How Do I Protect My Data in Office 365 and Maintain Ease of Access for My Users?

By Branden Wick| August 26, 2019

“What is the best way to protect data in Office 365?”

It’s a question we’re asked all the time.

While turning on tools and enabling functionality can be simple, the real challenge is planning for how it will affect users and collaboration.

You will need to determine how features like DLP mail tips will affect your users, or how Office 365 encryption will change the way sensitive information is shared. For example, using file encryption and security with Azure Information Protection will restrict the ability to see file previews, or search for a document in SharePoint. Or if you protect a PDF file, then you may have to plan for pushing a client or a supported version of Adobe out to your users.

Where to start with Office 365 data protection

There is an overwhelming amount of methods and tools to protect Office 365 (O365). So how do you know if/when to use Data Loss Prevention, Azure Information Protection, AIP Scanner, or Cloud App Security? Should you use all four? The answer should be approached logically based on your unique scenario and how your organization does business.

The need to protect data is obvious, but many organizations don’t know where to start. They’re uncertain about what they need versus what they already have. They may not know how to approach the problem, let alone make a scalable solution. The problem may simply be that an organization doesn’t know how data is being used by its employees.

What does effective data protection look like?

In a perfect world, data would be accessible by only the people who need access to it, and it would not affect the way people are used to doing things. But it’s not that simple. Here’s an example of a best-case scenario:

  • Identify what data is sensitive to the organization
  • Discover how the organization uses and consumes that data
  • Protect sensitive data when it rests, moves or leaves the organization (and limit the impact it has to users and IT)
  • Track, revoke and monitor data in real time

What happens if I don’t protect my data or my data protection strategy doesn’t evolve over time?

Maybe nothing.

Maybe you’ll never have to experience what happens when a competitor gets its hands on your intellectual property and beats your company to market.

Maybe you won’t have to hire a forensic team to track a data leak and pay large sums of money to inform affected users and provide credit monitoring services, ultimately suffering the lost confidence in your company’s brand. The “maybes” are endless.

Microsoft 365 Managed Defense can help you make sense of all the data protection tools available for Office 365. Let our experience help you protect your data and keep up with evolving threats in a way that your employees will respect.


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