Currently, “Safe Documents” is available for a limited number of Office 365 users, and mainly Enterprises, Educational users can access it.
After announcing Safe Documents in February this year, Microsoft has now officially launched its Office 365 ProPlus security feature, which will be initially available to Microsoft 365 E5 and E5 security customers.
Through Office 365 Safe Documents, the software giant aims to expand Protected View’s protection scope as it will now check for known threats and risks before allowing a user to edit the document.
For your information, Protected View is Microsoft Office’s read-only mode to help organizations access documents originating from external sources such as downloaded from the internet, email attachments, or an untrusted storage location in a secure environment.
Microsoft Safe Documents will use Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to scan a document opened in Protected view; until the scan is complete and a verdict is displayed, the user will be blocked from editing the file.
Protected View stores the files in a sandbox to let users view them without the risk of unleashing malware or virus that could infect the entire organization’s network. However, to enable safe editing of the files, which oftentimes employees may require, Microsoft is offering Safe Documents features.
Before allowing an employee to edit a document received from an external source Office365 will run a security scan to determine if the document is infected or not. Hence, through this feature, Microsoft has amplified the security protection for businesses using Office 365.
According to Microsoft’s Kenny Shi, Protected View feature secures documents originating “outside the organization” but people usually exit this protection without checking if the document is safe to use or not. Safe Documents eliminates the “guesswork” by verifying the documents automatically to check for known threats and risk profiles.
The Enable Editing feature can only be used when the file is deemed safe by the MS Defender ATP. In case the file is infected or equipped with malicious functions it will not activate Enable Editing and the file will remain accessible in Protected View while an alert will be sent to the organization’s Microsoft Office 365 dashboard.
“Admins can configure whether users can bypass and ‘Enable Editing’ for malicious scenarios in the Admin portal,” explained Shi in a blog post.
Admins will have to enable Safe Documents manually from their Office 365 dashboards. Once enabled, the feature will be activated for the entire team of an organization.
Currently, “Safe Documents” is available for a limited number of Office 365 users, and mainly Enterprises, Educational users can access it. However, one can expect it to go public soon.