Document protection within Microsoft 365

Document protection within Microsoft 365

Technology has revolutionised the way that the modern world lives their lives – so much so that you will be hard stretched to find a daily function that is not influenced by technology somewhere along the line. Unfortunately, with the positives of technology come the inevitable negatives, with the threat of data theft and hackers getting your personal documents becoming even more of an issue over recent months. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 – and the hasty transition within most companies to an at least partial remote work setting – cyber criminality has rose exponentially.


Luckily, Microsoft 365 has features designed solely to protect your documents in the form of sensitivity labels.


What is a sensitivity label?

A sensitivity label applied to a 365 document is a tag that can then give you certain controls over the security of that document.

In layman’s terms, sensitivity labels allow you to classify and protect content that is sensitive to your business.


The benefits of sensitivity labels in 365

Sensitivity labels allow you to employ multiple document-based security protocols to help protect data from any misuse. Once sensitivity labels are applied they can be used whilst a document is being created. You can even make it a requirement that users apply a sensitivity label to their emails and documents.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this is a feature that offers a big security advantage to companies of all types.

  • Get more control over sensitive emails by encrypting them

Typically, when sending emails you lose control over how that content is used after you’ve pressed ‘send’. The contents of that email could be used by anyone for anything. Sensitivity labels help you restrict access to sensitive emails as they are sent out.

You are able to set a policy that only lets users from a specific domain outside your business to review certain info. It is also possible to time-limit the content availability by making the content encrypted and unreadable after the chosen timeframe.

  • Label your content automatically

Enable ‘auto labelling’ – doing this allows you to never have to worry that a user isn’t labelling sensitive data properly. Auto labelling will automatically detect sensitive content in documents and emails that match the pre-set parameters you’ve chosen and set up previously. The content is then automatically labelled with the correct sensitivity label.

Set conditions based on the data the content contains (for example, a customer’s credit card information should be labelled as highly sensitive and have restrictions on the ability to share that information). This avoids the need for expensive extensive user training and also eradicates the concern for user error.

These are just some of the ways that sensitivity labelling can assure you that your documents are safe and secure.

Now let’s take a look at how to use Microsoft 365 sensitivity labelling.


Sensitivity labelling – How to

  1. From the Microsoft 365 admin centre select the ‘compliance admin centre’.
  2. Then click ‘classification’ followed by ‘sensitivity labels’.
  3. Select ‘create a label’ followed by ‘yes’.
  1. Enter a label name, a Tooltip, a description, then ‘next’.
  2. Enable encryption and assign permissions. You can then decide whether you would like user access to expire within a certain time limit and whether you want to allow offline access.
  3. Select ‘assign permissions’ and then input the email addresses of those you wish to grant access, enter their information, and select ‘add’. (Repeat until all desired permissions are added).
  4. Select ‘save’, then ‘save’ again followed by ‘content marking’. Choose the markings you wish to use from the options – there is a range of options to choose from; add text, change the font size and colour, add a header, etc.
  5. Then add rules; for example, when a passport number is added, or other sensitive information is detected.
  6. Select ‘next’, ‘review your settings’ followed by ‘create’.

Your label has now been created. Repeat this process to add any additional labels you require.

If correctly used sensitivity labelling can give you peace of mind in that your sensitive and confidential data and documents are only being viewed and shared by employees with permission to do so.


Ensuring your tech is secure – P2

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