Microsoft reveals new security and privacy capabilities for Office 365

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 13 May 2014
Microsoft reveals new security and privacy capabilities for Office 365


Microsoft has revealed several new capabilities to improve security and privacy of its enterprise-grade Office 365 platform.

Showcased at the TechEd North America conference – taking place in Houston, Texas, from 12-15 May – the new features enable enterprises to comply with security and privacy regulations, while enabling employees to remain productive.

Writing in a blog post, Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president for Office Services and Servers at Microsoft, highlighted the challenges organisations face when attempting to meet users’ needs and remain compliant.

“IT pros today are focusing more than ever on how to give employees access to information, provide collaboration tools for inside and outside the company, and to do it all across a multitude of devices,” said Jha. “While end-user expectations and demand for the latest tools is high, IT has to balance this pressure to meet users’ needs with meeting corporate policies, industry regulations, and government laws.”

To help business users achieve compliance while protecting sensitive data, Microsoft has built user-level encryption features such as S/MIME, Office 365 Messaging encryption and data loss prevention (DLP) fingerprinting into Office 365 over the past few months.

Scheduled to be deployed to Office 365 business customers from July, the new encryption technology means that every file stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business is encrypted with its own key. Subsequent file updates are also encrypted with their own unique key.

In June, Microsoft’s existing DLP capability will be extended from Exchange to include documents stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business for Office 365 Enterprise E3 customers. This prevents users from sharing sensitive content within and outside of an organisation by automatically classifying and identifying a customer’s data at rest using deep content analysis.

In addition, Microsoft has improved mobile device management for Office 365 with Office and Outlook Web App (OWA). Users will be able to securely access protected corporate data from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive for Business and OWA mobile via IT policies defined through Windows Intune. IT departments will be able to apply policies across Office mobile apps to allow their users to create, view, edit, and share content between managed applications.

“In building all of these capabilities, we never sacrifice the user’s productivity, which is important not only to an organisation’s productivity, but also to getting user compliance with its policies,” said Jha. “Our philosophy in these innovations is not to lock down information and access, but to help users make the right decisions. By following this philosophy, we offer a great user experience that informs them of the choices they are making, automatically takes action on their behalf and, where appropriate, allows them to knowingly proceed.”

In addition, Microsoft has re-launched its Office 365 Trust Center information portal. The portal now features various whitepapers and a regular blog and video series – called ‘From Inside the Cloud – to provide users with insights into how the Office 365 service is designed and operated.

“We know that you expect to own your data when you move to the cloud and to retain visibility and control,” said Jha. “No one wants to take unnecessary risks with their data and our users absolutely do not have to. We will continue to add security, privacy, and compliance capabilities to Office 365, while we continue to be transparent about what we do and how we do it through the Office 365 Trust Center.”


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