Microsoft 365: Microsoft Purview – Information protection – Sensitivity label – Enhancing Email Security with Sensitivity Labels in Microsoft 365: Preventing Email Forwarding – Data Governance
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In this article we are going to discuss about how Sensitivity Labels in Microsoft 365 can enhance email security by preventing email forwarding. It includes a real-world example, a step-by-step guide, and insights into visual markings, all aimed at improving data protection during email communication.
Key takeaways from this article
At the end of this article, we will understand
- Microsoft 365’s Sensitivity Labels boost email security by stopping email forwarding.
- The article illustrates this with a real-world scenario involving a compliance officer at a financial firm.
- It provides a detailed step-by-step guide on how to create and use Sensitivity Labels.
- You’ll discover the importance of visual markings in identifying confidential content.
- Applying Sensitivity Labels enhances data protection when sending emails.
- In today’s digital age, data security is paramount. With email being a primary mode of communication in most organizations, ensuring that sensitive information remains within the intended recipient’s hands is a critical concern.
- Microsoft 365 offers a powerful tool for achieving this: Sensitivity Labels.
- Sensitivity Labels in Microsoft 365 serve a dual purpose. They allow us to classify data based on its sensitivity or importance level and apply specific protection and encryption settings to ensure its secure handling.
- In this article, we will focus on creating Sensitivity Labels that prevent email forwarding, providing an extra layer of security to sensitive information during email communication.
Real-World Example: Enhancing Email Security with Sensitivity Labels
- Meet Sarah, a compliance officer at a financial services company.
- Her role involves handling sensitive financial reports and ensuring their security during email communications with clients.
- To safeguard this confidential data, her organization utilizes Sensitivity Labels in Microsoft 365 to prevent email forwarding.
- Imagine that Sarah needs to send a highly confidential financial report to a valued client.
- This report contains critical financial data that must remain confidential and only accessible to the intended recipient.
- Before composing the email, Sarah opens her email client and selects a Sensitivity Label her organization has configured, known as “Highly Confidential – No Forwarding.”
- This label is specifically designed to prevent email forwarding.
Composing the Email:
- Sarah proceeds to compose the email, attaching the financial report to the message.
- She includes all the necessary details and charts in the body of the email.
- After attaching the report, Sarah activates the “Highly Confidential – No Forwarding” label.
- This label carries encryption settings that restrict the recipient from forwarding the email.
Sending the Email:
- When Sarah sends the email, the Sensitivity Label automatically encrypts the message and its attachments.
- Even if someone intercepts the email, they won’t be able to read the content without the appropriate decryption key.
- The recipient, a senior executive at the client’s company, receives the email and attempts to forward it to a colleague.
- However, they are prompted to authenticate their identity, either through their email login or a one-time code.
- This additional layer of security ensures that only authorized individuals can access and view the sensitive information.
- Once authenticated, the recipient can access the financial report securely.
- The Sensitivity Label, “Highly Confidential – No Forwarding,” ensures that forwarding is disabled, and the confidential data remains within their control.
In this example, Sensitivity Labels are used to encrypt the email and prevent forwarding, adding an extra layer of security.
- This ensures that confidential financial data remains confidential and only accessible by the intended recipient, reducing the risk of data breaches during transit.
- Sensitivity Labels, along with encryption and access controls, enable organizations like Sarah’s to maintain the highest level of data security and compliance while communicating sensitive information with clients.
Understanding Sensitivity Labels:
- Sensitivity Labels are metadata tags that can be applied to documents, emails, and other types of content within Microsoft 365. They serve two primary functions:
- Data Classification: Sensitivity Labels allow data to be classified based on its sensitivity or importance. For instance, we can label content as “Confidential,” “Internal Use Only,” or “Public.”
- Data Protection: These labels empower us to enforce specific protection and encryption settings on labeled content, ensuring that it is treated appropriately in terms of security and compliance.
If you’re looking to explore Information Protection and Sensitivity Labels further, I recommend checking out the previous article through the provided link for an in-depth understanding –https://knowledge-junction.in/2023/10/10/microsoft-365-microsoft-purview-information-protection-sensitivity-label-securing-business-data-with-sensitivity-labels-and-information-protection-in-microsoft-365/
Creating Sensitivity Labels to Prevent Email Forwarding:
Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating Sensitivity Labels in Microsoft 365 that restrict email forwarding:
Step 1: Access the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center
We have the detailed article for navigate to Microsoft Purview compliance portal– Microsoft 365 – Navigate to Microsoft Purview compliance portal – https://knowledge-junction.in/2023/05/04/small-tricks-and-tips-microsoft-365-administration-microsoft-purview-portal-how-to-navigate/
- Begin by accessing the Microsoft Purview Compliance Portal at https://compliance.microsoft.com/homepage
Step 2: Create a New Sensitivity Label
- In the Compliance Center, we can navigate to Information Protection and select Sensitivity Labels.
