Now that SharePoint Online supports Office 365 Sensitivity Labels, it’s time to consider how to protect files stored in document libraries. When you compare the two approaches, there’s really only one winner. And there’s no surprise in saying that the winner is Office 365 Sensitivity Labels.
At the Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference, Microsoft described how SharePoint Online will use Office 365 compliance features such as sensitivity labels and information barrier policies to better protect information stored in SharePoint sites. The Office Online apps also gain support for sensitivity labels. The new features will enter a mixture of public and private previews starting November 20.
OWA now supports Office 365 Sensitivity Labels, which means that users can apply labels to mark and/or protect messages with encryption just like they can with Outlook. The update adds to the ways that sensitivity labels can be applied to Office 365 content, with the next step being to achieve the same support for the other online Office apps.
Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS) can integrate with Azure Information Protection to allow automated policy-driven application of Office 365 sensitivity labels to Office documents and PDFs. You can depend on users to apply labels manually as they create documents, but it’s easy for humans to forget to add protection where a computer won’t. You’ll pay extra for MCAS, but it could be worthwhile.
Microsoft has announced the deprecation of the PowerShell module for the Azure Active Directory Rights Management service (AADRM). But don’t worry; it’s replaced by the Azure Information Protection (AIPService) module. Deprecation happens in July 2020, so you’ve lots of time to revise any scripts that use AADRM cmdlets.
The process of introducing Office 365 sensitivity labels to a tenant can be long and complicated because of the need to plan how to manage encrypted content. As you go through the process, don’t delete labels if they’ve already been used to protect content. Instead, remove them from the label policies used to publish information to clients. The labels will then remain intact in documents and other files.
Microsoft has released the GA version of the Azure Information Protection client, which reads information about Office 365 sensitivity labels and policies from the Security and Compliance Center. It’s one more step along the path to making it easy for Office 365 tenants to protect their data. Work still has to be done, but at least we can see light at the end of the encryption tunnel.
Microsoft released an update for the unified labeling version of the Azure Information Protection client needed for Office 365 sensitivity labels, which now boast auto-label support. Solid progress is being made to move sensitivity labels to the point where they are considered to be generally available, probably later this year. In the meantime, pay attention to the premium features like auto-label which require more expensive licenses.
Microsoft has released details of an Exchange Online transport rule to encrypt outbound email containing sensitive data types like credit card numbers. The rule works (after fixing the PowerShell), but needs to be reviewed and possibly adjusted to meet the needs of Office 365 tenants.
Office 365 tenants can use Exchange transport rules to apply autosignatures to outbound email, including messages protected with encryption. You can even include some properties of the sender extracted from Azure Active Directory, and you can add an exception so that the autosignature isn’t applied to replies.