Employees are often an organization's biggest security threat. It makes sense; they work with large volumes of data every day, and it may not always be clear to an employee which data needs to be protected. As information is sent across the network, emailed in attachments, copied and pasted, and uploaded to corporate servers, it may not always be treated with the sensitivity it needs to be.
Azure Information Protection provides an additional level of safeguarding for your company's most important information, through an automated service that employees don't need to personally manage. Here are three ways the Microsoft Azure Information Protection solution can help your business.
1. Configuring AIP to Detect Potentially Sensitive Data
During a regular workday, sensitive data is going to be sent through emails, group chats, and uploaded to the employee intranet. Employees may not always recognize when data is confidential or needs to be secured, especially if they are sifting through a lot of information at once.
Once configured, the Azure Information Protection client can automatically detect potentially sensitive data, warning employees who may not have noticed it. Credit card numbers, mailing addresses, social security numbers, and other financial or personally identifiable information will be automatically detected. This automatic detection cuts down on the chances that an employee could forward sensitive information without realizing it.
These types of protections become more necessary the more employees are required to deal with large volumes of sensitive information. It's not realistic to expect that employees would be able to identify this information easily, nor is it realistic to expect that mistakes would never be made.
2. Classifying Data Access Through Azure Information Protection
AIP classification makes it very clear who should receive which levels of sensitive data. Through this data access protection, you can make sure that only trusted individuals receive potentially compromising information, and individuals that don't have the appropriate levels of classification are never allowed to get sensitive information.
Is something only to be seen by the C-suite? Is this a proprietary part that can only be seen by manufacturers? Is this client information that can only be seen by a single client? If an employee attempts to send an email with sensitive information to an address outside of their network, the information will be encrypted and need a key to access – so sensitive data can be shared, but only with those who are allowed to see it.
Azure Information Protection email encryption can be used to send one-use codes for data, protecting data even when it must be sent outside of the traditional network. The AIP client makes the process of classifying and encrypting email easy and automatic, which improves the likelihood that employees are going to classify and protect their data as is necessary.
3. Restricting Documents through Rights Management Protection
One of the core problems with data loss is that once data is outside an organization’s control, it can never be restricted or recovered. If a copy of an employee's 1099 is uploaded to the internet, that 1099 will always be on the internet: There is nothing a company can do to erase or delete it. The solution is to control the file from the very beginning, making sure that it can't be compromised from the moment of its creation.
Microsoft’s Rights Management protection (RMS) means that you can put restrictions on documents, like read-only status or even complete encryption, so that they can’t be opened by someone without authority to do so. Even if this data is somehow compromised and distributed, it'll be useless to anyone who receives it: They aren't going to be able to open it. The encryption standards that are used for this technology are extremely advanced, so it is not possible to break it even given a lot of time and effort.
As the way that we interact with our information changes, our information protection needs to change as well. Organizations are now dealing with tremendously large volumes of data, and it isn't always possible (or reasonable) to expect employees to be able to protect this data with complete, unwavering diligence. Azure Information Protection adds another layer onto an organization's existing information security, preventing the negligence and errors that can be commonplace around any office.
In an ideal world, every employee would take security seriously and never err. But this isn't an ideal world, and people make mistakes – particularly when large volumes of data are crossing their desks. Ready to get started protecting your business’ sensitive data? Contact CWPS today to start the Azure Information Protection adoption process.