Security tool keeps data safe across collaboration systems

Agencies moving sensitive and regulated data to cloud collaboration and file sharing platforms can add another layer of data protection for Microsoft SharePoint Online and Office 365.

CipherPoint, a developer of data security software, has unveiled Eclipse for SharePoint Online and Office 365, which prevents privileged IT administrators and outside attackers from accessing sensitive information.

The software lets agency security administrators identify, secure and audit access to sensitive and regulated data stored in cloud collaboration platforms. Moreover, they can encrypt data and control the encryption keys to ensure that administrators with other cloud service providers and external attackers cannot view or decrypt confidential information, CipherPoint’s CEO Mike Fleck, said during an interview.

To date, defense agencies and state governments tasked with securing health care information are the primary government users of the company’s data security software, he noted.

Agency managers are concerned about who can access information and what types of security controls are in place to protect data as they move more applications to the cloud, Fleck said. Although Microsoft has built-in security features to protect data in the cloud, the company cannot cover every security control, he noted.

CipherPoint gives organizations deeper visibility into their on-premise and cloud applications, the firm said For example, a single management console in  CipherPoint’s Data Security Suite lets authorized administrators monitor access to sensitive information across file servers, on-premise SharePoint, Office 365, SharePoint Online and other cloud collaboration systems . Using the software’s content scanning capabilities, authorized administrators can search through enterprise content stores and identify and report on abnormalities with sensitive or regulated content.

For its part, Microsoft officials describe Office 365 as a “security-hardened service” that has security features built into it. Office 365 is stored on IT systems in Microsoft data centers and access to those systems is strictly controlled via role-based access control and lock box processes. The networks within the Office 365 data centers are segmented to provide physical separation of critical back-end servers and storage devices from the public-facing interfaces.

Moreover, user data in Office 365 can be encrypted on storage media or in transit as it moves from a data center over a network to a user’s device. Users can also customize the security features of various components of Office 365, including Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Lync Online. Exchange Online contains data loss prevention technology that can alert administrators if an email message contains sensitive information such as social security or credit card numbers.

Last year, Microsoft unveiled Office 365 for Government, a multitenant service that stores U.S. government data in a segregated community cloud. A growing number of federal, state and local government agencies have moved to Office 365, including the Agriculture Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Aviation Administration; the states of New York and Texas; and the cities of Chicago, Kansas City, Mo., and Seattle.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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