How many documents does your business create on a daily basis? It can really add up once you start counting all the word processing and spreadsheet files, marketing files, and emails.

The average office worker sends about 40 emails per day, and that’s just one form of content.

Data security is vital to mitigating a costly data breach and compliance violation. This means you need to secure all those thousands (or millions) of files that your staff continues to generate each year.

Many companies use a managed IT services plan that includes network and device level safeguards. This is important for the prevention large breaches and keeping hackers from exploiting system vulnerabilities.

But, another type of data breach is due to data leakage, which is often accidental. This is when a sensitive file is shared with one or more parties that are not authorized to see it.

An example of this would be if someone accidentally emailed a file that was for “internal use only” because it contained customer credit card numbers, to a vendor outside the company.

So, how do you control your information on a document level?

Microsoft has made this possible with the use of sensitivity labels.

How Can We Use Sensitivity Labels in Office 365?

Sensitivity labels give you a way to tag all your content and through that tag apply certain document protection policies.

You can use sensitivity labels to protect:

  • Outlook Emails
  • Word documents
  • Excel documents
  • PowerPoint documents

Sensitivity labels are persistent, which means they’ll stay with the document throughout the Office 365 platform, including when being saved in OneDrive or SharePoint.

The sensitivity labels and their security policies will also follow documents to multiple third-party platforms, such as Dropbox, Salesforce, and Box.

How are sensitivity labels applied?

Sensitivity labels can be applied to documents, including emails, in several ways:

  • Manually by the user
  • Automatically based upon content keywords
  • Through a default setting that an administrator can change later

The platform also includes a way to suggest a label to a user based upon document content and the ability to add a help page that explains your labeling policy to your users.

Here is helpful overview chart from Microsoft’s page.

Here are the steps you can take to implement sensitivity labels in Office 365 to keep your documents organized and secured.

Set Up Sensitivity Labels

In Microsoft 365 Business or Office 365 Business Premium, go to your admin center and select “Compliance.”

Select “Classification > Sensitivity labels.”

In this area, you’re going to create labels including:

  • Label name
  • Tooltip
  • Description
  • Security policy (permissions, markup, auto labeling, etc.)

You have complete customization over your sensitivity labels.

For example, you could set up a simple label structure, such as:

  • Public
  • Internal Use Only
  • Confidential

You can also use sensitivity labels not only for security, but for tracking document use as well, and get a little more robust in document organization. Such as:

  • Public-Marketing
  • Public-Other
  • Client Specific
  • Employee HR Documents
  • Internal Use Only
  • Department Specific
  • Highly Sensitive

Take your time to decide how you want to use the labels and what types of protections you need.

Apply Your Document Protections

There are several things you can do with sensitivity label policies and you can also apply multiple policies to the same label.

Here are some of the document security protections you can choose from:

  • Encryption: You can encrypt documents, including emails, based on their sensitivity label. You can also use encryption to time limit when content can be read and to restrict access to specific groups only.
  • Content Markup: Make a security policy for a document stand out by adding a watermark, header, or footer. You can choose the text that displays and use something like “Protected: Copying Prohibited.”
  • Apply Document Restrictions: Protect content by applying restrictions such as “do not share” and “do not copy.” These protections can also prevent a document from being posted on social media platforms by mobile devices.

Decide How Sensitivity Labels Will Be Applied

In order for a document protection system like sensitivity labels to be successful, you need to ensure every document and email created by your team includes a sensitivity label.

You can do this in a few ways:

  • Require sensitivity labels on documents
  • Have employees assign the label and give them labeling instructions
  • Apply a default sensitivity label on all created content that can be edited later
  • Set up automatic labeling based upon document content

You’ll also want to apply a setting that requires justification for changing a label, so labels aren’t changed to a lower protection than they should be. This will also ensure your admin is aware of any document label changes.

Improve Your Document Security in Office 365

Sensitivity labels can significantly increase your document security in Office 365 as well as compatible third-party platforms. Need help getting started? NetCare experts are here to help!

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Call (02) 9114 9920 or reach out online.