Microsoft Releases Security Guide For Office Apps - InformationWeek
Software // Enterprise Applications
02:47 PM
Connect Directly

Microsoft Releases Security Guide For Office Apps

The guide is a set of documents and software to help organizations secure one of the world's most popular set of applications.

At the TechEd IT Forum in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Microsoft introduced its 2007 Microsoft Office Security Guide, a set of documents and software to help organizations secure one of the world's most popular set of applications.

"We're seen the migration of attacks move from the operating system to the application layer," said Joshua Edwards, technical product manager for Microsoft Office, in an interview. "Historically, that has been a challenge for many organizations."

To meet that challenge, Microsoft has been working for months with government and industry customers to come up with realistic ways to make Microsoft Office as secure as possible.

"This is the first time that similar guidance and similar tools have been available for customers to manage the security settings in Office 2007," said Edwards. "In the past, the controls didn't exist to modify this through group policy."

The Microsoft Office Security Guide includes information and software to help defend Access 2007, Excel 2007, InfoPath 2007, Outlook 2007, PowerPoint 2007, and Word 2007, running on either Windows Vista or Windows XP SP2, against attack and to further the enforcement of corporate IT policy.

It includes: a Security Guide that describes recommended security settings for Office applications in an Enterprise Client (EC) environment, suitable for most companies, and in a Specialized Security -- Limited Functionality (SSLF) environment, for organizations where security is paramount, like the military; a Threats and Countermeasures reference that explores security settings for each Office application in detail; a Security Settings spreadsheet for easy reference; and GPOAccelerator software, which helps administrators deploy security settings across their organization.

SSLF environments might, for example, prevent Office applications from calling out across the Internet for clip art or help files, Edwards explained. "From a privacy standpoint, my desktop applications are not phoning out to the Internet," he said.

The downside is the "limited functionality" part of the bargain. But given the nature of cyber threats today, perhaps it's arguable that less is more when it comes to application features.

As Edwards sees it, there's value in helping customers help themselves. "[The Microsoft Office Security Guide] provides a lot of real-world guidance that doesn't have to be extensively tested by the customer," he said.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll