Enterprise Mobility Information Protection

Creating New Sensitivity Labels with a PowerShell

Read Time: 3 minutes

Sensitivity Labels can be used to apply the information security classification for your organization to files & emails (and other areas) within Microsoft 365. Specifically to files inside of SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and all of your emails in Exchange.

Sensitivity Labels are created and managed within the Compliance Center in M365 and are available to both M365 E3 and M365 E5 licensed organizations.

One of the key advantages to using Sensitivity Labels over legacy methods to apply a classification is the label is not merely metadata, but we can automate and enforce classification standards on our files & emails.

We can use the user friendly user-interface in the Compliance Center, or we can build our own PowerShell script which will allow us to add configuration items otherwise not available to us. In additional to gaining access to additional features (e.g., providing a multilingual experience), PowerShell scripts allow us to build and test our Sensitivity Labels deployment in a structured and repeatable method. This reduces risk as it removes opportunity for human error and ensures the staging environment deployment will be identically deployed in our production environment.

1. PowerShell Pre-requisites

In order to create and configure our Sensitivity Labels, we need to install the Exchange Online Management Shell if we don’t have it using PowerShell ISE (Run as Admin).

Import-Module ExchangeOnlineManagement

2. Connect to the Security & Compliance PowerShell

Using Exchange Online Management module, we must connect to the Security & Compliance PowerShell.


3. Create the Label

In order to create the Label at its most basic level, we will run the New-Label command, and identify three (3) fields for the label

  1. DisplayName: The display name is what is seen by end users and can be updated based on business needs (in the event it must)
  2. Name: The name cannot be changed and is generally considered to be a unique value in your tenant. The name is what will be displayed in the Audit Log and various administrative consoles.
  3. ToolTip: The tool tip field should include language which communicates the sensitivity of the file which has the applied label.

In this case, we will create a label called “public” with an identical display name and a description of whom the file can be distributed to.

New-Label -DisplayName "Public" -Name "Public" -ToolTip "This content can be freely shared with the public."

With that simple line we created a Sensitivity Label which can be furthered configured from the Compliance Centre or with the Set-Label command.

Now that we have created the label, we will use PowerShell to apply the following (in future posts):

  • Multilingual Support
  • File & Email settings
    • Header, footer, and watermark markings
    • Encryption Settings
    • Default Share and Permissions Scope
  • Groups & Sites settings
    • Public and Private options for MS Teams membership
    • external access

Following completion of configuring our labels, we will create a Sensitivity Label Policy (or two).

Enterprise Mobility Information Protection

Co-authoring with MIP Encrypted Document

Read Time: 2 minutes

Co-authoring on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint document which are encrypted using Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) is now generally available.

This enhancement allows organizations various improvements, like the end-user productivity of collaboration on sensitive documents, or adding to their security posture overall, by encrypting a larger portion of their sensitive documents without restricting co-authoring.

Specifically, the change allows for MIP Protected files to be encrypted to specific end-users, while allowing them to edit the documents with their applications, as they would any other file.

Organizational Change Management

Co-authoring MIP encrypted files provides a benefit to the end-users, as such it should be communicated with them to understand how it is for their benefit, for the organization to realize the value of the feature.

For example, end-users can now share “need-to-know” files with specific individuals in an appropriate information repository, and collaborate on the document as they would any other document. They can rest assured their file is appropriately protected, while storing the file where it should reside, as opposed to using unauthorized or transitory workspaces such as OneDrive.

Technical Preparation

  1. Ensure Office has the latest updates deployed (either Current Channel or Monthly Enterprise Channel)
  2. Update any Azure Information Protection (AIP) unified labeling clients (version
  3. Enable the feature within the Compliance Center (Compliance Center)

Additional Reading

    Identity and Access

    Extend Audit Log Retention From 1 Year to 10

    Read Time: 2 minutes

    Advanced Audit in Microsoft allows retention of the Unified Audit Log for a period of 10 years.

    Audit logs. We need them for investigation and compliance purposes, and we generally need them for a very long time (e.g. 10 years). Up to recently, we did not have much flexibility.

    Very recently announced is the Advanced Audit in Microsoft 365 services. There are two key takeaways:

    • Advanced Audit in Microsoft 365 will provide a one-year retention period of audit logs for user and admin activities, with the ability to create custom retention policies for other Microsoft 365 services
    • An additional add-on (at additional cost) will provide the ability to enable a retention period of 10 years.

    Required Licensing

    Accounts with any of the following licenses can be included in Advanced Audit capabilities:

    • Office 365 E5
    • Microsoft 365 E5
    • Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance
    • Microsoft 365 eDiscovery and Audit

    As mentioned above, an additional licence is required to extend and ensure retention of audit logs for 10 years. The additional license is expected to be available early this year (2021).

    High-bandwidth API Access

    Large organizations may notice an improvement in performance when using the audit log API. Every organization will have allocated bandwidth for accessing their audit log based on the number of seats (licensed users) and number of E5 licenses.

    Key Benefits of the Advanced Audit Log

    • A standard retention term of 1 year for all auditable activities
    • The ability to extend retention of audit logs for 10 years without having to manage an additional service or application (e.g. Sentinel or Splunk) strictly for long term storage of all activity logs for compliance/policy purposes
    • Improved bandwidth for accessing the Audit Log via API.


    Thank you for Reading

    Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out.

