Information Protection

This is another in a series of posts about new technologies and services, which were announced at Microsoft Ignite.

Azure Information Protection is a cloud-based service which can classify and protect documents and emails with labels.  The background to AIP is to provide control of the data that is critical to your business, providing a platform to maintain control of data when it leaves the business.

We have been used to seeing AIP accessible from the Azure Portal from the Information Protection blade. For those users who work with AIP will be aware of new types of labelling called Unified Labels. Microsoft have advised for some time of the intention for Unified Labelling to be their key focus.

Unified Labels are no longer managed under the Azure Portal, these are located in the new Security Center under the Sensitivity Labels. Please note, the Security Center was previously the Security & Compliance Center but this has now been separated into its own dedicated portal.

Microsoft will be announcing in January 2020 that AIP Labels will be going End of Life and providing customers with a 1-year deadline to migrate away.  All customers will need to migrate to unified Labelling. Fortunately, the process is relatively simple and can be phased in with an overview provided later in this post.

I wanted to highlight some of the improvements and new features coming to unified labelling.

Sensitivity labels

Sensitivity Labels (remember this is the new name for Unified Labels) can now natively be applied from all Office apps without the need for a separate installation of the AIP client. There are currently some features which do not currently work unless you have the AIP client, but this functionality gap is reducing and on roadmap to remove.

Co-authoring

This will be introduced in January for files in OneDrive/SharePoint Online which have sensitivity labels which apply encryption.

Currently any files in OneDrive/SPO which are labelled cannot make use of co-authoring and can also not be opened in the Web browser. This feature will first be released for Office Online apps to allow co-authoring of protected documents, with support in the desktop apps releasing later in 2020.

This is a key improvement as this has been an important challenge for customers introducing Microsoft 365 functionality such as OneDrive and SharePoint Online alongside AIP.

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