Encrypted file storage coming to Office 365 for business in July

Encrypted file storage coming to Office 365 for business in July

Summary: Microsoft will launch more granular control over cloud encryption and new policy controls for access to Office 365 documents.


Microsoft has announced a slew of new security and privacy features for Office 365, in line with its mobile-first, cloud-first strategy recently announced by new CEO Satya Nadella.

Aiming to make Office 365 a little more compliance and user-friendly, Microsoft will enable encrypted storage for business customers from July. The move follows Microsoft's addition of encrypted email and messaging to Office 365 late last year.

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Specifically, Microsoft's Office 365 business customers will see a move from per-disk encryption to a model where every file stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business has its own encryption key, the company announced at its TechEd North America conference. Updates to existing files will also have their own unique key too. 

Microsoft is also putting the mobile device management technologies from Windows InTune (which is part of its Enterprise Mobility Suite) to work in Office 365, offering admins policy-based controls over user access to corporate data in Office documents, OneDrive for Business, and Office Web Apps mobile.

For example, admins could set a policy to allow users to create, view, edit and share content between limited managed applications. Microsoft said it will be launching new managed Office applications for iOS and Android phones later this year.

To support this feature, Microsoft announced a new preview of Azure RemoteApp, which is mean to help IT departments launch remote Office apps for desktop and mobile users, including those on Android, iOS and OS X.

This June, Microsoft will rollout data loss prevention functionality currently available in Exchange to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, but only for Office 365 Enterprise E3 customers. Admins will be able to run queries in the eDiscovery Center to help prevent sensitive information from leaking.

Microsoft is also re-launching its 'Office 365 Trust Center', which will become the company's mouth piece to discuss issues such as data ownership, privacy and compliance.

Separately, Microsoft also announced Lync support for Android tablets, extending existing support from Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone and Android phones.

Read more on Microsoft Office

Topics: Security, Microsoft, Privacy

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • July, hmm?

    I guess the NSA needs extra time to test their skeleton key decryption. :)

    I'm kidding... I think. :)
    • Encryption is nice.

      Depending on who has the keys... and where the encryption is done.

      For a file store, there really could be three levels of encryption

      1) when the file is created (keys are local)
      2) when the file is transfered (secures against transit failures)
      3) storage encryption (secures against those outside the storage facility/organization access, keys owned by the storage facility).

      though that third one might be considered overkill.

      Having a minimum of two prevents data leaks to the storage facility.

      Having the third provides insurance against having the storage facility leak to unknown third parties.