Microsoft rights management solutions be it WRM or AD-RMS have been in my opinion for many years, a solution waiting for a problem; many organisations wanted to protect and control their documents and emails from being read or altered by recipients the content was not intended for, but the product lacked some important functionality, one of which was the ability to natively classify and label content (this was left to third parties). Their solutions also required a somewhat niche skillset and as a result the adoption of Microsoft’s rights management was slow.
Azure Information Protection (AIP) is a cloud-based solution that has addressed the challenges the on-premises solution had; as a solution it still protects documents, but it now also now natively enables an organisation to classify and label its documents and emails with the benefit of the on-premises complexities being reduced by moving the operation of the rights management service to the Azure platform.
Protect, Classify and Label.
The ability to protect a document, is how a content owner can restrict who has access to the content and what they can do with the document or its contents.
This can include the inability to edit the document, restrict who can print-it or in true “Mission Impossible” style, self-destruct (when the content expires).
The control can be controlled by the end user (ad-hoc).
or administratively on the portal via (classification and labelling).
Classification and Labels
The ability to label a document enables a document to be classified by the means of the label.
By selecting for example “Internal”, the document would be labelled and classified as internal and additional settings can be applied (in addition to rights management), such as a watermark, custom header or footer.
When I started this brief summary of AIP, I described the problem as procrustean and by this I meant, that when we have a problem we normally find the solution to the problem, yet AIP was a solution that needed a problem to solve.
In my opinion GDPR is one problem that needs a solution and AIP can form part of it.
May 25th, 2018, sees the start of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being enforced and this is where AIP can help in several areas, with the main one being that of “article 25. data protection by design and by default”.
AIP has a built-in capability to automatically protect documents that contain information in certain formats such as passport numbers, government issued information and credit card numbers.
This for me is the kind of problem that Microsoft’s rights management solutions were always intended to solve, the fact that AIP can also do automatic classification is a failsafe position for many organisations that need to collect and store personal information and when combined with content expiry too, it can be a very reassuring comfort blanket.
More AIP insights to follow…..