Office 365 to get MDM capabilities baked in

Native MDM controls coming to Office 365 in 2015

Microsoft is building mobile device management (MDM) capabilities into Office 365, which will allow admins to set policies to control data usage across Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices.

MDM capabilities will roll out in Q1 2015, enabling policies to be set directly from the Office 365 administration panel. These will include the ability to require the use of a passcode, restrict copying/pasting of confidential Office 365 data to unauthorised applications on popular devices such as an iPad. 

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Admins will also be able to lockdown devices if they are lost or stolen and selectively wipe any business data from them.

"Users want access to all their important information, particularly email and office documents so they can be productivity everywhere," Julia White, general manager of Office 365 told delegates at TechEd Europe 2014.

"Since we've shipped the Office for iPad apps, we had a lot of feedback asking for people to be able to manage those apps and I'm thrilled that Intune will be uniquely able to manage [them].

"Using [Office 365] management you can set policies for how [iPad] apps can interact with corporate data."

White demonstrated how users will only be able to paste content into managed apps - but there aren't  any failsafes preventing rogue employees from taking screenshots or photos of sensitive information, so trust between employer and employees remains paramount.

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Another key security feature White was keen to highlight was the expansion of Microsoft Data Loss Prevention software to Office 365.

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IT admins will be able to see policy reports and provide additional security if necessary. For example, if credit card information is being shared via email, an employee will get a prompt warning them confidential information is about to be sent. Should they choose to continue with the message, rights protection can come into force and prevent the recipient from forwarding the message or printing it out.

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