“Three lawyers in a room were less accurate than a room full of computers analyzing the same content.”
A powerful statement made during Ignite in an Office 365 management session. Previously, you'd have to go to your individual products to manage them, and somehow piece it all together. But that's changing. Office 365 is bringing your separate products together in a single platform where you can manage them as a whole.
In this article, I am going to explore Office 365 management features with the Compliance Center and why we need this today.
Reality demands we have Office 365 management capabilities
People work differently today, it’s not abnormal to see people use technology to complete work tasks.
Now take into account studies that have shown that our data will increase 44 times by 2020, but us in IT no more than 1.4 times.
We also know that devices are outnumbering people with 20B by 2020. Making it even more important to be able to have a good management story to tell for our organization.
I am not trying to scare you but, simply make you realize that there is more and more to manage and not necessarily more of us. People are forming expectations at work that things should run the same way as what they are used to in their personal lives and they will use them if they are not satisfied with what they are given.
Yes, with Office 365 you don’t have to worry about your servers anymore and that’s great, but the value goes beyond that in it's bringing what used to be separate products together and allowing us to manage them together.
Office 365 management is about giving you control over what happens on multiple workloads, seamlessly.
Some fun numbers shared during the session:
Whatever the reason to manage Office 365 and the workloads within it, industry regulations or business standards you have in place, efforts are being made to improve Office 365 management from the Admin center.
Keep a very close eye on your Office 365 Compliance Center
Normally, I’d be skeptical because Microsoft had announced the Compliance Center for Office 365 back at the SharePoint Conference in 2014 and to this day, what was shown there has not yet landed in our tenants.
I realize that for proper Office 365 management there are a lot of things to consider and not just what’s in the Compliance Center. However, it’s clear that they plan to bring more and more to it in the next year.
You won’t find these Office 365 management features under the SharePoint Admin Center or Exchange, but under a new section called Compliance Center. That’s because it works with all workloads, as it should.
There’s a lot shown in this Compliance Center above to manage your overall Office 365 experience. However, I may have stretched the truth a little. There are still some management features within each Admin Center. For example, you’ll find some new “Safe Links” options right within the Exchange settings. That’s usually for things that pertain only to a specific product.
The takeaway however, more and more will come to the Compliance Center as everything in Office 365 heads in the direction of “Unified Service”. First with the Office Graph for developers and now with the Office Management features.
The Future of Office 365 management and compliance
When they presented these new management features, they focused on different personas and what they’d want to check. From the decision maker to the compliance officer while including the IT Pro as well as the information worker. Everyone has a different idea on what they expect to see or how Office 365 should behave in this context.
What’s new and coming for Office 365 Management:
- Compliance Center
- Compliance Search (Recently announced by Microsoft)
- Automatic Archive Scaling
- Advanced Threat Protection
- Drive Shipping for O365
- O365 eDiscovery integrated with Equivio
- Auditing for AAD, Exchange, and SharePoint in O365
- Management Activity API for Audit feeds
- DLP in OneDrive
- DLP in Office 2016 clients
- Office 365 Device Protection now available in O365
The DLP or Data Loss Prevention upcoming releases make it very interesting for both those that need to ensure the security of the organization’s data but also the information workers themselves. It’s interesting because based on the rules and policies you put in, end users will see notifications right from whatever application they are using, including Office Web Apps.
So first, you set up your policies the way you want them to act and that’s not counting the many built-in policies you can check created by Microsoft for regulatory needs.
Then, based on what you put into place, the end users on different applications and even OneDrive for Business will get the appropriate notification about that.
My favorite upcoming feature however, and yes perhaps it does have something to do with the fact that our tool does Office 365 management, it’s the new Management Activity API.
Not only does it allow developers to build what they want in terms of app or feature with all the audit information available, but when combined with the Office Graph could lead into some very interesting new and innovative solutions.
The Office 365 Management story continues to grow and the portfolio keeps on getting bigger.
All of this was mentioned at Ignite, but not yet available in our tenants. As the weeks and months pass, we expect these new capabilities to come piece by piece for us and I’ll be sure to try them out to see how they work.