Configuring the Azure Information Protection policy
Applies to: Azure Information Protection
Instructions for: Azure Information Protection client for Windows
The Azure Information Protection policy applies to the Azure Information Protection client (classic) and not the Azure Information Protection unified labeling client. Not sure of the difference between these clients? See this FAQ.
If you are looking for information to configure sensitivity labels and policy settings for the unified labeling client, see Learn about sensitivity labels from the Microsoft 365 Compliance documentation.
To configure classification, labeling, and protection for the classic client, you must configure the Azure Information Protection policy. This policy is then downloaded to computers that have installed the Azure Information Protection client.
The policy contains labels and settings:
Labels apply a classification value to documents and emails, and can optionally protect this content. The Azure Information Protection client displays these labels for your users in Office apps and when users right-click from File Explorer. These labels can also be applied by using PowerShell and the Azure Information Protection scanner.
The settings change the default behavior of the Azure Information Protection client. For example, you can select a default label, whether all documents and emails must have a label, and whether the Azure Information Protection bar is displayed in Office apps.
Azure Information Protection supports different levels of subscriptions:
Azure Information Protection P2: Support for all classification, labeling, and protection features.
Azure Information Protection P1: Support for most classification, labeling, and protection features, but not automatic classification or HYOK.
Microsoft 365 that includes the Azure Rights Management service: Support for protection but not classification and labeling.
Options that require an Azure Information Protection P2 subscription are identified in the portal.
If your organization has a mix of subscriptions, it is your responsibility to make sure that users do not use features that their account is not licensed to use. The Azure Information Protection client does not do license checking and enforcement. When you configure options that not all users have a license for, use scoped policies or a registry setting to ensure that your organization stays in compliance with your licenses:
When your organization has a mix of Azure Information Protection P1 and Azure Information Protection P2 licenses: For users who have a P2 license, create and use one or more scoped policies when you configure options that require an Azure Information Protection P2 license. Make sure that your global policy does not contain options that require an Azure Information Protection P2 license.
When your organization has a subscription for Azure Information Protection but some users have only a license for Microsoft 365 that includes the Azure Rights Management service: For the users who do not have a license for Azure Information Protection, edit the registry on their computers so they do not download the Azure Information Protection policy. For instructions, see the admin guide for the following customization: Enforce protection-only mode when your organization has a mix of licenses.
For more information about the subscriptions, see What subscription do I need for Azure Information Protection and what features are included?
Signing in to the Azure portal
To sign in to the Azure portal, to configure and manage Azure Information Protection:
Use the following link: https://portal.azure.com
Use an Azure AD account that has one of the following administrator roles:
Azure Information Protection administrator
Compliance data administrator
Security reader - Azure Information Protection analytics only
Global reader - Azure Information Protection analytics only
If your tenant is on the unified labeling platform, the Azure Information Protection administrator role (formerly "Information Protection administrator") is not supported for the Azure portal. More information
Microsoft accounts cannot manage Azure Information Protection.
To access the Azure Information Protection pane for the first time
Sign in to the Azure portal.
Select + Create a resource, and then, from the search box for the Marketplace, type Azure Information Protection.
From the results list, select Azure Information Protection. On the Azure Information Protection pane, click Create.
Optionally, select Pin to dashboard to create an Azure Information Protection tile on your dashboard, so that you can skip browsing to the service the next time you sign in to the portal.
Click Create again.
You see the Quick start page that automatically opens the first time you connect to the service. Browse the suggested resources, or use the other menu options. To configure the labels that users can select, use the following procedure.
Next time you access the Azure Information Protection pane, it automatically selects the Labels option so that you can view and configure labels for all users. You can return to the Quick start page by selecting it from the General menu.
How to configure the Azure Information Protection policy
Make sure that you are signed in to the Azure portal by using one of these administrative roles: Azure Information Protection administrator, Security administrator, or Global administration. See the preceding section for more information about these administrative roles.
If necessary, navigate to the Azure Information Protection pane: For example, on the hub menu, click All services and start typing Information Protection in the Filter box. From the results, select Azure Information Protection.
The Azure Information Protection - Labels pane automatically opens for you to view and edit the available labels. The labels can be made available to all users, selected users, or no users by adding or removing them from a policy.
To view and edit the policies, select Policies from the menu options. To view and edit the policy that all users get, select the Global policy. To create a custom policy for selected users, select Add a new policy.
Making changes to the policy
You can create any number of labels. However, when they start to get too many for users to easily see and select the right label, create scoped policies so that users see only the labels that are relevant to them. There is an upper limit for labels that apply protection, which is 500.
When you make any changes on an Azure Information Protection pane, click Save to save the changes, or click Discard to revert to the last saved settings. When you save changes in a policy, or make changes to labels that are added to policies, those changes are automatically published. There's no separate publish option.
The Azure Information Protection client checks for any changes whenever a supported Office application starts, and downloads the changes as its latest Azure Information Protection policy. Additional triggers that refresh the policy on the client:
Right-click to classify and protect a file or folder.
Running the PowerShell cmdlets for labeling and protection (Get-AIPFileStatus, Set-AIPFileClassification, and Set-AIPFileLabel).
Every 24 hours.
For the Azure Information Protection Scanner: When the service starts (if the policy is older than an hour), and every hour during operation.
When the client downloads the policy, be prepared to wait a few minutes before it's fully operational. The actual time varies, according to factors such as the size and complexity of the policy configuration, and the network connectivity. If the resulting action of your labels does not match your latest changes, allow up to 15 minutes and then try again.
Configuring your organization's policy
Use the following information to help you configure the Azure Information Protection policy:
Label information stored in emails and documents
When a label is applied to a document or email, under the covers, the label is stored in metadata so that applications and services can read the label:
In emails, this information is stored in the x-header: msip_labels: MSIP_Label_<GUID>_Enabled=True
For Word documents (.doc and .docx), Excel spreadsheets (.xls and .xlsx), PowerPoint presentations (.ppt and .pptx), and PDF documents, this metadata is stored in the following custom property: MSIP_Label_<GUID>_Enabled=True
For emails, the label information is stored when the email is sent. For documents, the label information is stored when the file is saved.
To identify the GUID for a label, locate the Label ID value on the Label pane in the Azure portal, when you view or configure the Azure Information Protection policy. For files that have labels applied, you can also run the Get-AIPFileStatus PowerShell cmdlet to identify the GUID (MainLabelId or SubLabelId). When a label has sublabels, always specify the GUID of just a sublabel and not the parent label.
For examples of how to customize the Azure Information Protection policy, and see the resulting behavior for users, try the following tutorials:
To see how your policy is performing, see Central reporting for Azure Information Protection.