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4/30/2019
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Microsoft 365 Updated with New Compliance, Encryption, Privacy Controls

New tools, such as Compliance Manager and Advanced Message Encryption, aim to give businesses more options for data privacy.

Microsoft is rolling out a series of new capabilities designed to give businesses greater control over their data privacy practices, help meet compliance requirements, and investigate potential security threats.

The changes arrive as companies are taking a closer look at their privacy practices and monitoring information wherever it travels and resides. With more data moving to the cloud and consumers becoming more aware of organizations' privacy standards, protecting that data has become priority.

One of the new capabilities is Office 365 Advanced Message Encryption, which gives admins additional controls to automatically expire, or revoke access to, encrypted emails sent outside the company via secure Web portal. For example, if a message has data such as health IDs, an admin can configure the settings so it's encrypted and expires after 30 days or whatever compliance requirements dictate.

Microsoft is also adding data investigation capabilities, which businesses can use to analyze incidents such as data leaks or phishing attacks. Data investigation lets admins search affected content or individuals following a breach, then delete emails containing confidential data so users can't view it. Data investigation is currently in preview, Microsoft notes in a blog post on today's announcements.

New changes to Microsoft Teams aim to improve security and compliance for chats, meetings, and calls. These include data loss prevention and information barriers to prevent sensitive data from leaking.

There also are new features for Compliance Manager, a tool designed to help admins manage compliance across various data assets. Admins can now create their own assessments against any regulation or standard while including on-prem and non-Microsoft applications. This lets managers handle data protection controls, prep for audits, and work with different teams from Compliance Manager.

Compliance Manager integrates with the Secure Score API to detect settings and update controls accordingly. When security controls like multifactor authentication are implemented, the tool's risk assessments reflect it. Compliance Manager updates are in public preview for commercial plans.

In another compliance-friendly move, Microsoft is extending Multi-Geo capabilities to SharePoint Online and Groups in addition to Exchange Online and OneDrive. Businesses face several compliance requirements as data residency rules are introduced around the world. Multi-Geo, which can be bought as an add-on to Microsoft 365 and Office 365, lets them choose where Office 365 content is stored at rest.

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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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