An Overview of Data Loss Prevention in Office 365
Many businesses today use Office 365 (also known as Microsoft 365) to manage a broad range of business functions. As a result, Office 365 deployments often contain business information that is highly sensitive, confidential and essential to business operations. Preventing this data from being lost or leaked is critical to protecting business interests, maintaining data privacy and complying with a wide range of regulatory requirements.
Businesses using Office 365 can access Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools within the Microsoft platform to set policies for identifying, monitoring and automatically protecting sensitive data. For many companies, however, these tools for data loss prevention in Office 365 are not robust enough to fully cover the company from the broad array of consequences that can result when data is leaked. Augmenting Microsoft’s Purview Data Loss Prevention tool functionality with additional, robust DLP solutions may be a superior option for achieving Data Loss Prevention in Office 365
The Need for Data Loss Prevention Solutions
Data is invaluable to businesses today, informing and improving decision-making at every level of operations. Much of this information is not only business-critical but highly sensitive as well. From intellectual property and customer information to financial data and business plans, much of the data businesses rely on daily can create significant problems if leaked or lost.
Data Loss Prevention solutions provide tools and functionalities to help prevent data from being lost, accessed by unauthorized users, or accidentally or purposefully leaked. By monitoring data flowing in and out of the organization, DLP technology uses security policy to detect sensitive information and block it from leaving the organization’s domain.
To prevent the loss of sensitive data, DLP solutions may:
- Monitor and classify data to identify confidential, proprietary or business-critical information and data governed by regulatory requirements.
- Block users from reading or writing sensitive data to USB drives.
- Block emails that violate DLP policies being sent or forwarded out of the company.
- Block the transfer of files containing protected information.
- Monitor and track sensitive or confidential data, reporting who accesses it and when it is moved on the network.
- Monitor sensitive information on endpoints such as servers, laptops and mobile devices to guard against leakage, loss or misuse.
- Monitor cloud deployments to automatically detect and encrypt sensitive information before it is stored in the cloud.
- Notify managers of improper access to data.
- Display educational pop-ups to develop safer data access habits across the workforce.
- Encrypt information and record access of data for future playback.
While many businesses have DLP solutions that protect on-premises environments, these tools may not provide adequate data loss prevention for cloud offerings and SaaS applications like Office 365. As a result, organizations may need tools specifically designed to protect business-critical data in these cloud applications.
Office 365 Solutions for Data Loss Prevention
Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention for defining and applying DLP policies across Office 365 services like Teams, Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive.
With this solution for data loss prevention in Office 365, organizations can:
- Protect different types of data and secure data in use, in motion and at rest.
- Identify sensitive information throughout an Office 365 environment.
- Configure and manage DLP policies.
- Prevent users from accidentally sharing sensitive information.
- Automatically notify and educate users when their actions violate a DLP security policy.
- Monitor and protect sensitive data in the desktop versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
- Enforce policies consistently, even during outages of email servers.
- Fulfill legal, regulatory and compliance requirements with tools for eDiscovery, auditing, threat management and data governance.
Limitations of Office 365’s Data Loss Prevention Tools
When relying on Microsoft’s native tools for managing data loss prevention in Office 365, security teams must overcome several fundamental limitations and weaknesses.
- Limited protection. Many threats to data security exist within images and PDFs, for which data loss prevention in Office 365 offers only limited protection.
- Inadequate tools. The tools for defining, managing and controlling policies in Office 365 are neither easy to use nor granular enough to deliver comprehensive protection.
- Limited scope. Data loss prevention in Office 365 does not cover many channels that must be monitored and protected in case of a data leak.
- Complex management. The interface for Microsoft’s DLP solution can be complex to configure, manage and maintain.
Forcepoint Enterprise Data Loss Prevention
Forcepoint’s DLP solutions work to discover potential threats in real-time to provide unified data protection coverage. Forcepoint complements Office 365 with solutions that protect against outside advanced attacks and insider data loss prevention without requiring complicated add-ons or integrations. Forcepoint’s industry-leading DLP technology uses sophisticated technologies like data fingerprinting, machine learning, optical character recognition, contextual analysis and “low and slow” drip theft detection to block attempts to access and move sensitive data without authorization.
With Forcepoint, security teams can:
- Implement policy-driven processes easily.
- Protect PII, PHI, financial data, trade secrets, credit card information and other sensitive data – even in images and PDFs.
- Drive productivity by replacing broad, sweeping rules with individualized, adaptive policies that block actions only when necessary.
- Improve the visibility of sensitive information through a panoramic view of unstructured data across the organization.
- Track and monitor intellectual property (IP) in structured and unstructured forms.
- Prevent low and slow data theft, even when users are off-network.
- Discover, classify, monitor and protect data in Office 365 intuitively, adding zero friction to the user experience.
- Audit and block user behavior in real-time with Risk-Adaptive Protection to prevent data loss before it occurs.
- Classify data with greater accuracy and efficiency using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
- Save time by managing data loss prevention for Office 365 and on-premises environments from the same console.
- Ensure consistency by enforcing one policy across Office 365 and other cloud applications.
- Rely on pre-defined policies for common regulatory and IP protection use cases to implement data loss prevention quickly.
- Simplify compliance across 80+ countries for GDPR, CCPA and other regulatory frameworks.
Additionally, Forcepoint offers a variety of capabilities that are unavailable within Microsoft’s native DLP tools. With Forcepoint, security teams can:
- Customize DLP policies by geography and industry.
- Rely on granular fingerprinting of data within documents and database records.
- Detected data hidden in images with Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
- Use role-based access controls within incident management workflows.
- Store forensic data with encryption.
- Integrate policies used throughout Office 365 apps with policies in other cloud apps and in web channels, endpoints, internal servers and networks.
- Access a built-in library of reports for security, compliance and operations.
- Customize reports and schedule delivery.
DLP in Forcepoint is offered either standalone or as part of Forcepoint ONE, an all-in-one, cloud-native security platform designed to simplify security for the hybrid workforce. With unified security services – including Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) – Forcepoint ONE provides one platform, one console and one agent that enables security teams to gain visibility, control access and protect data on managed and unmanaged apps and all devices, using one set of security policies.