      Enterprise Mobility Information Protection

      Getting Started with Sensitivity Labels for Files and Emails

      Read Time: 3 minutes

      All information is not equal.

      Some documents or emails have private financial or health information and others have plans for lunch.

      Sensitivity Labels within Microsoft 365 provides end-users the ability to classify their documents and emails to ensure a certain level of information protection to both their and the organization’s content.

      Sensitivity Labels for files and emails allow staff to identify specific documents as more or less sensitive than others.

      For example, a briefing note to senior leadership could be tagged as ‘confidential’, which would then add a “confidential” watermark added to the document and restrict it from being shared externally. Compliance officers would also be able to filter reports on documents marked as confidential.

      Applying labels is easy.

      Once Sensitivity Labels are created and published, individuals can choose to tag content directly within the application, providing them a seamless and low friction experience.

      Emails can be tagged with their “sensitivity” when being drafted, and documents anytime they are opened. These features are available in both the installed applications and online browser based versions.

      Sensitivity Labels allow individuals to mark files and emails with both different controls (e.g. allow internal access only) or using an existing information classification adopted or published by the organization (e.g. Protected A).

      Options for controls are:

      • restrict/provide access to appropriate roles (and individuals)
      • create a watermarks, header, and/or footer on the document to communicate the document’s sensitivity.

      Planning Sensitivity Labels

      When planning Sensitivity Labels, it is important to consider certain key factors to ensure successful implementation and adoption.

      • Align to existing information security classification schemas where available
      • Leverage a cross-functional team to build the label business and technical requirements
      • A clear and concise set of details will ensure labels are used correctly, rather than providing too many options with language requiring a reference guide or training course
      • Ensure alignment, approval from all key stakeholders (not just IT or Cybersecurity), Sensitivity Labels can mark documents (potentially impacting existing templates) and more importantly can effect the ability to collaborate (restricting documents to internal only or subsets of internal users).


      • Pilot the labels with a small group and collect feedback prior to implementation
      • If introduced into an active environment, consider a phased approach – avoid restricting access in bulk to focus on training and adoption, to build a cultural practice within the organization without impacting day-to-day activities


      Learn about Sensitivity labels (Microsoft Docs)

      Thank you for Reading

      Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out.

        Enterprise Mobility

        Starting BYOD using Microsoft 365

        Read Time: 3 minutes

        Bring Your Own Device

        We want staff to work comfortably and provide flexibility. We also want to ensure it is within a secure and well managed ecosystem. The more appropriate flexibility we provide, the more our users will happily adhere to both required standards and recommended practices.

        Using Microsoft Enterprise Mobility allows us to support a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program within your organization which allows end-users to:

        • Use devices they like to use and already are comfortable with to access corporate cloud data – safely and securely
        • enforce access to devices which meet a minimum compliance level as defined by your organization (e.g. support operating system, device encryption, remote wipe, etc.)
        • Reduce spend on IT asset and asset support
        • Exclude devices not approved by your organizations (Hint – this also significantly cuts down on access from malicious agents).

        The two major Microsoft 365 (M365) services to implementing a successful BYOD program are Microsoft Intune and Azure Conditional Access.

        Microsoft Intune

        Using Intune, we can create device compliance policies to ensure devices meet specific standards. For example:

        • what operating systems and versions are authorized for access
        • require device encryption requiring a pin on boot and access
        • restrict devices which are rooted or jail broken.

        Intune supports iOS/iPadOS, Android, Windows, and macOS. From an operational perspective, a unified solution for managing devices greatly simplifies processes for IT Operations teams. Interoperability with other Microsoft services, such as Defender help to provide unparalleled capabilities to harden and protect the devices due to the integration of tools and unified system for accounts and access.

        Intune also reduces the burden on IT Operations teams for registered devices as it provides the ability for staff to self-enroll compliant devices.

        Azure AD Conditional Access

        Conditional Access helps enforce specific rules, for example ensures only Intune registered mobile devices can connect to your M365 tenant.

        Conditional Access also helps enforce rules using different signals. Signals include:

        • User or group membership
        • IP Location information
        • Device
        • Application
        • Real-time and calculated risk detection.

        Based on signals, Conditional Access will apply action to block or grant access. Granting access can also require one or more of the following options:

        • Require multi-factor authentication
        • Require device to be marked as compliant
        • Require Hybrid Azure AD joined device
        • Require approved client app
        • Require app protection policy

        Common behaviours with Conditional Access include:

        • Requiring trusted locations for Azure Multi-Factor Authentication registration
        • Restricting the use of apps on mobile devices to organization-managed devices
        • Blocking risky sign-in behaviours (e.g. authentication requests from different countries.)


        In closing, using Microsoft Intune with Microsoft Azure Conditional Access, an organization can:

        • register and manage devices (phone, tablet, computer) for compliance and defining standards
        • define requirements for accessing the organization’s M365 tenant
        • Improve employee satisfaction by letting them use the devices they want to use (and not carry additional devices)
        • Enhance productivity by enabling staff to work from anywhere, anytime, providing more flexibility and better overall engagement on a day to day basis.
        • Reduce resources required for IT asset and device management, allows IT Operations to focus on more complex and challenging tasks.

        Resources –

        • Azure AD Conditional Access (link)
        • Microsoft Intune (link)

        Thanks for reading.

        If you have any questions or would like to know more, please feel free to connect with me.