Thursday, December 2, 2021

Microsoft 365 compliance feature enhancements now available to US government customers

Microsoft 365 Compliance features continue to gain momentum in the GCC, GCC High and DoD clouds with customers. Today we are excited to announce broad range of new capabilities that were recently made available which further enrich the value we already have delivered. For additional information on Microsoft 365 compliance features available in US government clouds, go to:



Information Protection

Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) provides capabilities to help discover, classify, and protect sensitive information wherever it lives or travels. We are happy to announce general availability of additional premium MIP features recently available to US government customers.


  • Co-authoring on Microsoft Information Protection encrypted documents in Office Desktop: Microsoft Information Protection enables organizations to protect their most sensitive content using an integrated, unified, and intelligent approach including the ability to apply encryption to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents using sensitivity labels. Co-authoring on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents encrypted with Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels on Windows and Mac is now generally available to GCC, GCC High, and DoD customers. With this unique capability, multiple users can edit these documents in real-time with AutoSave, empowering teams to do their best work while maintaining protection across the document lifecycle. Learn more about enabling co-authoring for files encrypted with sensitivity labels and impact to the organization.
  • Customer Key for Microsoft 365: multi-workload encryption:  Data-at-rest encryption for Microsoft 365 provides Customer Key based encryption across multiple Microsoft 365 workloads. As an application-level encryption service, Customer Key support exists today for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business workloads in Microsoft's datacenters. We are extending Customer Key support to provide multi-workload encryption. Tenant administrators can configure a single data encryption policy using customer managed keys and assign it to the tenant. Once assigned, the tenant-level encryption policy starts encrypting all customer data for multiple M365 workloads. See a complete list of workloads here. This policy doesn't interfere with any finely tuned data encryption policies already assigned using Customer Key for Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.

Information Governance

Microsoft Information Governance manages information lifecycle and records intelligently with in-place management, automated policies, defensible disposal, and pre-built data connectors. We are excited to announce general availability of additional premium features recently available to US government customers.


  • Retention policies for Microsoft Teams private channels: With the volume of data increasing exponentially, we are proud to announce that customers can extend data governance capabilities and apply organization-wide retention policies to Microsoft Teams private channel messages. This feature is generally available to GCC, GCC High, and DoD customers. Customers can proactively comply with industry regulations and improve existing retention strategies by creating retention policies for messages sent in Teams private channels. Learn about retention for Microsoft Teams.
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 improvements: Within our solution UX, we’ve prioritized making our solution more inclusive and implemented changes to make content more accessible to end users. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) helps make products more accessible to users with disabilities. Learn about Web Content Accessibility.
  • Automatically apply retention labels based on sensitivity labels: We’ve expanded the ways that retention labels can automatically be applied to identify and label files based off the presence of a sensitivity label. This type of auto-apply label policy is configured using Keyword Query Language (KQL). Learn more about auto-applying retention labels using KQL.
  • File plan character limit increase: When using the file plan import feature, the maximum numbers of characters that can be entered into the customizable fields has been increased to better suit the variety of naming conventions used by our customers. Learn about File Plan import.
  • Improved ability to delete retention labels that mark items as records: Retention labels that mark items as records may now be deleted if they are not in use. Previously, this type of retention label could not be deleted. This change does not apply to retention labels that mark items as regulatory records (these continue to be prevented from deletion). Learn more about deleting retention labels.


Insider Risk Management


Microsoft 365 Insider Risk Management helps detect, identify, and act upon potential risks within your organization. There are multiple Insider Risk Management features now available in preview to licensed GCC, GCC High, and DoD customers. These features will help enable your organization to detect security violations performed on devices onboarded to your organization using Microsoft Defender for Endpoint alerts.


  • General security policy violations: In many organizations, users have permission to install software on their devices or to modify device settings to help with their tasks. Either inadvertently or with malicious intent, users may install malware or disable important security features that help protect information on their device or on your network resources. This policy template uses security alerts from Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to start scoring these activities and focus detection and alerts to this risk area. Learn more here.
  • Security policy violations by priority users: Protecting against security violations for users in your organization may depend on their position, level of access to sensitive information, or risk history. Because security violations by priority users may have a significant impact on your organization’s critical areas, this policy template starts scoring on these indicators and uses Microsoft Defender for Endpoint alerts to provide insights into security-related activities for these users. These activities may include the priority users installing malware or other potentially harmful applications and disabling security features on their devices. Learn more here.
  • Security policy violations by departing users: Departing users, whether leaving on positive or negative terms, may be higher risks for security policy violations. To help protect against inadvertent or malicious security violations for departing users, this policy template uses Defender for Endpoint alerts to provide insights into security-related activities. These activities include the user installing malware or other potentially harmful applications and disabling security features on their devices. By using either the Microsoft 365 HR connector or the option to automatically monitor for user account deletion in Azure Active Directory for your organization, this template starts scoring for risk indicators relating to these security activities and how they correlate with user employment status. Learn more here.


Get started today


Microsoft 365 compliance solutions offer many capabilities to help government organizations protect and govern sensitive data, identify and remediate risks, and help assess and monitor compliance and regulatory requirements. You can find more information on Microsoft 365 Security capabilities here.



As a specialist for Microsoft 365 security, compliance and identity solutions within our government-focused environments, you can connect with me here. Check out other Microsoft 365 compliance resources for US government below and use the Microsoft 365 Roadmap to track status of upcoming Microsoft 365 compliance features in GCC, GCC High and DoD environments.


Announcing Microsoft 365 Endpoint Data Loss Prevention public preview to US government customers.

UPDATE: This feature will be generally available this month (Dec CY21). For the latest status, go to Microsoft 365 Roadmap: Endpoint data loss prevention

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