Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


05:45 PM
Connect Directly

Microsoft's Records Management Tool Aims to Simplify Data Governance

Records Management is intended to help businesses manage security and data governance as more struggle to handle increased amounts of data and regulatory requirements.

Microsoft today announced the general availability of Records Management in Microsoft 365, a new tool built to help businesses protect and manage sensitive data. Many struggle to create strong security, privacy, and risk capabilities, especially as the pandemic shifts operations.

A new Harvard Business Review research report, commissioned by Microsoft, found 77% of organizations believe an effective security, risk, and compliance strategy is essential, but 61% face challenges in creating one. More than half (53%) have not developed a strong, business-wide data governance approach. The majority (82%) say protecting information has grown increasingly difficult due to new risks and complexities brought on by digital transformation.

"With many employees working remotely right now, one of the things we hear is security and risk management are arguably more important than ever," says Alym Rayani, senior director at Microsoft 365. TheHBR survey was conducted before the coronavirus pandemic, he notes, but its data is just as important at a time when businesses are relying on remote employees. 

A higher volume of information, transmitted through and stored in multiple collaboration systems, drives complexity for managing records with cost and risk implications. Companies facing increasing regulations often move data into different systems of record to comply. This can increase the risk of missing records or not properly declaring them, he says in a blog post.

Records Management, now accessible via the compliance center in Microsoft 365, aims to help ease the challenges of classifying, managing, and protecting critical data. Employees can use it to classify, retain, review, dispose of, and manage content while ensuring it remains protected.

"As customers move to the cloud and they're collaborating more, they need the ability to manage those records in a modern way," Rayani explains. This tool builds data life cycle management into a platform that companies are already using, and it helps them handle growing amounts of data as it scales.

Organizations using a separate tool for records management, as many do, are required to learn the ins and outs of an entirely different system. Microsoft hopes to eliminate this challenge with Records Management. "We built it right into the productivity stack so it's part of existing workflows," Rayani says.

Collaborators on a record can unlock and relock the file as needed, and view which versions of the file are saved as a record and which are not. This is important, Rayani notes, as some regulatory requirements mandate files are officially saved as records.

For example, consider your team is working to edit a contract. Because of the retention policies built into Records Management, a group of people can co-author and collaborate on a file that has been declared a record, using their mobile devices if necessary. The disposition process has been natively built into SharePoint and Outlook, tools that most employees already use daily.

The tool also comes with records versioning, which makes it easier for collaborators to track edits on a document. Members can unlock a document with a record label to make changes, with all records retained and an audit trail maintained. Records Management also lets users obtain proof of disposal, so they can see all content automatically disposed as part of a record label. This helps with defensibility, especially in meeting legal and regulatory requirements.

As data stores grow, Records Management aims to keep up by automatically classifying data. "Trainable classifiers" enable the classification engine to recognize data; once you create a record or retention label, you can apply that label to all content that matches a previously defined trainable classifier. Let's say you want to retain tax records for seven years, and records containing specific types of data are classified as tax records. The tool will recognize which records are tax records and classify them to be retained for seven years. 

"There's a lot of flexibility here," Rayani notes. "We support almost 100 sets of information types you can use as dependencies for classification … so really the customer chooses." Employees can keep track of templates and define how they want to classify certain records.

Related Content:

A listing of free products and services compiled for Dark Reading by Omdia analysts to help meet the challenges of COVID-19. 

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
Mobile App Fraud Jumped in Q1 as Attackers Pivot from Browsers
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  7/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Django Two-Factor Authentication before 1.12, stores the user's password in clear text in the user session (base64-encoded). The password is stored in the session when the user submits their username and password, and is removed once they complete authentication by entering a two-factor authenticati...
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
In Bareos Director less than or equal to 16.2.10, 17.2.9, 18.2.8, and 19.2.7, a heap overflow allows a malicious client to corrupt the director's memory via oversized digest strings sent during initialization of a verify job. Disabling verify jobs mitigates the problem. This issue is also patched in...
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Bareos before version 19.2.8 and earlier allows a malicious client to communicate with the director without knowledge of the shared secret if the director allows client initiated connection and connects to the client itself. The malicious client can replay the Bareos director's cram-md5 challenge to...
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
osquery before version 4.4.0 enables a priviledge escalation vulnerability. If a Window system is configured with a PATH that contains a user-writable directory then a local user may write a zlib1.dll DLL, which osquery will attempt to load. Since osquery runs with elevated privileges this enables l...
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in the Admin Reports functionality of Glacies IceHRM v26.6.0.OS (Commit bb274de1751ffb9d09482fd2538f9950a94c510a) . A specially crafted HTTP request can cause SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger this vulnerabi...