Deprecation notice: Azure Information Protection Classic client and Label Management in Azure portal

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Tech Community.

To provide a unified and streamlined customer experience, Azure Information Protection Classic client and Label Management in the Azure Portal are being deprecated as of March 31, 2021. This extended time-frame allows current Azure Information Protection customers 15 months to transition to the Microsoft Information Protection Unified Labeling platform. The move to Unified Labeling enables Azure Information Protection customers to enact a comprehensive information protection strategy seamlessly across Office applications on all platforms as well as non-Microsoft productivity applications such as Adobe Acrobat.

 

Background

Since launching the Microsoft Information Protection Unified Labeling platform in September 2018, we’ve continuously onboarded apps and services to support and enhance the user and admin experience.

Azure Information Protection Client now supports Unified Labeling and has evolved since the first release in April 2019 to cover the majority of Azure Information Protection Classic client features as well as providing new capabilities.

The M365 Compliance Center provides the single point of management labels and policies across all apps, 1st party and 3rd party services for data at creation, transit and at rest, on the endpoints, in the cloud and on-premises.

Microsoft Information Protection platform currently supports built-in labeling in Office ProPlus clients on all platforms: Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android without the need to deploy additional software. Unified Labeling support is extended to SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Power BI, Microsoft Cloud App Security and other Microsoft services. Additionally, through the MIP SDK, the Unified Labeling platform is extended to 3rd party apps and services and to on-premise repositories with the release of the Unified Labeling Azure Information Protection Scanner.

 

Transition label management from Azure Portal workflow to M365 Compliance Center

In preparation for deprecation of Azure Information Protection Client classic and label management in the Azure Portal, we recommend completing the following transition steps:

  1. Activate the Unified Labeling in Azure portal.
  2. Migrate your existing labels and policies from the Azure Portal to the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center.
  3. Azure Information Protection customer end users can begin to apply labels and protection manually in Office applications across Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Note: Activation of Unified Labeling in the Azure Portal has zero impact on existing Azure Information Protection clients and Information Protection Admins can already perform this step now. The activation process takes about 5 minutes depending on the number of labels and complexity. Additionally, your existing Azure Information Protection policies can be copied to M365 Compliance Center or, new policies can be created.   

 

Sunset of Azure Information Protection Classic client

The recommendation for new client deployments is upgrade to the latest Office ProPlus version that provides built-in manual labeling on all platforms (GA) and automatic labeling on Windows platform (in preview). The key benefits of Office ProPlus with built-in labeling are:

  • Better performance – built-in capabilities do not impact Office app launch times, and do not have footprint on the standard Office operations that are affected by any Office add-in.
  • Better security – add-ins might fail or be prevented from loading by end users or malicious software. Built-in controls in Office are harder to disable.
  • Reduced maintenance cost – you no longer need to deploy and update additional software in order to provide labeling in Office. You will still need to deploy the Azure Information Protection client if you use the File explorer extension or Azure Information Protection PowerShell.

If you use Azure Information Protection Client advanced scenarios, it’s recommended to upgrade to the Azure Information Protection Unified Labeling client. Upgrading to the Azure Information Protection Unified Labeling Client provides automatic labeling that supports custom information types, reduces Azure Information Protection add-in impact on Office application launch times and provides the Azure Information Protection Scanner solution with enhanced scale-out.

Compare the labeling clients for Windows computers article details a comprehensive comparison of capabilities between Office ProPlus built-in labeling client, Azure Information Protection Unified labeling client and Azure Information Protection Classic client.

Learn more about transitioning from Azure Information Protection to the Unified Labeling platform in the Understanding Unified Labeling migration blog.

 

What’s coming next?

Additionally, the following features are not currently supported and are not currently planned for inclusion in the next client version but are in active development and planned for release later in 2020:

  • Logging events to Windows event log on set/remove label.
  • Track and revoke support. Track and Revoke will provide the ability for admins to track and revoke protected documents and the ability for information workers to revoke protected documents they own.
  • Hold Your Own Key. We are running a private preview for a feature that will allow customers to hold the key that’s needed for content decryption in their custody and help ensure obfuscation of the content to the cloud service.

Users of Azure Information Protection Classic client features currently unavailable in the Unified Labeling platform that consider the features a showstopper for transitioning to the Unified Labeling platform can ask for extended support for the Azure Information Protection Classic client. To be eligible for extended support, customers must have actively used the feature in past 90 days and have completed migration of labels from Azure portal to the M365 Compliance Center.  File for extended support before March 31, 2020 to be eligible for extension consideration.  

 

Azure Information Protection for GCC

Unified labeling is not currently available in GCC cloud. Customers who own Azure Information Protection licenses for GCC cloud will receive continued support for 12 months after Unified Labeling support for GCC cloud is released. Extended support requests are not required for GCC customers to receive the extended support.

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