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Microsoft Ignite Brings Security & Compliance Updates

Microsoft announces support for data loss prevention in Google Chrome, co-authoring of protected files, and more at Ignite 2021.

Microsoft today debuted several security and compliance updates as part of its Ignite 2021 conference, including the extension of data loss prevention (DLP) to the Chrome browser and on-premises files, the ability to co-author protected documents, and the extension of Azure Purview.

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During last year's Ignite conference, Microsoft extended its data loss prevention capabilities to Microsoft Cloud App Security, bringing DLP policy-based inspection to cloud apps including Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Webex, OneDrive, SharePoint, and others. In November 2020, its Endpoint DLP tool became generally available. 

Now, DLP capabilities will be available through a Chrome extension called DLP and Insider Risk Management. 

This extension, now available in preview, brings DLP and Insider Risk Management into the Chrome browser of onboarded endpoint devices. Admins will be able to create custom DLP policies for Chrome to ensure data is properly handled and isn't accidentally disclosed. With its "audit mode," for example, they can record policy violations without affecting users' activity. 

In a blog post, Microsoft notes that users with the extension see an alert when they take risky actions with sensitive information, as well as policy advice and guidance to remediate them. This extension is meant to enable a more granular level of data protection. In the admin center, admins can set the policy and can turn it on and off in the Microsoft 365 compliance center.

While many businesses are moving operations to the cloud, many continue to have a significant data presence on-premises. A key issue is much of this data hasn't been classified or protected, making it tough for IT and security teams to determine what it is and how it should be secured.

Microsoft's on-premises DLP aims to give businesses more visibility into this data and create a framework to help manage and protect it. This capability uses DLP and Microsoft Information Protection policies to find sensitive data and the unknown repositories holding sensitive data.

Also available in preview is the ability to co-author documents secured with Microsoft Information Protection, a tool used to prevent data loss across Microsoft 365, on-premises, third-party SaaS apps. 

"Collaboration and productivity are critical to getting work done, but you need to ensure the data remains safe wherever it is," says Alym Rayani, general manager for Microsoft Compliance. With more people working remotely, protecting data where it resides has become a top priority.

Employees previously had to choose between encrypting sensitive content and collaborating on it, as only one person could edit encrypted content at a time — everyone else was locked out, and AutoSave was disabled to preserve encryption. Now, multiple people can work on a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file while maintaining the sensitivity labeling and document protection.

Rayani notes this capability works across devices and will work automatically. Employees must choose to protect the document by selecting an encryption policy and sensitive data labeling policies, which are already built into Microsoft 365 applications.

"What many organizations are realizing is, they can't just protect against what we call outside-in threats," he says of the growing reliance on cloud-based applications and the prevalence of remote work. Organizations are adapting to a new reality in which they store data in new and different ways, which creates security and compliance challenges for them along the way. "They also have to think about how they protect from the inside out." 

Microsoft today announced it's expanding the ability of Azure Purview, a service announced last December that was built to map and control business data wherever it resides. It's integrated with Microsoft Information Protection, meaning admins can apply the same sensitivity labels defined in Microsoft 365 compliance center to information in Azure.

Now, Azure Purview will be able to scan and classify data to other platforms including AWS S3, SAP ECC, SAP S/4HANA, and Oracle Database. As part of the preview, users can automatically scan and classify data that resides in on-premises data stores with the Azure Purview Data Map.

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