Microsoft updates enterprise suite with compliance, security and usability tools ahead of GDPR next May, while Teams replaces Skype for Business as main comms tool
Microsoft has introduced a raft of security and data visibility features to its Microsoft 365 suite, claiming they will help customers comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) when they come into effect in May 2018, alongside new communication tools that see Teams usurp Skype for Business.
Earlier this year, the company combined Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security into a single subscription-based package for enterprises and SMBs.
The idea is that this simplifies the management of IT systems and assets, something the new compliance tools hope to expand on.
Compliance Manager will give customers a real time risk assessment, providing a score that reflects an organisation’s performance against regulatory requirements, including GDPR, when using Microsoft’s cloud services.
Enhanced governance features will let customer identify and monitor sensitive data as its being created and to create events which will trigger a retention period, after which it is disposed of safely.
Microsoft will also offer Advanced Security Management services from its EU data centres and give users a choice of storing certain data within Europe on a per-user basis. There are also new tools to share encrypted emails with more people, even on consumer email services, along with the ability to manage own encryption keys.
There are also improved anti-phishing capabilities for Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).
“The GDPR is compelling every organisation to consider how they will respond to today’s security and compliance challenges,” said Alym Rayani, product manager for Office 365 Security, Compliance and Analytics.
“It may require significant changes to how your business gathers, uses and governs data.
“As a global company with hundreds of millions of customers around the globe, we are subject to many stringent regulations including the GDPR; and, understand the challenges you face. As your trusted partner, we are committed to going beyond our minimum responsibilities and always working on behalf of your best interests.”
The new compliance tools were detailed at the company’s Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, where it also revealed other features
Microsoft 365 F1 is a version of the suite for front line workers (such as those in direct contract with customers or in manufacturing), while Microsoft Education includes all three core components along with Minecraft: Education Edition.
AI and machine learning are applied for ‘intelligent search’ across a customer’s data, while LinkedIn data is to be added to Profile Cards.
Finally, Microsoft Teams – Redmond’s answer to Slack – will take a more prominent role in terms of communications. Features of Skype for Business will be incorporated into Teams for persistent chat, voice and video.
More than 35,000 customers are attending the annual event, during which Microsoft is also presenting its vision of the future of technology, powered by cloud, AI and mixed reality.
“Digital technology is impacting all aspects of our society and economies, creating unprecedented opportunity for organizations of all sizes,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.
“I’m optimistic and inspired by the ingenuity of customers, partners and developers everywhere that are pushing the frontiers of what’s possible with mixed reality and artificial intelligence infused across Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure, to transform and have impact in the world.”