New Office 365 features balance out security and productivity

by Teodor Nechita
Teodor Nechita
Teodor Nechita
Software Managing Editor
Eager to help those in need, Teodor writes articles daily on subjects regarding Windows, Xbox, and all things tech-related. When not working, you may usually find him either... read more
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Safe Documents and Application Guard

Technology is evolving, and Microsoft is a very good example of a company that knows how to adapt itself based on user tendencies and preferences.

One good example is how they took into account a long-standing issue that has always sparked controversy: the balance between security and productivity.

They argued that security teams focus on blocking capabilities and reducing access to limit risk, and users create workarounds or ignore policies to get their jobs done.

In the long run, this doesn’t sound like a very sustainable way of handling things. That is why Microsoft decided that it was time to take a step in another direction.

Safe Documents and Application Guard are now in public preview

In a recent post on their official website, Microsoft announced that two new security-oriented features will be hitting live:

According to Microsoft:

[The features] will help organizations stay both secure and productive at the same time. The power of these capabilities comes from the seamless integration between Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus, and Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).

Safe Documents

Based on Intelligent Security Graph technology, Safe Documents automatically checks the document against common risks and threat profiles before allowing to open.

More so, user productivity isn’t hindered since everything is done automatically. They won’t have to bother with confirmation messages and approvals.

In the end, this enhances user workflow and helps to keep the network more secure.

Application Guard 

This feature was first introduced in Microsoft Edge, and acted by creating a micro-VM that contained any possible threats within a safe space. This feature has now been expanded to work with Office 365 ProPlus.

Thanks to the micro-VM that it creates, it completely blocks access to all vital resources. These include memory, local storage, installed applications, corporate network endpoints, or any other resources of interest.

This, in turn, translates into users being able to safely open untrusted documents. The logic is that even if the documents are infected, nothing will be damaged anyway.

Both features help improve security in the long run

One common feature of both Safe Documents and Application Guard is that it connects to the Microsoft Security Center. This provides admins with advanced visibility and response capabilities including alerts, logs, confirmation the attack was contained.

Additionally, it gives them the ability to see and act on similar threats across the company.

As far as availability goes, Microsoft stated that both Safe Documents and Application Guard will be available to customers with Microsoft 365 E5 and E5 Security.

Of course, security wasn’t the only focus for Microsoft, since they also announced that the Public Preview of Fluid Frameworks is now available to all Office 365 enterprise users.

What do you think about these added protection features that Microsoft has rolled out? Let us know what you think by leaving a message in the comments section below.

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