Companies across all different industries and regulatory environments need to protect their sensitive data and make sure it doesn’t get into the wrong hands. More than ever, data moves across locations, devices, apps, cloud services and on-premises environments. While data mobility has helped end-user productivity, it has also made protecting important data more challenging.
Information protection capabilities in Microsoft 365 help you identify, classify, protect and monitor your sensitive data. We just announced several updates and enhancements that can help you achieve your security and compliance goals. As part of the announcement, we will be previewing a consistent labeling and protection model that will be used across Office 365 and Azure Information Protection.
The upcoming experience means that the same default labels can be used in both Office 365 and Azure Information Protection, and the labels you create in either of these services will automatically be synchronized across the other service – no need to create labels in two different places! For example, if you create a label in the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center for “Confidential – Personal Data”, this label will also appear in the Azure Information Protection admin portal. The consistent labeling model also helps ensure that over time, labels are recognized and understood across our information protection solutions – including Azure Information Protection, Office 365 Advanced Data Governance, Office 365 Data Loss Prevention, and Microsoft Cloud App Security.
At the same time, we will also be previewing a more consistent protection model. This means that there will be a common set of protection actions that can be applied based on your label policy – including encrypting labeled content and applying visual markings to content (for example, watermarks, headers, footers). As part of the preview, within the Office 365 Security & Compliance center you will be able to configure both the label and protection actions in a single setup flow – create a label, apply protection settings based on the label, or even apply data retention settings. This will streamline the admin experience and brings more consistency to the policy and protection actions that can be configured within Office 365 and Azure Information Protection.
Example 1: Preview of the new label configuration experience in the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center. You can create a new label and then add protection or retention settings – in just a few simple steps.
Example 2: Protection actions can include adding encryption.
Example 3: Retention actions can include how long to keep content and when to delete it.
Example 4: You can also add visual markings to labeled content, such as a watermark, header or footer.
The consistent labeling and protection model will also make it easier for end-users to apply the appropriate sensitivity labels and protections while working on documents or sending emails. We are building labeling capabilities natively into the core Office apps – including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, and soon there will be no need to download or install any additional plug-ins. For example, if an end-user is working on a document that contains personal data, such as an employee ID number, they can easily select the appropriate label, such as “Confidential”, right within the app. We will start with a preview of the native labeling experience on Office apps for Mac and plan to extend similar native labeling capabilities to Office apps running on other platforms in the future (e.g. iOS, Android and Windows).
Also coming soon: Additional built-in sensitive information types to help detect and protect personal data
We currently have over 80 out-of-the-box sensitive information types that can be used to detect and classify your data. This includes several of the most common personal information data types, such as credit card numbers, national ID numbers and passport numbers. We will continue to add additional sensitive information types and plan to provide a GDPR template to help detect and classify personal data relevant to GDPR. While many of the existing sensitive information types are relevant to the GDPR, the upcoming GDPR template will help consolidate these into a single set and will also include several new personal data types (for example, addresses, telephone numbers, medical information). This will make it easier to configure the identification, classification and protection of GDPR related personal data. We’ll share more information on the availability of the upcoming GDPR sensitive information template as the details become available. In the meantime, you can get started with the existing sensitive information types or even create your own custom sensitive information types.
We’re excited to start previewing these new labeling and protection experiences with customers. You can register at the signup site if you are interested in participating in the preview. In the meantime, watch this short overview video to see some of the new capabilities in action.
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