Viewing Office MIP labeling activity in Activity Explorer

A nice new feature is now available in the Office Beta channel.

When labeling Office files the editor of the document is aware of the label that’s being applied, but as an administrator you also might like to know which labels where applied to documents as well.

In the new Beta channel build for Office there is a new feature which logs every modification to a Office file’s label to the Activity Explorer present in the Compliance Center.

Now let’s take a look at how this all works.

Licensing

Before we start testing out this new feature we’ve got to make sure that we have the proper licenses in our tenant.

You will need a subscription which involves a Office for Apps plan and the Compliance features in order for the Activity Explorer to be activated.

Best would be to have one of the following licenses:

  • Microsoft 365 E5
  • Office 365 E5
  • Advanced Compliance E5 add-on
  • Advanced Threat Intelligence E5 add-on

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/data-classification-activity-explorer?view=o365-worldwide#prerequisites

Changing the channel for your Office installation

Because this feature is currently in preview you will need to change your Office install to the Beta channel to activate the logging of the labeling activity.

Be advised that because you will currently need a build from the Beta channel this might contain unreleased features or unknown bugs. Use this build at your own risk!

You do this by applying it directly on your installed copy of Office. To change the channel you go to File, followed by opening the Account tab where you can select Office Insider > Join Office Insider. Select the Beta channel and click OK.

You can then update your installed copy in the Account tab by selecting Check for updates

If however, the Office installation is managed by your company there are several ways to provide users access to the Beta channel.
These options are outlined in the following article:

https://insider.office.com/en-us/business/deploy

For deploying the Beta channel build to your endpoints via Endpoint Manager, I’ve captured a video on how you can add the XML data to enroll the Beta channel version right away:

When you’ve added the Office installation to Endpoint Manager you should eventually end up with a installed copy which shows Beta Channel below the About Word section under the Account tab (or About other Office product depending on which Office app you open to check the version installed).

Logging into the Activity Explorer and viewing labeling activity

You will see the new information populating the Activity Explorer after the Beta channel has been enabled and Office has been updated to the latest build.

Of course there will need to be some labeling activity as well.

Then, log in to the Activity Explorer by going to following URL and entering your Office 365 account that holds the appropriate permissions:

https://compliance.microsoft.com/dataclassification?viewid=activitiesexplorer

You can view the required permissions to access the Activity Explorer in the following article:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/data-classification-activity-explorer?view=o365-worldwide#permissions

After logging into the Activity Explorer the new activity will be shown in a tabular view like shown in the video below:

Now as you can see, this adds great visibility for admins to check the labeling activity of Office files that’s going on on their end users devices.

That’s all for now, if you have any questions please let me know in the comments section below!

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