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Office 365 'Lockbox' Feature Coming Next Month

Microsoft is readying a new solution aimed at increasing Office 365's compliance and security capabilities.

The Customer Lockbox and Advanced eDiscovery tools, which Microsoft unveiled earlier this year, will be available on Dec. 1.

The company announced the pending release on Tuesday as part of a broad initiative outlined by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to invest $1 billion per year in security alone for Azure, Office 365 and Windows.

Scott Charney, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing, took the wraps off the Customer Lockbox feature for Office 365 in April, during the keynote address of this year's RSA Conference in San Francisco.

Customer Lockbox ensures that Microsoft employees cannot access customer data or content without explicit permission. At the time it was announced, Microsoft said the Customer Lockbox feature would be enabled for Exchange Online by year's end and for SharePoint Online in the first quarter of 2016.

If Microsoft needs to access Office 365 content in its datacenters, Customer Lockbox puts in place an approval process, allowing users to approve or reject it. Microsoft engineers will be unable to access the data until the request is approved, according to Microsoft's description of the service.

"The Lockbox gives you the capability to secure your data, to encrypt your data and give only key access when required," Nadella said in his speech Tuesday.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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