Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Centers Now Generally Available

New Consoles Turn Up in Office 365 Tenants

The set of administrative consoles available from the Microsoft 365 Admin Center
The set of administrative consoles available from the Microsoft 365 Admin Center

Previewed in January 2019, this week the new Microsoft 365 Security Center and Microsoft 365 Compliance Center have turned up in Office 365 tenants. The new consoles integrate different components from across the Microsoft 365 suite and will eventually replace the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center (SCC). Use https://compliance.microsoft.com to access the Microsoft 365 compliance center and https://security.microsoft.com for the Microsoft 365 security center, or click the Security and Compliance links now available in the Office 365 Admin Center.

Fit and Finish Needed

Although deemed generally available by Microsoft, the new consoles need some fit and finish to become fully functional. Many options in the Compliance Center take you back to the SCC. For example, you must use the SCC to create new supervision policies or manage sensitive information types. There’s no trace of the Office 365 audit log or content searches either. However, you can manage retention and sensitivity labels and create and apply policies for these labels in the new center (but not a retention policy that applies a default retention setting to one or more locations).

The new centers share the same design language as the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. Screen layouts are less bulky and clearer than in the SCC, so they’re a little easier on the eye. Some options (like Alerts and Classification) appear in both consoles. Monitoring and Reports is also a common option, but you see different data for compliance than you see for security.

Split Responsibilities

Apart from integrating other Microsoft 365 components alongside Office 365, dividing security and compliance into separate consoles allows Microsoft to have different access roles to control who can use the consoles. If you run a small tenant when the only administrative role used is a global administrator, the division in responsibilities won’t make any difference to you, but in larger tenants, being able to assign precise administrative responsibilities is a good thing. We therefore have roles like the Security Administrator and Compliance Administrator (see this page for details).

Impact on the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook

As noted above, Microsoft needs to do some work to bring the new consoles up to scratch so that they can phase out the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center. We hope that Microsoft fixes the problems that afflicted the SCC during this process, such as the many warning messages that something couldn’t be done because some ill-defined and unknown quota had been exceeded.

For the moment, the Office 365 for IT Pros writing team will continue to focus on the SCC and keep a watching brief on developments in the new consoles. Once everything is ready, we will switch our coverage to the Microsoft 365 consoles and update whatever is needed (screen shots etc.) across a range of chapters.

Being able to respond to changes like this as they’re rolled out by Microsoft is one of the charms of a eBook. The rate of change in Office 365 sure doesn’t make live easy for printed books.

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