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Microsoft Brings Safe Documents, Application Guard to More 365 ProPlus Users

Microsoft this week announced that Safe Documents and Application Guard, two security capabilities introduced last fall, are now available to more of its Office 365 ProPlus customers.

Initially detailed at the Ignite 2019 conference in early November, the two features are meant to improve both security and productivity and are rooted in a seamless integration between Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus, and Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), the tech company says.

Now in public preview, Safe Documents was designed to leverage the power of the Intelligent Security Graph to ensure that documents are safe by checking them against known risks and threat profiles before allowing for them to be opened.

The new capability, Microsoft says, should deliver improved protection over Protected View, because users often exit this sandbox and open documents originating outside the organization without great consideration.

“Users are not asked to decide on their own whether a document can be trusted; they can simply focus on the work to be done. This seamless connection between the desktop and the cloud both simplifies the user workflow and helps to keep the network more secure,” Microsoft claims.

Microsoft also announced broader availability of Application Guard, a micro-VM that leverages the same technology in Azure cloud. Initially introduced in Microsoft Edge, it provides users with hardware-level containerization in the browser.

At Ignite 2019, Microsoft announced Application Guard’s integration with 365 ProPlus to deliver container-based isolation for Office applications, to completely block attackers’ access to resources such as memory, local storage, applications, and corporate network endpoints.

Application Guard ensures that untrusted Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files are opened in a virtualized container. Users can edit documents while remaining protected and malicious files are contained to ensure data remains safe, Microsoft says.

Both Safe Documents and Application Guard connect to the Microsoft Security Center, so that admins can gain visibility and response capabilities through alerts, logs, confirmation of contained attacks, and the option to see and act on similar threats across the enterprise.

“With these new capabilities, we brought together some of the best of Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus, and Microsoft Defender ATP to help organizations stay both secure and productive. This integration also means that organizations can deploy these features with the change of a setting and manage with existing tools,” Microsoft says.

Microsoft is making Safe Documents and Application Guard available to customers with Microsoft 365 E5 and E5 Security plans. Initially, Safe Documents will be rolled out for tenants in the U.S., U.K., and European Union.

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