Vera for Microsoft protects Office 365 files everywhere

Vera's approach to information rights management lets IT apply security rules and permissions to Office 365 files no matter where they're saved

Vera for Microsoft protects Office 365 files everywhere
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With users always connected and using multiple devices, data can be in several places at the same time. For IT and security administrators tasked with securing, tracking, and monitoring that data, startup firm Vera offers policy and access control enforcement, no matter where data is stored or who it's shared with.

Today's IT administrators face a problem: They can restrict who has access to their data stored on servers they control, but they're limited when the files move to cloud services or devices they don't manage. Vera addresses this by applying security rules to a wrapper around the file, so the rules go wherever the files go.

Vera's latest offering, Vera for Microsoft, extends this data security approach for Office 365 documents stored locally, on remote SharePoint servers, and in OneDrive for Business cloud storage. IT and security administrators apply specific security rules, such as who can open documents and what they can do with them, on specific folders, and any Office 365 document placed in that folder automatically inherits those policies and permissions. The new integrations will be generally available in the beginning of 2017.

Microsoft has its own tools for folder-level security, but those protections disappear the second the file leaves the platform. The Microsoft Azure Information Protection Suite is limited as it only protects static, PDF-based versions of these documents, while Vera supports any file type.

Instead of creating and applying a set of security rules for each document individually, Vera for Microsoft lets IT apply file-level permissions in a manner that it is transparent to the user. Vera's smart policy engine lets IT customize permissions, such as whether users can print or edit the document, the ability to copy/paste elements, or take a screen capture of the file. Security teams can grant access to Active Directory or SharePoint Groups, as well as to external collaborators.

There's also no reason why the file has to stay in Office 365, SharePoint, or OndDrive for Business, as the policies are still in effect even when the file is saved to a third-party platform like Dropbox or Slack, or downloaded onto an unmanaged device. IT can set an expiration date or revoke access on the fly, at which point the file cannot be opened regardless of where it's stored after that date.

Encryption is critical to enterprise security, but it's not as widespread as it should be because it's so difficult from a user standpoint. If users have to change how they work, then they're less likely to take the extra steps to apply encryption.

Consider the example of secure text messaging. Once apps like WhatsApp and iMessage made it really straightforward for users to send encrypted messages, they became much more widely used. User experience is critical to integrating encryption into enterprise data security, and with Vera, it's as simple as saving the file in the right folder.

Vera's approach to information rights management reflects the modern reality of how files get moved across different devices and get shared among different users. IT must have a way to encrypt files, apply policies, and control access, even when they don't have control over the device or server where the document resides.