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Microsoft today is announcing the launch of a new cloud service called Azure Information Protection. The technology is based partly on what Microsoft picked up through its acquisition last year of cybersecurity company Secure Islands, and partly on Microsoft’s existing Azure Rights Management (RMS) service.

Microsoft will offer a public preview of the new service next month, and it will become generally available before the end of the year, at which point RMS customers will receive the new features.

“Organizations must protect their data at the source in a world where information travels beyond the boundary of the corporate network and potentially across many devices outside of company control. These realities make it more critical than ever to have solutions that prevent data loss and track information at the file level regardless of where data resides or with whom it is shared,” Dan Plastina, partner director for information protection at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.

The service will let customers manually or automatically classify data based on their source and content and then enforce policies based on those classifications, Microsoft says. Certain actions, like forwarding files, can be disabled. The system has integrations into Office applications, and admins can monitor usage of certain data.


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Azure Information Protection will work with data no matter whether it’s stored in a cloud service or in a company’s on-premises data center. And admins can supply their own encryption keys for files, if they so choose.

Microsoft is launching the new product a few months after introducing its Cloud App Security service, based on technology from the Adallom acquisition.

Cloud syncing and sharing company Egnyte recently launched a cloud-based data protection service with some overlapping functionality.

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