Getting Started with Azure Information Protection: What Do You Need to Know?

Posted by Gary Utley on May 2, 2019

If you're using Microsoft Azure (or considering a transition), you should also consider the benefits of Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection. An additional safeguard for the purposes of data security, protection, and regulatory compliance, Azure Information Protection can automatically improve upon an organization's data and document management and access controls.

AIP can be used with Microsoft Azure or integrated into on-premise solutions, and even has support for third-party utilities and a variety of platforms. Here's everything you need to know about getting started with Microsoft AIP. 

What is Azure Information Protection? 

Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection (AIP) is a cloud solution that gives an organization the power to classify and protect documents, data, and emails with labels. Working with the robust Microsoft Azure platform, it's able to improve upon the existing infrastructure of Microsoft Azure to ensure that classified, sensitive, and protected documents aren't compromised. 

Under AIP, labels can be applied manually, automatically generated based on set rules and conditions, or added through a mixture of both. Administrators may recommend settings for documents that contain important, secured information (such as credit card numbers) while also allowing employees to manually label documents as being classified. If employees attempt to send documents that have secured information outside of their system, they will be alerted.

Under Microsoft’s Azure Rights Management, documents can be protected even when not in the organization's system. A file can be set to be viewable only to specific individuals even if the file is taken out of the system and distributed elsewhere, thereby keeping the data protected and encrypted even if the document is copied or removed. 

What Applications Have AIP Integrations?

AIP is fully integrated with other apps in the Microsoft Office ecosystem (Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel). It has additional functionality that allows it to work with Gmail, Hotmail, or Microsoft email. If you forward an email with sensitive data to a Gmail account, for instance, there will be a link with a one-time passcode to read the information in a browser.

AIP's integrated system makes it even easier for employees to protect information. During day-to-day operations, a great deal of employee negligence occurs simply because employees are rushed or not paying attention. By making the system easier to use and more intuitive, AIP ensures that employees will properly classify and protect their documents; by automating solutions, such as one-time passcodes, AIP reduces the chances that information could be accidentally compromised.

How Expensive is Azure Information Protection?

Microsoft AIP is very affordable, typically less than $10 per month per user. However, there is a tiered service involving different types of functions, and some of the more advanced functions may cost more. Your managed IT service provider (MSP) may also be able to offer you a custom set of features, depending on the needs of your organization.

At its most basic, Microsoft Azure Information Protection provides classification and protection of documents through rights management and automatic categorization and tagging. The more advanced features, on the other hand, include document tracking, revocation, and the classification and protection of scanned, on-premise documents.

Depending on the classification and the sensitivity of the documents that your organization regularly deals with, your organization may need some of AIP’s more advanced features. An MSP will be able to connect you with these solutions, potentially bundling them with other potential Microsoft Azure services, such as data protection and backups.

Your service's final costs are likely to be determined both by the features that your organization needs as well as the number of users that your organization needs to support.  

Key Takeaways

Any organization that stores and manages confidential, sensitive, or protected information can benefit from the adoption of Microsoft AIP. Through Microsoft AIP, organizations can automatically protect their most classified data, retaining control over data after it's shared, and preventing employees from accidentally compromising important information on their own.  

The easiest way to acquire, configure, and begin using Azure Information Protection is to use the services of an MSP. A managed services provider can help you integrate AIP into your existing Microsoft Azure platform and any other third-party or on-premise solutions that your organization also needs to support. Through an MSP, you can learn more about the functions of Azure Information Protection, as well as how it can work to protect your business and its data.

Microsoft’s Azure Information Protection is a powerful, versatile tool that can safeguard your information. Contact CWPS to be your certified AIP partner today, and get started protecting your sensitive data.

Free Ebook: How Microsoft's AIP Can Protect Your Organization

Topics: Azure Information Protection