Microsoft 365 update will block off an obvious security loophole

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Microsoft is readying an update for its office software suite that will extend an important security to its web applications.

As explained in a new entry to the Microsoft 365 product roadmap, starting in October 2022, Office for the web will adhere to admin policies preventing users from freely copying information to separate locations.

“Office for the web will begin respecting the Microsoft Purview Information Protection encryption setting that limits users’ ability to copy content to the clipboard,” the entry states.

Microsoft 365 security

With files shared liberally across and between organizations, sometimes with many hundreds of different parties, document management can become something of a security headache for businesses.

One way of ensuring sensitive information cannot be exfiltrated with ease is to combine a strict identity management policy with measures that stop data being transferred or copied into separate documents.

Until now, although Microsoft has offered such a policy setting for administrators, it did not extend to Office documents accessed via web applications, creating a weakness in the security armor.

Of course, the feature doesn’t stop someone from manually re-typing information into a separate document, if they have access to a file. But it does create a simple way of adding friction to the process.

The move to iron out the document management loophole is part of a broader campaign to make Microsoft 365 and Windows 11 the most secure platforms for remote and hybrid working, a priority for Microsoft.

Over the last few months, the firm has rolled out a number of changes, from the ability to automatically sign users out of apps after a period of inactivity, to a feature that stops Windows 11 users running certain files downloaded from the web.

Separately, Microsoft has expanded its antivirus offering to include a new version of Microsoft Defender for families and individual users. The application is designed to create an easy way to monitor security risk across all devices, including those running on macOS, iOS and Android.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.