New Security Features in Office 2013 Preview

There is something security related for everyone in the new Office 2013 Preview.

Simple sign gives users easy access to cloud content from within in Office. Users can create a profile, sign in one time, and then seamlessly work on and access local and cloud Office files without re-identifying themselves. They sign in using their managed or federated OrgID--and they can easily switch between these identities during their Office 2013 experience. Behind the scenes, client authentication APIs enable users to sign in and out and switch the active user identity.

Additional APIs keep track of roaming settings (preferences and most-recently-used documents) and the services available to each identity. Better work flow for users and easy-to-manage authentication for you, the IT admin. Users authenticate one time per session for all Office apps, including SkyDrive. This is true regardless of the identity provider, whether the Microsoft account or the user ID used to access Office 365, or the authentication protocol that is used by the app. Authentication and ID provisioning can happen completely in the cloud or with your Active Directory, or Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) or Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS).

No more forgotten password drama! The new Office 2013 file encryption method enables IT admins to decrypt Word, Excel, and PowerPoint password-protected files using a private escrow key. Now a public key and certificate pair are stored in the file’s header when a password is applied. If the password is lost or forgotten, an IT admin can use a command line tool (along with permission and access to the certificate and private key of course!) to either remove the password or protect it with a new one.

Digital signature improvements. Open Document Format (ODF v1.2) file formats plus digital signature verification of ODF documents that are signed from inside other applications but that are opened in Office 2013 Preview are now supported. Also, Office 2013 Preview can include details like the physical address where the document was signed, the role or title of the signer, and a statement of intent when documents are signed using XAdES (XML Advanced Electronic Signatures).

Easier Information Rights Management (IRM). Office 2013 Preview includes a new IRM client, with a new UI to help simplify identity selection for users who, for example, work with and share private documents with partner organizations or companies. It also supports automatic service discovery of Rights Management Services (RMS) servers. Plus, look for read-only IRM support for Microsoft Office Web apps Preview. Office Web apps Preview can view IRM-protected documents in a SharePoint library or IRM-protected documents that are attached to messages in Outlook.

Temporary jail for suspicious files—improvements to protected view. Protected view helps reduce exploits to computers by opening files in a restricted environment, also known as a lowbox, so that they can be examined before they are opened for editing in Excel, PowerPoint, or Word. Office 2013 Preview provides stronger process isolation and also blocks network access from the lowbox until the file is deemed okay by the user. 

For more details about Office 2013 Preview security features, be sure to check out the Security Overview.

For a peek at what others are saying about the new Office, check out the forum.

Download Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Preview.