Getting started with Endpoint Data Loss Prevention

Completely fresh after my vacation I thought it would be awesome to have a look at Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP), which was announced during Microsoft Inspire. Endpoint DLP extends the activity monitoring and protection capabilities of DLP to sensitive content on Windows 10 devices. The best part of it is that the actual functionality is built-in to Windows 10 (and the Edge Chromium browser). No additional agent is required, just the onboarding of the device. In this post I want to start with a short introduction about Endpoint DLP, followed by the actions to onboard devices and to configure DLP policies and settings. I want to end this post by having a quick look at the end-user experience.

Introduction to Endpoint DLP

Let’s start with a quick introduction about Endpoint DLP. Endpoint DLP is an extension on the activity monitoring and protection capabilities that are provided by DLP, for sensitive content that is used on Windows 10 devices. That can be content that is directly edited in SharePoint Online, or OneDrive, but also content that is only locally available on the Windows 10 devices. So no dependency on the location of the data, but only on the data itself (and of course the device that it’s used on). Really awesome!

At this moment Endpoint DLP enables organizations to audit and manage activities of users on sensitive items. Activities like created, renamed, printed and more. For a complete list, refer to the documentation. Besides that, Endpoint DLP monitors the activity based on MIME type, which means that an extension change doesn’t stop content from be monitored. At this moment the list of supported file extensions is documented here.

To enable Endpoint DLP, make sure that the following is in place:

  1. The user must have a Microsoft 365 E5/A5 subscription or Microsoft 365 E5/A5 compliance or information protection and governance add-on
  2. The device must be running Windows 10 build 1809 or later
  3. The device must be Azure Active Directory (AAD) joined, or Hybrid Azure AD joined
  4. The Chromium Edge browser must be used on the device for the cloud activity actions

Onboard devices into device management

The first action that should be performed is onboarding the devices into device management. After onboarding the devices, the activities of those devices can be reviewed in features like activity explorer, or can be monitored by compliance solutions such as insider risk management and data loss prevention (DLP). To enable the onboarding, simply follow the next three steps.

  1. Open the Microsoft 365 compliance portal and navigate to Settings > Device onboarding (preview) > Devices and click on Turn on device onboarding
  1. On the Turn on device onboarding dialog box, review the message about devices already onboarded via Microsoft Defender ATP and click OK
  1. On the Device monitoring is being turned on dialog box, review the message and click OK

After successfully performing the previous steps, the devices that are already onboarded via Microsoft Defender ATP will start appearing in the devices list. When not already using Microsoft Defender ATP, devices can be onboarded by using the same process as for onboarding devices for Microsoft Defender ATP. When using Microsoft Intune that means following the next 10 steps.

  1. In the Microsoft 365 compliance portal, navigate to Settings > Device onboarding (preview) > Onboarding
  2. Select with Mobile Device Management / Microsoft Intune as the Deployment method and click Download package to download the onboarding package
  3. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal and navigate to Devices  > Configuration profiles > Create a profile to open the Create a profile blade
  4. On the Create a profile blade, provide the following information and click Create to open the Microsoft Defender ATP (Windows 10 Desktop) wizard
  • Platform: Windows 10 and later
  • Profile: Microsoft Defender ATP (Windows 10 Desktop)
  1. On the Basics page, provide a valid name for the profile and click Next
  2. On the Configuration settings page, provide the following information and click Next
  • Microsoft Defender ATP client configuration package type: Select Onboard and add the downloaded package of Step 2 (this is not necessary when a Microsoft Defender ATP connection is established with Microsoft Intune)
  • Sample sharing for all files: Not applicable
  • Expedite telemetry reporting frequency: Not applicable
  1. On the Scope tags page, click Next
  2. On the Assignments page, assign the onboarding configuration to the required group and click Next
  3. On the Applicability Rules page, click Next
  4. On the Review + create page, click Create to create the profile

Configure Endpoint DLP settings

Once the devices are onboarded, the next step is to have a look at the Endpoint DLP settings. These settings apply to all new and existing DLP policies that protect content on Windows devices and these settings are divided into the following three categories.

  • File path exclusions – This category can be used to configure file path exclusion to make sure that files in the specified locations won’t be monitored by the DLP policies.
  • Unallowed apps – This category can be used to configure specific apps that are prevented from accessing files that are protected by the DLP policies.
  • Browser and domain restrictions to sensitive data – This category is divided into the following two subcategories.
    • Unallowed browsers – This subcategory can be used to configure specific browsers that will be blocked from accessing files that are protected by DLP policies. The end-user will be prompted to use Edge Chromium.
    • Service domains – This subcategory can be used to configure specific service domains – from Edge Chromium – that are either allowed or blocked from uploading files that are protected by DLP policies.

To optionally configure these settings simply open the Microsoft 365 compliance portal and navigate to Policies > Data loss prevention > Endpoint DLP settings (preview).

Configure Endpoint DLP policy

Once the generic Endpoint DLP settings are configured, the next step is to have a look at configuring an Endpoint DLP policy. That’s actually just configuring a normal DLP policy with a new endpoint specific section. Let’s walk through those configurations by configuring a DLP policy that is based on the defaults of the GDPR template. To achieve that, simply follow the 11 steps below.

  1. Open the Microsoft 365 compliance portal and navigate to Policies > Data loss prevention > Policies and click Create policy (preview) to open the Create policy wizard
  2. On the Choose the information to protect page, select the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) template and click Next
  3. On the Name your DLP policy page, verify the information – if needed adjust the name – and click Next
  4. On the Locations to apply the policy page, make sure to at least select Devices (preview), make sure to include a (test) user and/or group and click Next
  1. On the Define policy settings page, select Review and customize default settings from the template and click Next
  2. On the Info to protect page, verify the default configuration and click Next
  3. On the Protection actions page, verify the default configuration and click Next
  4. On the Customize access and override settings page, perform the following actions and click Next
  • Verify the default configuration of the Restrict access or encrypt the content in Microsoft 365 locations section
  • Enable the configuration of the Audit or restrict activities on Windows devices section and configure the different activities to Audit, Block or Block with override
  1. On the Test or turn on the policy page, configure to test or to turn on or off the policy and click Next
  2. On the Review your settings page, verify the configuration and click Submit
  3. On the New policy created message page, select Done to close the wizard

End-user experience

Now let’s end this post by having a look at the end-user experience. Based on the usage of the GDPR template, I can show some nice examples of the user experience when working with personal information (like drivers license numbers). To show some examples of the behavior I’ve created a document, named Document5.docx, and that document contains a drivers license number. When I now want to copy content from that document, I receive a notification as shown below in Figure 6 and when I now want to print that document, I receive a notification as shown in Figure 7. Both notifications show the override option for the end-user, via the Allow button, as configured in the DLP policy (see Figure 5).

More information

For more information about Microsoft Endpoint DLP, refer to the documentation that starts here with Learn about Microsoft 365 Endpoint data loss prevention (preview).

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