Microsoft 365 to offer tighter security and privacy controls

New controls will be able to help businesses better manage encrypted emails, block the sharing of sensitive information, and investigate possible security issues.

Microsoft gives a green light to stronger Windows security TechRepublic's Brandon Vigliarolo explains Microsoft's unique method of alerting Windows users about critical operating system breaches.

Microsoft 365 offers organizations a blended package that includes not just Windows 10 and Office 365, but also an Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS) platform. With EMS, companies can manage their mobile devices, secure data and documents, and investigate advanced threats and other hazards. Now, Microsoft is beefing up the security and privacy options available for Microsoft 365 customers. In a Tuesday blog post, the company announced new controls coming to Microsoft 365 E5 and recently-introduced features that customers can now access.

SEE: Windows 10 May 2019 Update: 10 notable new features (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

With Office 365 Advanced Message Encryption, Microsoft 365 customers will have more controls through which they can automatically expire or disable access to encrypted emails shared externally. Using a secure Web portal, you'll be able to encrypt and expire a message after a certain period of time, such as 30 days, according to your own compliance guidelines.

Using new data investigation controls, users can probe specific security issues, such as data leakage or phishing attacks. In the case of a data leak, you'll be able to launch an investigation to discover what content and which people were affected, and delete any email messages with the confidential leaked information. These new controls are currently in public preview mode for testing.

Microsoft Teams offers a way for employees to collaborate with each other via chats, meetings, and web conferencing. Microsoft is adding controls to help you protect sensitive information from being unintentionally shared or leaked. Due later this year, a feature called Secure Private Channels will let you control which team members can see a certain conversation or content in a specific Teams channel. Coming soon, information barriers will allow you to limit which team members can communicate and collaborate with each other.

First announced in January, the new Advanced eDiscovery feature now available can help you hold, search, and review data if you need to investigate specific issues, such as a violation of internal policy or a breach of GDPR or another external regulation. In an example given by Microsoft, say an employee has shared sensitive information externally for his or her financial gain. You can manage your investigation by selecting custodians related to this case, choosing the data sources for the affected content, and communicating with custodians and affected employees. You can search for and compile affected data, all in an effort to track and document your investigation.

Finally, Microsoft has enhanced the Compliance Manager tool, which customers can use to ensure that data and content meet specific guidelines and regulations. You can create your own assessments to measure your data against various standards and regulations. Using the new Multi-Geo Capabilities, your assessments can now include Office 365 content stored at rest in SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups as well as in Exchange Online and OneDrive.

For more, check out Windows 10 May 2019 Update: Everything you need to know on TechRepublic.

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Image: Microsoft

By Lance Whitney

Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books—one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.