Today, at Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a new service from our Defending Democracy Program called Microsoft 365 for Campaigns, which brings the high-end security capabilities of our Microsoft 365 Business offering to political parties and campaigns.
The majority of security breaches faced by political campaigns originate from malicious phishing attacks and target email and filesharing systems. But many campaigns are ill-equipped to deal with these threats from nation-states and criminal scammers. We talked with campaign staffers and leaders in campaign technology and heard repeatedly that security solutions for email often were too hard to configure and too expensive. M365 for Campaigns addresses both issues by making it easy to deploy advanced security features at a much lower price.
Starting today, campaigns can sign up to be notified when the service becomes available in June by visiting https://m365forcampaigns.microsoft.com.
M365 for Campaigns will have three main benefits:
First, we know that many political campaigns do not have dedicated IT support staff. Campaign staff shouldn’t have to be experts to get advanced security protections from the types of threats they face. M365 for Campaigns streamlines the configuration and setup of our best M365 high-impact security settings.
Second, we often hear that price is the largest barrier preventing campaigns from adopting the best and most secure communication and collaboration services. That will no longer be an impediment. M365 for Campaigns will be available for $5 per user per month – the same price provided to non-profit philanthropic organizations.
Third, any campaign using M365 for Campaigns will have free access to Microsoft’s AccountGuard service. AccountGuard provides notification about cyberthreats, including attacks by known nation-state actors, in a unified way across both email systems run by organizations and the personal accounts of these organizations’ leaders and staff who opt in. To date, AccountGuard is protecting more than 36,000 email accounts in 26 countries and has made hundreds of threat notifications to participants.
M365 for Campaigns will be available in June to all federal election campaigns, federal candidate committees, and national party committees in the United States, and we are exploring ways to bring the service to other countries in the future.
As we said when we announced the Defending Democracy Program, threats to our democratic processes from cyber-enabled interference have become a critical concern. We must all partner and do more to protect free and fair elections, and securing campaigns is an important part of this work.