloud environment to drive faster adoption from users. For many organizations, single-sign on, specialized security safeguards, and additional email tools can not only customize the cloud for their individual needs, but also achieve new levels of functionality, increase productivity, and further enhance the O365 experience.
If you’d like to know more about these O365 add-ons and others that might fit your specific use cases, contact your SHI account executive.
Bill Carolan contributed to this post.