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Office 365 Evolves Email Security with URL Detonation and Dynamic Delivery

Microsoft announced a new variant of its Office 365 service called ‘Office 365 Germany’ for organizations operating under substantial regulations in Germany, the EU, and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

This new subscription offering has been specifically designed to store customer data at rest within the country while also meeting the stringent access and control requirements demanded by German law and EU regulations.

“Office 365 Germany provides innovative, cloud-based productivity tools that enable our customers to grow their businesses and meet their strict compliance restrictions like data residency in Germany. We are providing our customers a unique, differentiated option in how their data is handled and where it is stored, helping them fuel their digital transformation,” Sabine Bendiek, of Microsoft Germany said.

Microsoft is also stepping up its efforts to protect Office 365 users with the addition of two new capabilities to optional Advanced Threat Protection (ATA) subscription—”URL Detonation” and “Dynamic Delivery”—improving the security while keeping people productive.

ATA launched in April of 2016, offer powerful safeguards like Safe Links, which provides time-of-click protection to help prevent users from opening or accessing malicious links, and Safe Attachments, which protects users from opening malicious email attachments.

“URL Detonation” general available today helps prevent users from being compromised by files linked to malicious URLs.

When a user receives an email, this new capability also checks the URL reputation that the ATA already does analyze for malicious behavior. During the scan, when a link is clicked, a message “This link is being scanned” is displayed, and if the link happens to be malicious, “a pop-window after the scan opens notifies and prevent user from opening it.”

To appropriately focus on remediation efforts for impacted users while not disrupting the work of unaffected users, IT admins can implement a URL trach SafeLink policy that track user clicks, and prevent users bypassing the warning and click through to blocked pages.

URL trace of user activity in ATA

URL trace of user activity in ATA

Email with malicious link to PDF file scanned through ATA

Email with malicious link to PDF file scanned through ATA

‘Dynamic Delivery” in public preview help recipients read and respond to email while the attachment is being scanned—as it delivers emails to recipient’s inbox along with a “placeholder” attachment notifying about the scanning of real attachment.”

Scan progress page displayed when a user clicks an attachment undergoing a scan

Scan progress page displayed when a user clicks an attachment undergoing a scan

Clicking the placeholder attachment, shows a message of scan in progress, while “harmless attachment seamlessly re-attaches to email,” “malicious ones are filtered out by the Office 365 ATA.”

To enable URL Detonation go to the policy controls in Safe Links admin window under settings, then select “On radio” button and select “Use Safe Attachments” to scan downloadable content checkbox.

linked content detection and dynamic email delivery (through safe attachments) are enabled.

Linked Content Detection and Dynamic Email Delivery (through Safe Attachments) are enabled.

And, to activate Dynamic Delivery, thorugh policy controls from Safe Attachments admin control window under Settings, select “Dynamic Delivery” radio button.

admin control window for safe attachments policy with dynamic delivery activated

Admin control window for Safe Attachments policy with Dynamic Delivery activated

To learn more about how to turn on new Advanced Threat Protection capabilities in Office 365 Security & Compliance Center, watch the Office Mechanics video embedded under:

Now, the migration program is finally nearing its end. In a statement to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, a Microsoft spokesperson said:

“The Outlook.com migration is nearly complete. Microsoft has migrated over 99.9 percent of active customers and are in the final stages of migrating the remaining customers,” a Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet MJFoley.

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