- Find the option to create a new Sensitivity Label and click on it.
- Provide a clear and descriptive Name and Description for the Sensitivity Label.
Step 3: Configure Protection Settings
- Decisions made on the “Define the scope for this label” page determine where and how the label will be used in our organization.
- In the configuration process, we’ll reach a critical decision point. We will select “Apply or remove encryption” to prevent email forwarding.
- We will define the encryption settings that determine how encryption will be applied to labeled content, enhancing data security. We can specify who can decrypt the content.
- When setting up encryption settings for a sensitivity label, we have two choices:
- Assign Permissions now gives us control to specify which users have what access to content with the label. We have full authority over access rights.
- Let Users Assign Permissions allows users to decide on permissions when they apply the label, offering flexibility for collaboration within our organization.
- To allow users to assign permissions when applying a sensitivity label:
- In Outlook, users can choose restrictions like Do Not Forward or Encrypt-only for specific recipients.
- If you choose “Do Not Forward” as the restriction for users applying a sensitivity label in Outlook, this means that after labeling, the content cannot be forwarded to others.
- When communicating this to your users, you can inform them that selecting “Do Not Forward” will prevent the recipients from forwarding the labeled content to others. This helps maintain a higher level of control over the distribution of sensitive information.
Step 4: Define Visual Markings
Fig. Customized the header text, Font size, color and Align text.
- Visual elements like watermarks and labels are like quick visual signals in Microsoft Purview Information Protection.
- They make it easy to see if content is highly confidential, for internal use, or public. It’s a simple way to know how to handle the information.
- These markings help users follow the organization’s data protection rules more effectively. They ensure that sensitive data is treated securely and in line with policies.
- If our label includes specific sensitive information types in the conditions we configure, we’ll get the choice to automatically create an auto-labelling policy with the same settings when we finish creating or editing the label.
- However, if we rely solely on trainable classifiers in our conditions, automatic creation of an auto-labelling policy won’t be available.
- When we use both trainable classifiers and sensitivity information types as conditions, an auto-labelling policy will be created, but it will only apply to the sensitive information types within the label.
- Review all our label settings to ensure they align with our organization’s security and compliance requirements.
- Once we’re satisfied, click on Create label to create the label.
Step 5: Create Label Policies
- We’ll access the Label policies section within the Microsoft Purview Compliance Portal.
- If you need guidance on publishing the label, I have an article that provides detailed instructions. You can check it out by following the link provided below- https://knowledge-junction.in/2023/10/11/microsoft-365-microsoft-purview-information-protection-sensitivity-label-securing-email-communication-with-information-protection-sensitivity-labels-a-step-by-step-guid/
Step 6: Deploy the Sensitivity Labels
- We will deploy the Sensitivity Labels we’ve created across our organization. We will encourage all users to apply these labels when sending sensitive information via email.
Applying Sensitivity Labels to Prevent Email Forwarding:
Preventing email forwarding with Sensitivity Labels is a straightforward process. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Compose Your Email
- Open our email client, such as Outlook, and start composing our email message as usual.
Step 2: Locate the Sensitivity Label Option
- In the email composition window, locate the option related to sensitivity labels. The location of this option may vary depending on our email client and configuration.
Step 3: Choose the Sensitivity Label
- Select the Sensitivity label specifically designed to restrict email forwarding, for example, “Do Not Share”
Step 4: Review and Confirm
- Before sending our email, review its content to ensure it aligns with the chosen label.
Step 5: Send the Email
- Click the “Send” button to send the email.
Step 6: Protection and Encryption
- Depending on our organization’s configuration, the applied Sensitivity Label may trigger encryption settings, preventing email forwarding.
Step 7: Recipient Access
- The recipient will receive the email with the applied Sensitivity Label. Depending on the label’s settings, they may need to authenticate or meet specific criteria to access and view the email’s content securely.
- By creating and applying Sensitivity Labels that restrict email forwarding, we can significantly enhance email security within our organization. This approach ensures that sensitive information remains confidential, reduces the risk of data breaches, and helps maintain compliance with data protection policies.
In conclusion, data security is a shared responsibility, and Sensitivity Labels are a powerful tool in our arsenal to protect sensitive information. By following the steps outlined in this guide, we can take significant strides toward enhancing our organization’s email security.
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Thank you for reading, and I wish you a secure and productive day!