Azure RMS Use Cases: Document protection Demo

Most companies I talk to absolutely love the premise of Azure RMS, but without use cases they have reservations about the user experience. What’s to dislike about a technology which can secure files and emails both inside and outside your organisation? Yet these features are useless if employees struggle to adopt. When companies have had a negative experience with information protection software, it’s usually because it’s too complicated for a typical end user. This user guide will show you just how simple Azure RMS is…


Enforcing difficult-to-use software will prevent employees doing their jobs effectively. Ultimately, end users will try to circumvent the technology, which leaves sensitive corporate data vulnerable.

Microsoft claims to have developed a product that’s easy to deploy and, more importantly, easy to use. It sounds like a big promise – and it is. As a non-technical member of OCG’s team, I wanted to put it to the test! Is it really that easy to get to grips with?

I’ve put together a handful of common scenarios below.


Protect sensitive data from OFFICE

Firstly, I needed my colleague, Robin, to download and install the software. This was easy to do and took approximately two minutes.

The obvious scenario for me to imagine was the loss of customer records. From Lloyds to TalkTalk, it’s rare for a week to pass without news of a major company suffering a serious customer data breach. Not all companies are in a position to survive the financial damage this will inevitably cause. Could I use Azure RMS to help mitigate this?

Using fake customer records, I decided to test whether data could be shared between employees, whilst also preventing it from being copied or passed on again.

In this scenario, Robin is the owner of the data, and I’m the contractor tasked with calling each record.


Apply document protection with Azure RMS

Here’s my fake customer data in an Excel spreadsheet:


After Robin installs Azure RMS, he notices a padlock icon has been added to the standard Excel ribbon. Clicking the padlock icon, ‘Share Protected’, brings up the following window:


Robin wants to restrict my file access to ‘view-only’, adding a content expiry date and enabling notifications.


Clicking ‘Send’ generates an email automatically (following the sign in link allows users to download the viewer software for free).



Opening the file in Microsoft Excel

Within seconds, the email arrives.


Opening the file as normal fires up Excel, but also displays the following message (if I wasn’t already signed into OCG’s network, a prompt would appear requesting my username and password):


Excel then presents me with the full spreadsheet issued by Robin; however, I am unable to cut, copy, save or print – I have ‘read only’ access. Even ‘print screen’ doesn’t work. When I attempt to take a screenshot, I get the following result:


The only thing I can screenshot is my permissions, which can be viewed by clicking a ribbon at the top of the document.


Meanwhile, Robin has been issued with a notification to inform him that I’ve opened the file. If another user tried to access the file, Robin would be notified again, and provided with information about who tried to open it.



Protect any file in-place

It’s important to note that Azure RMS works with any file type. The following screenshots illustrate how Robin can secure an important blueprint straight from his desktop.

A simple right click gives access to pre-set permissions or custom ones. Robin is then presented with the ‘shared protected’ screen, which I showed you earlier in the demo, when choosing custom permissions.


Files protected in-place are tagged with a small RMS logo (this overlays the icon in the bottom right corner). This will then remain secure, even if it’s emailed or saved to a memory stick.



Attempting to open an ‘expired’ file

When trying to open a file that has been set to expire outside of its permitted time, users are presented with a message similar to the following:




Azure RMS is a technology your employees can get to grips with in a matter of minutes, without any training. After a short time experimenting – in order to demonstrate the software to clients – I’ve become proficient.

Microsoft has taken cues from its previous, on-premises version of rights management, but the technology giant has significantly boosted usability – a crucial improvement to ensure businesses gain user support.

Article by Jonathan Scott and Robin Tyerman.

If you’d like to see a demo of Azure RMS in action, check out a recording of our ‘Enterprise Mobility Suite: A user’s perspective’ webinar.