As organisations become increasingly reliant on cloud technology to carry out key day-to-day business, the amount and complexity of data is naturally growing in tandem. Fortunately, Microsoft 365 is now fully-equipped with the tools to ensure your organistaion’s critical data can be kept secure and compliant.
Effectively managing data
There is so much critical information that businesses now need to stay on top of – no longer just good old-fashioned email and documents, but also a multitude of Teams chats, files shared in SharePoint sites and more. This growth in shared information is critical to collaboration, and is paying off with increased operational efficiency.
But it creates a new level of risk for organisations that need to keep up-to-date with ever-evolving industry regulations and internal policies that require content to be preserved for a certain amount of time.
Enterprises that effectively manage data can also minimise the threat of legal action against them, and reduce the chances of losing data in cyber security incidents, by permanently erasing legacy content that is no longer needed.
Microsoft has recognised the importance for organisations to protect their critical information, which is why it has made this a central tenet of its Microsoft 365 offering via the use of labelling and retention features.
Microsoft 365’s compliance features, bring enterprise-grade retention and deletion options directly into the platform. These actions help businesses tailor their retention settings to achieve a variety of different outcomes.
Retention means content can either be kept permanently, or for whatever length of time the business needs – whether through internal policies, or through requirements imposed by a regulator. Meanwhile, deletion allows an organisation to be sure it has deleted content for good, or for it be automatically erased after a certain amount of time that dictated by deletion policies. Meanwhile, a ‘retain and then delete’ approach enables content to be kept for a set period of time, after which it is permanently removed.
Because key files, documents, conversations and emails are retained in-place, Microsoft 365 also creates less of a cost burden in terms of storage, unlike legacy compliance platforms that might require retained items to be stored separately.
Retention policies and labels
By using retention policies and retention labels with label policies, users have the freedom to configure their retention settings to their specific requirements.
Retention policies mean automatically applying a given set of retention rules across all content in a particular site or team. You can also apply retention labels to specific items, such as important folders and documents, or Microsoft Teams conversations and emails that may need to be referred back to in future.
Retention labels can be used across a range of different content types that need certain retention settings to be in place. Common examples include tax forms that have to be kept for a for at least a specified period of time, employee records that must be deleted permanently a certain time after a colleague leaves, and work visas that have to be identified as a record so that they can’t be modified or removed.
Ultimately, retention labels can be automatically applied to content, provided it meets certain requirements when that content – such as an email attachment or document sent via Teams – contains the kind of sensitive data that Microsoft 365 is on the look-out for.
As the need to protect data grows, enterprises should take advantage of these retention tools to ensure their data is secured against accidental or deliberate sharing. Recent data breaches show that it’s more important than ever to ensure your vital business data is secure. If your organisation isn’t making the most of retention policies in M365, it’s time to think about the risk of doing nothing.
CompanyNet are experts in delivering enterprise compliance, retention and labelling and Data Loss Prevention on Microsoft 365. We’ve helped enterprise organisations across the UK take advantage of these tools. If you’d like to find out how we can help you, get in touch today.
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