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Customizing Email to Protect Sensitive Data in Office 365

Customizing Email to Protect Sensitive Data in Office 365

09/10/2015

Customizing Email for Security in Office 365Email is essential in today’s business world, but oftentimes companies overlook some of the simpler security aspects of Office 365. Not a lot of people are aware of the built-in security options for email – like disclaimers, the ability to block certain domains, and data loss prevention policies. The great thing about all of these items is that they can be applied in a matter of minutes.

Disclaimers

Many companies, especially law firms, append disclaimers at the bottom of all of their employees' emails (e.g. This email is intended only for the recipient...). In fact, the use of disclaimers is required for a lot of companies in industries dealing with sensitive client data.

Most companies don’t know that the use of multiple disclaimers is possible. A second disclaimer can be added to emails to highlight the company’s upcoming fundraiser or to alert people to a new address or a new procedure.

In addition, with Office 365, you can add disclaimers with certain conditions. For instance, you could add a company announcement for only internal emails or even have a special disclaimer for certain companies.

Allowing/Blocking Domains

Office 365’s built-in email protection is great to start with, but you can tweak some of the settings to provide even better protection for your company. One of the simplest settings you can modify is the allow/block list

Similar to marking an item in your Inbox as junk, you can designate an entire domain as blocked. This is extremely useful if you and your colleagues’ inboxes are continually filled with junk mail and newsletters. Adding a domain to the allow list, however, guarantees that the email will get delivered straight to your inbox.

Data Loss Prevention

Due to the ever growing need for additional security, Microsoft provides a feature called Data Loss Prevention. This is a set of policies that Office 365 provides to allow organization to monitor email communications for sensitive material.

Once turned on, these rules scan all emails to and from an organization looking for information like credit card numbers, SSNs, Taxpayer Identification Numbers, and Passport numbers. Although Microsoft’s policies are pre-canned (they did all the hard work in setting them up for you), you still have the ability to decide what to do with a message once an email is deemed out of compliance with your Data Loss Prevention policies – like not sending the message, CC’ing the employee’s manager, or to warn the employee the email may contain sensitive content, etc.

 

Your security options aren't limited to just these - Office 365 also includes encrypted email (which we covered recently), rights management services and more. It's not always necessary to use them all together, but they're worth exploring. Thankfully, these features can all be customized to fit your particular needs.

These features come standard in the Office 365 Enterprise and Business Plan packages. If you need help setting them up, or if you need to upgrade your Office 365 plan, please contact us.

   
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