If you subscribe to any of Microsoft’s cloud services, such as Office 365, then you’ll be pleased to know that a range of new security features is being added to them over the coming weeks.
OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud file synchronization service, is tightly integrated into Windows 10, allowing you to save files to a special folder that's automatically stored in the internet, and is accessible on any device that’s signed into your account.
Earlier this year, OneDrive got a new feature that allows OneDrive users to roll back their cloud storage account to any point in the last 30 days. It’s an incredibly useful feature, which could help you recover from a ransomware attack, for example, but it was originally only available for business users. Thankfully, Microsoft has now made that feature available to any OneDrive subscriber (we're chasing Microsoft to see if this feature will come to free OneDrive accounts as well).
To help further protect users’ files from ransomware, which are particularly nasty infections that encrypt your files so you can't access them until you’ve paid a fee, Microsoft is also adding a feature that will alert you if ransomware is detected in any files.
OneDrive is also getting the ability to password-protect shared links, so you can have more control over who has access to any files or folders you share with other people via OneDrive.
These are all very welcome additions that brings OneDrive more in line with its chief competitor, DropBox, which has had similar features for a while.
Office 365 updates
Office 365, which is Microsoft’s subscription-based, continually-updated version of its Office suite of applications, is also getting a useful update in the form of Microsoft’s real-time link checking feature.
This has been part of Microsoft’s Outlook.com email service for a while, and is coming to Word, Excel and PowerPoint later this year. This will automatically check any links in your documents, and alert you if the links go to malicious websites that contain malware or phishing scams.
While it would be pretty embarrassing for a link warning to pop up in the middle of a presentation, it means you can share your documents, or open documents from other people, without having to worry about any hidden nasties.
Finally, Microsoft is also adding new security and privacy features to the email service formerly known as Hotmail. In the upcoming weeks, Microsoft will be improving its end-to-end encryption feature, which will help make sure that the emails you send are only read by the people you send them to, no matter what email service or software they're using.
You can also create a one-time passcode for people to read the encrypted email in Outlook, and there will be an option that prevents people from forwarding on your encrypted email to other recipients.
Again, these are all very welcome features that show that Microsoft is serious about making its cloud services as feature-rich and secure as possible, and Microsoft’s blog on the updates goes into further detail.
However, it should be noted that these features are currently only going to be available to Office 365 subscribers. We don't currently know if they will be available to people using the free versions of Outlook.com or OneDrive, or the standalone version of Office, such as the upcoming Office 2019. Let's hope they are.
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