Microsoft 365 advanced data governance: what you need to know

3 min read

The Governance topic is certainly not a new one. However, like compliance and security, it often comes to the forefront when something catapults it into the public conscious. In the case of governance recently, it’s been the rapid global adoption of Microsoft Teams as remote working increases out of necessity rather than just convenience.

With rapid user adoption, recent governance focus has been on user behavior and uncontrolled growth.  Moreover, data management is challenging as people still get to grips with not only the cloud, but Microsoft 365 services such as Microsoft Teams, Office Apps, and SharePoint in remote working conditions. Microsoft 365 advanced data governance is as important as ever.

Microsoft 365 advanced data governance

Microsoft 365 advanced data governance

When looking at data governance, Microsoft has a couple of out-of-the-box offerings that depending on what Microsoft 365 license you have, means you get either one or two. Every business and enterprise Microsoft 365 license from basic to E5 has access to the Security and Compliance Center and information governance as standard.

Information governance

Users can create, publish, and apply labels to documents manually. Furthermore, data can be imported by using drive shipping or over the network. These features are available in E3 and E5, with only limited availability in E1. For a full list of the features available in E1, E3, and E5, see the detailed Microsoft 365 Compliance Licensing Comparison. PDF

When it comes to advanced information governance, it’s only the top license (Enterprise E5) which offers this.

Advanced information governance

Advanced information governance allows you to retain important information and delete unimportant information by classifying information based on a retention or deletion policy or both. It includes intelligent/automated actions such as recommending policies, automatically applying labels to data, applying labels based on sensitive data types or queries, disposition review, and use of smart import filters. It also includes the Supervision feature for reviewing employee communications for security and compliance purposes.

Striving for a complete governance plan

As a Microsoft 365 tenant admin or platform owner, having access to both information governance and advanced information governance features will significantly increase your grip on locating, retaining or discarding business-critical and sensitive data. The level of automation provided by advanced information governance significantly helps streamline the process of documenting data. However, as far as a complete governance plan goes, there are still some gaps to be filled in.

Microsoft 365 advanced data governance in-text2

Collecting and aggregating data across multiple services is still challenging and crunching data for valuable insights and reports is complex. What’s more, it’s not just data information, but cloud sprawl, which means issues such as cost and performance come in to play as orphaned resources and unknown applications stack up as users become more accustomed to solving business problems outside of IT. Fixing these issues and enforcing governance is still profoundly manual.

Scaling Microsoft 365 governance

While Microsoft 365 advanced data governance helps scale the retention of data across your organization, scaling Microsoft 365 governance to meet the rest of your organizational processes is still challenging.

Organizations must discover activity in their Microsoft 365 tenants and find an optimal way to report on the latest governance situations to all stakeholders. This information must also be quickly acted on, for example, control relevant permissions, eradicate unused sites, and other governance protocols relating to existing business processes.

There are third-party tools out there that help complete the governance life cycle, and Rencore is one organization that offers governance automation at scale.

I recommend taking a look at Rencore Governance to scale your governance efforts. Choose what you want to track, build relevant reports, and automate with your business processes in mind.

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Lee Sellen

Lee is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Rencore. He writes about a broad array of topics ranging from corporate, solution and product news to high-level SharePoint and Office 365 governance, modernization and risk topics. Lee is in charge of Rencore's research and reports unit aiming to gain new insights into how users work with SharePoint and Office 365. A passionate writer in all areas, he also covers Rencore events, webinars and other online activities.