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As Microsoft's Office 365 cloud services proliferate data throughout an organization, SharePoint admins should adjust their data governance strategies to prevent data deletion and leakage.
Many new Office 365 services, such as Teams, Office Groups, Forms, PowerApps and Flow deliver better collaboration capabilities and more flexibility. For example, users can build apps that work with SharePoint or create automated workflows within SharePoint. These services, however, generate data in multiple areas within the Office 365 ecosystem, which makes it difficult for admins to manage and govern that data.
Typically, IT rolls out new features and software upgrades, which enables IT admins to plan and prepare how they will support and manage the applications. When Microsoft introduced SharePoint as part of Windows Server in 2001, its documentation and data governance resources were readily available online to the SharePoint community. Administrators had control over rollouts and could use these guides and support tools to implement data governance strategies.
Since the Office 365 system is cloud-based, however, users can begin using new apps or functionalities without any direction from IT. Many SharePoint administrators want to take back control of their systems by quickly updating and enforcing their data policies.
But this is not a simple process. Admins may deal with the following challenges:
- Microsoft often releases new products in preview mode without the support of compliance requirements, such as eDiscovery, On-Hold or data leak protections.
- Microsoft constantly changes new products and services, making it difficult for administrators to build consistent data policies across affected workstreams.
- SharePoint administrators are unfamiliar with some of the new tools and are not able to write documentation or policies in a timely manner.
- There are limited training resources to support the new services and define data governance strategies for the new tools.
- It is unclear whether IT or a SharePoint administrator is responsible for managing new tools.
Microsoft recognizes that many of its customers struggle with data governance strategies after moving to the Office 365 ecosystem, so the company introduced new security and compliance features to help to create data policies across multiple services. These tools include data loss prevention and advanced data governance features, such as labeling, retention and supervision policies.