Microsoft Adds Azure RMS to Office 2016 for Mac Preview

Users of Microsoft's Office 2016 application suite for Mac can now add encryption and information rights management protections through the Azure Rights Management Service (RMS), Microsoft announced Tuesday.

Microsoft released its Office 2016 for Mac preview just last week, promising that it would be ready for production environments sometime this summer. That summer date is also the time when Microsoft's Azure RMS product for Office 2016 for Mac is expected to hit "general availability." Currently, Azure RMS -- which works with Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word for Mac documents -- is only available at the testing stage.

Azure RMS is a policy-based document protection scheme associated with Exchange transport rules that's designed to avoid inadvertent information sharing, which Microsoft calls "data leakage." It does things like restrict access to document content based on that document's user privileges, for instance. It also enables encrypted e-mails to be sent.

IT pros can set rules using the Azure RMS service based on patterns, such as blocking the general sharing of credit card numbers. The service also has electronic discovery capabilities for tracking protected content.

Other cloud-based Microsoft products are supported using the Azure RMS service. For example, the protection scheme works with Office 2016 for Mac documents that get stored on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint document libraries, according to Microsoft.

The Office 2016 for Mac preview also works with document protections enabled by Active Directory RMS. That's the document protection service that works with the more local form of Active Directory. Getting that service to work, though, requires installing a Mobile Device Extension package first, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft bundles its Azure RMS service in its Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 plans. It's also sold as a standalone product on top of Office 365 Enterprise E1 and K1 plans, Exchange Online plans 1 and 2, and Exchange Online Kiosk plans. It's priced at about $2 per user per month.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.