Microsoft are taking your security very seriously these days. On December 10th, a post on the Office blog announced a new resource for Office 365 admins concerned about managing security and compliance: the new Office 365 Protection Center.
If you’re thinking that this name sounds strangely familiar, that’s because it is. The Protection Center replaces the Compliance Center which, for enterprise users of Office 365, is the place where you manage compliance in Office 365, Exchange Online, and SharePoint Online.
Now, a name change can be a good thing; you might not know Google used to be called Backrub for instance (you’d probably agree that move was a good one). However, the Protection Center is much more than a rebranding exercise and – as the new name suggests – incorporates a wider breadth of services and tools than pure compliance.
You can delve right into the Protection Center here and sign in with your professional Office 365 account.
So what exactly is it, and what can you do with it?
3 Significant New Security Features in Office 365
The first important thing to know about the Protection Center is that it incorporates three significant new features. More are likely to be added over time too, so watch the Office blog for updates (although they’ll automatically be fed through to you via Office 365 in any case).
Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection
Email hacks and spam are getting increasingly sophisticated, and so is Microsoft’s approach to fighting them. You’ll get protection against unknown malware and viruses, real time protection against malicious URLs, and rich reporting and URL trace capabilities.
Data loss prevention in ODFB, SP Online, and Office 2016
Data loss prevention is all about protecting your information wherever it’s stored, and however it’s moved and shared. Microsoft is constantly rolling out new features to prevent data loss, and giving you the power to control how your users work with their data.
Built-in Mobile Device Management feature
Microsoft has made no secret of its view that mobile working is the future. Mobile Device Management is therefore a must for commercial versions of Office 365. The feature was actually released last March, and it lets you and your administrators control for Conditional Access, Device Management, and Selective Wipe, among other features.
So, the Office 365 Protection Center is going to draw all these different security, compliance, and data protection tools into one simple hub. That’s pretty cool, and should make your life easier when trying to keep your users in order.
What Else Can You Expect from the Office 365 Protection Center?
You might say, “so what?” Well, hold your horses, there’s more to the Office 365 Protection Center than the bringing together of existing security tools. Microsoft has also attempted to make the environment a lot more intuitive, user friendly, and helpful. Let’s see what they’ve done.
A better User Experience (UX)
Presuming you currently use the Office 365 Compliance Center, you’ll certainly notice some differences in the Protection Center’s UX. We agree with Microsoft that it’s a lot more intuitive, informative, scalable and insightful.
Having played around with it a little ourselves, we simply found it a lot easier to find the things we were looking for. Say, for instance, you want more information about data management. There’s a neat little drop down menu which takes you directly to what you're looking for. That’s a lot less complicated than it was in the past.
A new navigation panel
As the purpose of the Protection Center is larger than that of the Compliance center, it naturally includes more features. Nonetheless, the Protection Center team has done a good job of making the interface easier to navigate by means of a smoother navigation panel.
The navigation pain now includes the following features:
Permissions: A central place for you to grant permissions to people who perform compliance tasks.
Security Policies: A place for you to set up policies for issues like data loss and mobile management.
Data management: This feature will let you set rules for how emails and inboxes are archived and information is managed.
Search and investigation: With a cloud based environment, you need to be able to search for content and review user activity; this feature lets you do just that.
Reports: Who doesn’t love a good Office 365 report? You’ll be able to use this feature to explore activity, such as sign-ins to the various products the Protection Center covers.
Gain Full Control of Office 365
From what we can tell, the Office 365 Protection Center is all about returning control to you, and simplifying the process of managing security in Office 365. The new interface will make it much easier for you to create reports, find information, and implement security, and having all this in one place will help you cut out confusion.
We think the Office 365 Protection Center is a welcome move and would encourage you to explore how your company can benefit from it.