Anita Fritz

GDPR Compliance when Managing Documents and Emails in Office 365

The Data Loss Prevention (DLP) feature that comes with Office 365 can really assist when you are managing documents and emails in SharePoint Online and you need to comply with the European GDPR and similar Privacy regulations. 

DLP automates the detection of documents and emails that contain sensitive information that needs to remain private – i.e. not be disclosed to someone outside the organization.  Examples of such data are Bank Account Numbers, Credit Card Numbers, Passport Numbers, Medical Record Numbers, Tax File Numbers and the like.  If such details are in a document that is attached to an email addressed to an external user, the email will automatically be blocked from being sent. This block will happen even if the document is stored as a DOCX in SharePoint Online and converted to PDF after it is retrieved from SharePoint Online.

DLP is an Office 365 feature, so it applies to OneDrive for Business and Exchange Online, as well as to SharePoint Online. The DLP feature has built-in awareness of the types of Financial, Medical / Health and Personal sensitive information that are relevant to a range of countries (including Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UK and US).  An organization can streamline the creation of its DLP policies by using pre-defined templates (e.g. the European General Data Protection Regulation) or define their own custom DLP policies.  The actions associated with each policy can be to block sending to persons outside the organization and / or to alert persons within the organization as the existence of documents containing sensitive information.

Office 365 provides the access-from-anywhere / any device cloud-based platform and its DLP feature facilitates compliance with Privacy regulations. These are good foundations for an effective solution for the management of an organization’s document and emails.  However many end-users are frustrated with the OOB user interface that Microsoft provides for working with documents and emails stored in SharePoint Online. Reported frustrations include:

  • difficult to visualize and navigate the structure of the SharePoint Online document store
  • saving of emails is very clumsy compared to saving an email to a private or public folder by drag and drop
  • to search for documents or emails you need to jump out of familiar applications like Outlook, Word, etc into the web browser

MacroView DMF is a good way to address these frustrations. MacroView DMF dramatically improves the experience for users who are trying to manage documents and emails in SharePoint (Online and on-premises) and OneDrive for Business:

  • MacroView provides an accurate and comprehensive tree-view of the structure of a SharePoint-based document store, which makes SharePoint feel as familiar as a folder tree in Windows.
  • MacroView supports drag and drop saving of one or multiple emails to any area of SharePoint where you have permission and also supports automatic filing of both incoming and outgoing emails.
  • MacroView users can search for documents and emails based on metadata and content while they continue to work in familiar applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe.

A good example of the improved ease-of-use that MacroView provides is the 60% reduction in keystrokes (compared to using the OOB SharePoint UI) required to find a document, retrieve it from SharePoint Online and insert it as an attachment in a new Outlook email.

Combining MacroView DMF with Office 365 and DLP enables document and email management solutions that are effective AND popular with users.