4 Office Goof-Ups Azure Information Protection Could Have Prevented

Posted by Gary Utley on May 14, 2019

You may have thought a lot about external threats, but what about internal ones? Your own employees could be your biggest threats, and we aren't talking about double agents or disgruntled former hires. We're talking about, well, basic screw-ups. Negligence by employees remains one of the largest threats to an enterprise. Luckily, Microsoft AIP can help.

Azure Information Protection is used to control the distribution of classified, confidential, and personally identifiable information. When used properly, Microsoft AIP may be able to save you from... well, yourselves. Here are a few scenarios where Microsoft Azure Information Protection could have helped. 

Danny in HR: Lost Information Could Be Compromised Information

It's payroll time, and Danny from HR has a hole in his jacket pocket. He meant to fix it, but with so many things going on at once, who has the time? A USB drive filled with sensitive human resources information falls right out of his pocket and is picked up by an unscrupulous individual. What happens next?

If AIP hasn't been used to protect that information – and the information hasn't been adequately encrypted – that thumb drive has become a weapon of mass destruction. It could contain hundreds or thousands of employee records, which includes names, social security numbers, addresses, and even earnings. This information could be used for credit card theft, or it could be sold on the internet for things like fake IDs.

Even worse, once the information is out there, it can't be retracted. It can be saved and distributed online forever.

With Microsoft AIP, though, these files would all be automatically protected under the Rights Management system. No one would be able to read the information, even if they physically obtained Danny’s USB drive.

Lauren in Sales: A Single Missed Click Could Be a Big Mistake

Lauren in Sales wants to send her mother a cute picture a coworker had shared with her of their dog. She could do it at home, but you don't understand: It's a very cute picture of a dog. Unfortunately, she clicks incorrectly and sends a Word doc with some client information on it. It's just her mom, she thinks, so what's the big deal?

The problem is that her mom's email account could be compromised. In fact, many people are pretty lax with the security on their personal banking accounts. As it turns out, Lauren’s mom had already had her account compromised a few months ago, and someone is just watching for personal or banking information. Once that client's information comes in, they've hit the jackpot. 

With AIP, Lauren would have been automatically notified that the document was sensitive and that it shouldn't be sent to her mother's account. 

Mike in Accounting: Once Data Has Been Shared, It Can Be Re-Shared

Mike in Accounting has a lot on his plate. Not only is it time for the quarterly reports, but Danny from HR keeps coming into his office and furiously looking around for something, and who knows what's up with Lauren. Distracted, Mike sends some proprietary information to Gerald, a vendor who he trusts. Ordinarily, he'd be a little more careful, but he really needs to get this done now.

Usually, that wouldn't be an issue, but since Mike forgot to mention to Gerald that the information was sensitive, Gerald forwards the information to one of his suppliers. And that supplier forwards information to another. And another. Soon the proprietary information is everywhere, and it eventually makes it into the hands of someone that shouldn't have it.

If Mike had AIP, AIP would have given Gerald a one-use code to view that document so that it couldn't be forwarded to anyone else. Once documents are shared without being protected, they can be shared and reshared by anyone.  

Sally in the C-Suite: Cloud Data Can Lead to Compromised Data

Finally, we have Sally, a C-Suite executive, and she's dealing with a lot. For some reason, payroll didn't go out on time, and now it seems like everyone's off their game. Sally puts out a few well-timed, well-phrased reports to the C-Suite regarding some core internal problems the business is having, and some security issues that she's noticed. Unfortunately, she uploads this information to her personal cloud, which is compromised.

Many executives now use the cloud, and the prevalence of BYOD culture means their devices often sync to a personal cloud – their own account with Google, Apple, Microsoft, or another service. With AIP, all corporate data could be secured upon creation, but once unsecured data is uploaded to a compromised cloud account, it can be seen and used by anyone. 

An employee really doesn't need to be incompetent or grossly negligent to make a mistake. With dozens of emails sent out every day, it's very easy for any employee to accidentally slip up. Who remembers the data or attachments in a thread of emails that's been going on for forty days? This just means you need stronger controls.

Your organization can stave off IT oopsies and potential business disaster with Microsoft Azure Information Protection. Want to get started? Talk to us about using AIP so you, too, can be safe from incidental blunders like the above

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Topics: Azure Information Protection