Azure Information Protection & Security

With Microsoft Azure Information Protection (AIP), you can protect your organisation’s sensitive data no matter where it is stored and accessed..

In the current cloud-based IT climate, data has become completely fluid and is able to exist in many different places at once. Businesses are constantly sharing sensitive data with partners, clients, and workers and, more often than not, they’re doing it remotely.

How, then, can management and IT ensure that organisational data is safe when it’s being shared so freely and frequently outside of the traditional boundaries of the organisation? Aside from protecting this sensitive data, how can organisations track data usage as it propagates and travels throughout the internet?

Data security is a serious concern. According to the Identity Theft Resource Centre there were 1,093 data breach instances in 2016 which was a 40 percent increase from the previous year. Many companies and other organisations have taken steps to proactively protect their data, and in 2017 the ITRC reported 1,080 data breach instances (slightly less than the 2016 figure).

It’s therefore essential that the data which organisations mark as sensitive is effectively protected. Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection does just that, allowing you to classify, protect, and track your data via an intuitive and easy-to-use cloud-based client app, which can be tailored to your existing IT policies.

Azure Information Protection (AIP)

With Azure Information Protection (AIP), you can protect your organisation’s sensitive data no matter where it is stored and accessed. This includes the entire range of Microsoft cloud services: SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, OneDrive for business, Skype for Business, Office 365 and more. Simply put, even when your sensitive data has been shared remotely and frequently, it’s still protected by all of your organisation’s encryptions, classification labels, watermarks, and other DLP (data loss prevention) policies.

With today’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) work environments, in which employees not only use their own personal computers and devices in the workplace but also increasingly rely on third-party apps and cloud services to do their work, data breach is a very real concern. Fortunately, with AIP your organisation can more easily meet its goals of compliance and regulatory requirements.

Here are just a few of the other reasons why your organisation ought to be implementing Azure Information Protection.

  • Persistent protection – no matter where your sensitive files are stored or who shares them, the protection protocols are always in place.
  • Monitor and analyse data – find out who is sharing your data, where they are sharing it, and how often. You can even restrict or even revoke access to your data.
  • Define access – not only can you define who can access your data, with Azure you can also define what users can do with the data (different levels of access for different users). For instance, you can set the rights use policy for a user in such a way that they can view and edit a file, but they can’t print or forward that same file.
  • Classify data easily – the controls for classifying and protecting data are super intuitive and easy to use. With one click you can choose each of the different options for data classification depending on your company’s requirements.
  • Manage encryption keys – whether your data is stored on a hard drive or in the cloud, you can decide how to manage your encryption keys, including BYOK (Bring Your Own Key) options.
Azure Rights Management

Azure Rights Management, or Azure RMS, is the technology used to power AIP. Azure RMS works across phones, tablets, and PCs and makes use of advanced encryption to handle identity and authorisation policies. The net effect, again, is that your files and messages are protected even when they leave the boundaries of your organisation.

Without getting too far into the nuts and bolts of how Azure RMS works, what is important to understand about this technology is that at no point in the process is the data stored in a central location. Instead, Azure RMS encrypts the data at an application level in such a way that the document is only accessible to those with the appropriate access.

Each document has its own unique content key that is located in the file header, where it can only be accessed if a user has the correct AIP root key. In this way, Azure RMS can encrypt, decrypt, and enforce restrictions without ever sending or storing sensitive files.

Getting started with Azure Rights Management and Azure Information Protection

Protecting documents with Azure Rights Management and Azure Information Protection is easy enough. Microsoft provides its own comprehensive quick start tutorial which leads you through the process of using AIP to protect a document once sensitive material has been detected. This tutorial also guides you through the process of protecting a document sent by email and then tracking it to see who is using it and how (and potentially even revoking access to it remotely for certain users).

However, to make full use of the protection which AIP offers, you may wish to incorporate AIP and Azure RMS training into your project roll-out. Since GDPR came into effect, businesses need to be far more alert to the rules and regulations surrounding data protection. OfficeLabs offers a comprehensive training schedule tailored around your business, and your departmental needs. We can perform an audit of your sensitive information and advise on the best approach for implementing AIP to ensure industry compliance.

How Can OfficeLabs Help?

These are just some of the benefits Azure Information Protection can offer your company. When you book an appointment with an OfficeLabs consultant, they will talk to you in depth about your business needs, and how best to utilise the power of Office 365. Remember, AIP is just one tool in the suite — OfficeLabs will ensure you get the most out of each of these applications. Making sure your business runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible is why OfficeLabs has been chosen by both FTSE 250 companies and huge public-sector bodies, and our no-jargon approach will let you talk to us with confidence about your requirements.

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