Ryan Hemmel, ProSearch: How to Manage Encrypted Data in Microsoft 365 Discovery

Extract from Ryan Hemmel’s article “How to Manage Encrypted Data in Microsoft 365 Discovery”

With cyberattacks on the rise, in addition to a growing body of global privacy regulations, corporations are increasingly looking to encryption technologies to protect their most sensitive data. According to a Ponemon Institute study on 2021 Global Encryption Trends, 50% of respondents indicated that their company had an encryption plan or strategy that was applied consistently across the enterprise as of fiscal year 2021, up from just 37% in FY2015. In that same study, 60% of those surveyed said that their organizations were transferring sensitive and/or confidential data to the cloud.

Microsoft 365 provides several different ways for organizations to protect that data. In doing so, however, organizations should be cognizant of the downstream effects of encryption on their compliance and e-discovery workflows.

Encryption in Microsoft 365

The ability to encrypt sensitive data in Microsoft 365 generally falls under the umbrella of Microsoft Information Protection. Encryption can be applied via sensitivity labels, the Azure Information Protection client, Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) and SharePoint Information Rights Management (IRM), among other options.

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