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Data loss prevention in Office 365

Office 365 is being used more and more, the number of companies using Office 365 is growing as well as the usage from companies who have used it for a long time. With the growing usage the amount of important data is growing as well. Companies who fail to apply features to protect, preserve and defend the stored data are vulnerable and may loose important data.

There is a lot of features to protect and defend data with features I have written about lately such as Azure Information Protection and Multi Factor Authentication. Some of these are made available by add-on licenses such as Enterprise Mobility + Security(EMS). The option for those without any add-on product is limited but quite good.

Data loss prevention(DLP) is one of these features this is available in all licenses in Office 365. Data loss prevention requires the organisation to configure DLP, this post is not a guide how-to configure DLP. This guide is to make you aware of what can be done with DLP, you as a business have to define what you want to protect, preserve and defend.

DLP is a mix of location(SharePoint, OneDrive or Exchange) and rules(Conditions, Actions, notification and reporting).

Location is in what service of Office 365 you want the information that is stored to be governed by DLP. Do you want to focus on Exchange for all users or some users? Do you even want information stored in SharePoint to be included in your DLP governance? This is step number 1 for you to define on your own, you should not outsource the decision, the options you can do is perhaps a task for a consultant.

Rules is for what should be the condition and the action of the DLP policy, when the policy is put into action the notification to the user and a monitoring function such as a compliance officer. To be able to see what happens there are reports being produced that needs to be monitored.

You and your team need to form a group that defines the scope(what should be in your DLP policy), the actions(such as preventing information from leaving the company). This step will most likely take you more time than you expect. The good thing is that this work is the same work you have to do to comply with GDPR.

DLP policies are handled in the Security & Compliance center in Office 365 admin center, the user who setup this has to be an administrator.