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Microsoft Office 365 Gets MDM Boost

Mobile device management becomes generally available in Office 365 to meet growing need for secure mobile productivity.
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Microsoft is announcing the general availability of mobile device management (MDM) capabilities for Office 365. Customers of all Office 365 commercial plans, including Enterprise, Business, Education, and Government, can receive the built-in MDM features at no additional cost.

The news arrives a few months after Microsoft brought built-in mobile device management to Office 365 in October 2014. Now, users can manage their access to data within Office 365 across phones and tablets running on iOS, Android, or Windows. 

Security plays a big role in the Office 365 MDM strategy, and Microsoft has implemented three key capabilities to help keep data secure. These include:

  • Device management: Management of multiple security policies, such as PIN lock and jailbreak detection, to protect corporate email and data from unauthorized users in the event a device is lost or stolen. Additional settings and reporting provide insight on who might be reading corporate information.

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  • Conditional access: The ability to manage security policies on devices that connect to Office 365. This ensures that email and documents kept throughout Office 365 are only accessible on phones and tablets that are managed by the business. Conditional access is only applicable to business applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to ensure simpler processes for administrators.
  • Selective wipe: The ability to remove corporate data stored in Office 365 from an employee device without affecting his or her personal information. Going forward, this will be critical for businesses adopting BYOD policies for phones and tablets.

Employees and corporations seeking further protection may subscribe to Microsoft Intune, a component of the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, which offers additional device management capabilities for phones, PCs, and tablets. Capabilities include the option to restrict actions, such as copy and paste, to applications solely managed by Intune to enhance security of business data.

"The pivot of managing Office via Intune is a big (and really proactive) step for the industry," wrote Microsoft corporate VP Brad Anderson in a blog post. "This enables the workforce to utilize the apps they love, while preventing data leakage -- and it empowers IT teams to constantly improve and streamline the services they deliver while maintaining strict security."

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