Compliance Search in Office 365 – Solving Half a Problem
Microsoft recently announced the availability of Compliance Search, a light weight search available via the Office 365 Compliance Center. Compliance Search can be used to find data in individual Exchange mailboxes, SharePoint sites, OneDrive for Business locations, and Skype for Business data that has been placed on hold in Exchange mailboxes. For advanced searches, a user must know Keyword Query Language, which may be a minus in terms of usability by authorized business and professional users.
As far as I can tell, the search facility will identify, based on your query, any or most of the fields in Exchange, such as Subject, Date, Category, BCC, etc. It also supports regular expressions such as a social security number, credit card number, etc.
I think this is a useful feature to help folks manage and control information that contains sensitive information. However, it does not address the problem of identifying and protecting organizationally defined confidential information that is text based as opposed to a regular expression. What to do then? First of all, we must delineate between sensitive information and confidential information. According to how Microsoft is using the term, any (I assume) regular expression is equal to sensitive information. Confidential information may or may not follow the same format but can also contain verbiage created by the organization to designate terms, phrases, names, that are to be classified as confidential and appropriately handled according to the designated procedures (for example, remove the terms from search, prevent content portability, secure the information).
There is all kinds of confidential information that an organization may want to protect such as, intellectual property, personnel records, acquisition or merger material, new product information, competitive information, client information, patents, and the list goes on. Although Compliance Search is initiated by an end user, the ideal environment is to identify confidential exposures as content is created or ingested. The majority of data breaches are caused internally, so the more proactive an organization can become on protecting confidential information their risk of a data breach diminishes significantly.
This is exactly what our products can do. In fact, it’s part of the technology, and not an add-in or additional product. The US Air Force, since deploying 9 years ago, hasn’t had a data breach. If you are concerned about security and protecting your intellectual property, or primarily to protect the organization from a data breach, let us know.