How to Make the Most of Office 365’s Data Loss Prevention

Data loss is a real and valid threat in the contemporary business world, and security firms continually dish out recommendations as to how to prevent the most significant threats from becoming a reality. Many of the recommended controls extend beyond security threats alone to take into consideration other factors such as controls and ongoing data management.

The mass migration to cloud-based services has entailed that organizations no longer have the same level of control over their data as they had in the past. As such, services that control access to data that is stored in the cloud are imperative. That’s where Microsoft’s Office 365’s Loss Prevention (DLP) comes in handy.

DLP employs deep content analysis to identify what data is sensitive or critical for your organization, such as credit cards, bank accounts, and passport numbers. It then helps you track and protect the data across the suite of Office 365 applications.

Creating a data loss prevention policy is relatively straightforward.

  1. Open the Security & Compliance center by logging into your Office 365 tenant and selecting Admin Centers > Security & Compliance.
  2. Click on the Data Loss Prevention menu and select Policy > Create a policy. A wizard user interface will emerge from the right. Use this interface to select the properties that you require for your DLP policy.
  3. Once you have selected the properties that are relevant to your geography and business, click Next and input the name and description of the policy you have created.
  4. Define the locations for the policy. In some cases, “All locations” may apply, in others, you may only want to apply the policy to certain locations; for example, Exchange email, OneDrive accounts, or SharePoint sites.
  5. When you have finished assigning the locations, click Next.
  6. You will now need to choose between Simple and Advanced options. When you apply Simple settings, you can quickly and easily create DLP policies without having to create additional rules. However, if you desire greater control over the intricate settings that underpin the policy, use the Advanced settings rule editor.

Once you have created DLP policies, you need to monitor them on an ongoing basis to verify that they are helping you remain compliant. Using the DLP reports, you can examine how many policies and rules that have matched and the quantity of overrides and false positives. You can then use this information to improve and refine your DLP policy.