What does it mean to own your data in Office 365? How we aim to raise the bar on visibility and control of your organization’s data with Office 365

How we aim to raise the bar on visibility and control of your organization’s data with the Office 365 service

When you move to the cloud, a key tenet of ownership is the level of visibility and control you have over your data. In today’s From Inside the Cloud three-minute overview, I focus on how we want to raise the bar on that visibility and control, much beyond what you can do in your own on-premises environments today.


Kamal JanardhanHow do we hope to deliver on this vision of ownership? We believe that visibility and control means three things (1) being able to view the data (2) being able to take actions on it and (3) being aware of what actions were taken at any time.

In many on-premises environments today, achieving this level of visibility and control is more complex than it is in the cloud. The burden is on you to define and implement consistent configuration with appropriate data access and distribution policies across all your workloads. This can be a costly process and usually requires specialist staff for compliance and IT administration. In Office 365, that visibility into your organization’s workloads is integrated directly into the service.

Archiving and eDiscovery are built directly into Office 365 on the workload’s data store, so you can take actions like preservation, deletion, auditing, and data loss prevention, as well as do an organizational search using our eDiscovery tools, based on person, date range, keyword and other rich criteria. Because you are acting on the most recent version of the data in the workload, you can search within a user’s IM conversations, mailbox, or site libraries and preserve or delete as needed.

Viewing and acting on the data are privileged operations and within Office 365 we define roles that have these abilities for a given set of users. The scope and reach of these roles is defined by you, the customer, and our goal is to enable you to track all changes to these privileged roles. We also want to enable the compliance officer to keep the organization safe without disrupting the productivity of the user. With this in mind, when you perform an eDiscovery query, you can preserve, export, preview and copy the data without impact to the information worker. Our hope for the long term is to give you an organizational view that enables you to easily see the history of any action taken on your data by individuals in your organization. This history can drive your decisions to put proactive compliance controls in place or take reactive action to reduce risk.

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