An Overview of Exchange Online Protection

Have you ever imagined how awesome it would be to offload the antivirus and anti-spam functionalities of your organization’s mailboxes to a cloud-based service provider? Well, this is what Exchange Online Protection (EOP) brings to the table. This is an email filtering service that is based on the cloud. It helps protect your organization’s networks and data against malware and spam. EOP also includes features that are designed to safeguard you from messaging-policy violations.

Exchange Online Protection is meant to streamline the management of your organization’s messaging environment, besides alleviating a bulk of the burdens that relate to maintaining on-premises software and hardware. In case your organization uses Office 365-hosted mailboxes, you already have EOP. You can use Exchange Online Protection to protect your messages in the following ways:

Exchange Online Protection

In a Hybrid Deployment

You can configure EOP to secure your organization’s messaging environment and also control mail routing if you have a mix of cloud and on-premise mailboxes.

In Standalone Scenarios

Exchange Online Protection delivers cloud-based email protection for on-premises mailboxes as well as on-premises SMTP email solutions.

As a Component of Exchange Online

You can use Exchange Online Protection to safeguard cloud-hosted mailboxes in Office 365 and Exchange Online. By checking out EOP’s protect against threats page, you will be able to figure out how best you can configure these Exchange Online capabilities.

How Exchange Online Protection Works

It’s hard to understand how Exchange Online Protection works until you figure out how it processes incoming emails. When this program is in place, incoming mail will pass through connection filtering to check the sender’s reputation besides inspecting the message itself for malware. A lot of spam gets stopped and deleted by EOP at this point.

Messages that are allowed to proceed will then be passed through policy filtering. Here, they get evaluated against mail flow rules (transport rules). These rules are created by enterprise security managers, and can also be enforced from a template. For instance, you can have a transport rule that notifies the manager whenever mail from a specific sender arrives.

After policy filtering, mail passes through content filtering. Here, content gets checked for properties or terminologies that are common to spam. Any message that is deemed to be spam by the filter can be sent to the quarantine or to users’ Junk Email folders based on their accounts’ settings. If a message passes through all these protection filters successfully, it will be delivered to recipients in their inboxes.

Exchange Online Protection Data Centers

Just like any other cloud-based programs, Exchange Online Protection also has data centers. These are meant to guarantee maximum availability of the service whenever you need it. If a data center becomes unavailable, for instance, email messages will automatically get routed to another data center without any interruption to the service. Each data center has servers, which accept messages on users’ behalf. In doing so, there is a protection layer between users and the Internet. Exchange Online Protection undertakes load balancing between different data centers, but this only happens within a region. If you are served by a data center in a specific area, all your messages will get processed via mail routing for the region.

Exchange Online Protection Features and Plans

There are several EOP subscription plans. These include;

EOP Standalone: When you enroll in this plan, you protect all your on-premises email setup

Exchange Online: This subscription plan includes Exchange Online, which can be a standalone or part of Office 365. It leverages the security features of EOP to secure all your Exchange Online mailboxes

Exchange Enterprise CAL: In case you have an on-premises Exchange setup where you have purchased extra Exchange Enterprise CAL with Service licenses, EOP will be included.

Setting Up Exchange Online Protection

It’s quite easy to set up EOP, especially if you manage a small organization that only has a handful of compliance obligations. Nonetheless, if your organization is considerably large and has multiple domains, a hybrid mail flow setup, and custom compliance rules, you need more time and resources to implement EOP.

Exchange Online Protection is one of the best investments that you can ever make. If this software is new to you, the first thing that comes to mind is whether it can deliver the same functionalities as other on-premise anti-spam solutions that you might have in place.

EOP offers more than just anti-spam protection. It provides enterprise-level malware protection, which is particularly beneficial to extremely sensitive and secure enterprises. EOP is undoubtedly among the best anti-spam solutions that you can find in the market today. What’s more, you can combine it with other email filtering solutions such as NuEduSEC’s cloud-native content filters to fully protect yourself against cyber threats. Contact us today to learn more about our web filtering tools.