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Understanding the Evolution of Microsoft Azure Information Protection

In our rapidly evolving digital landscape, safeguarding sensitive data remains a top priority for organisations. As businesses increasingly rely on cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, ensuring robust data protection becomes critical. Let’s firstly explore how Microsoft Azure Information Protection (AIP) offers powerful solutions to secure your data in the cloud, before we look at how Microsoft Purview extends the capabilities of AIP into to a broader range of data sources and types.

Understanding Microsoft Azure Information Protection (AIP)

Microsoft Azure Information Protection (AIP) is a cloud-based solution designed to classify, label, and protect data based on its sensitivity level. It equips organisations with a comprehensive toolkit to safeguard information assets across various devices and platforms.

Key capabilities of AIP include:

Data Classification: AIP allows users to classify data based on sensitivity levels (e.g., confidential, internal use only, or public). This classification informs security measures and risk assessments.

Label Application: Once data is classified, AIP enables users to apply labels to documents and emails. These labels serve as visual indicators of data sensitivity and guide handling and protection protocols.

Encryption: AIP employs encryption to secure data both at rest and during transit. By encrypting sensitive information, organisations limit access to authorised users, mitigating the risk of unauthorised breaches.

Access Control: Organisations define access policies and permissions, ensuring that only authorised users can view, edit, or share sensitive data. Granular control prevents data leakage.

Key Features of Microsoft Azure Information Protection

Automatic Classification: AIP automatically classifies data based on predefined rules and policies. This streamlines data protection by applying appropriate labels to sensitive information.

Integration with Microsoft 365: AIP seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 applications (e.g., Word, Excel, Outlook). Users can classify and protect data directly within familiar tools, ensuring consistency across the organisation.

Centralised Management: Administrators manage AIP through the Azure portal, enforcing data protection policies organisation-wide. Centralization simplifies administration and maintains consistency.

Auditing and Reporting: AIP provides robust auditing and reporting capabilities. Organisations track user activities and monitor compliance with data protection policies, identifying potential security risks.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP): DLP is a key aspect of Microsoft Azure Information Protection (AIP) and plays a vital role in enhancing data security measures. With DLP, organisations can audit, require approval, or outright block external sharing or emailing of documents based on their sensitivity level. This granular control allows for tailored protection of sensitive data, mitigating the risk of inadvertent exposure or unauthorized access. By leveraging DLP capabilities within AIP, organisations can proactively safeguard their information assets and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements, bolstering overall data protection strategies.

How Microsoft Azure Information Protection Works

Classification: Users classify data using predefined labels or custom policies based on sensitivity.

Labelling: Classified data receives appropriate sensitivity labels, guiding handling and protection.

Encryption: AIP automatically encrypts labelled data, restricting access to authorised users.

Access Control: Organisations define access policies, controlling who can view, edit, or share sensitive data.

Monitoring and Auditing: AIP offers visibility into user activities and compliance through auditing and reporting.

Benefits of Using Microsoft Azure Information Protection

Enhanced Data Security: AIP empowers organisations to protect sensitive information effectively, reducing the risk of data breaches.

Streamlined Compliance: AIP assists with regulatory compliance by enforcing data protection policies.

User Productivity: Seamless integration with Microsoft 365 ensures user-friendly experiences while maintaining security.

Microsoft Azure Purview and its Relation to AIP

Microsoft Azure Purview is a unified data governance service that forms a part of the broader Microsoft Azure Information Protection framework. It helps organizations manage and govern their on-premises, multi-cloud, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) data.

Azure Purview’s automated data discovery, sensitive data classification, and end-to-end data lineage capabilities make it easier for organizations to achieve a holistic and up-todate understanding of their data landscape.

In the context of AIP, Azure Purview enhances the data protection capabilities by providing additional layers of visibility and control. While AIP focuses on classifying, labelling, and protecting sensitive information, Azure Purview extends these capabilities to a broader range of data sources and types.

Together, AIP and Azure Purview provide a comprehensive data protection solution that enables organizations to protect sensitive information effectively, maintain regulatory compliance, and enhance user productivity.

In conclusion, Microsoft Azure Information Protection, with the inclusion of Azure Purview, offers a robust and comprehensive solution for data protection in today’s interconnected digital landscape. This powerful combination plays a crucial role in securing data, fostering trust, and enabling organisations to thrive securely.

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