Enhancing Microsoft AIP with Classifier | Fortra's Data Classification

Enhancing Microsoft AIP with Classifier

Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) provides a data security infrastructure across Microsoft applications, as part of the MS Azure subscription package. MIP is a cloud-based solution which allows you to classify and label Office files and Outlook emails, which in turn drives Microsoft Azure Rights Management (RMS). The underlying aim of MIP is to help organizations capitalize on the information protection benefits offered by Azure RMS through its blend of encryption, authentication and usage control. The coupling of information classification and protection has been established as best practice for many years, and as a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner for over 20 years, Fortra's Classifier Suite has been at the forefront driving RMS through the Classifier solution – initially with Microsoft’s Active Directory Rights Management (AD RMS), and then more recently with Azure Rights Management.

What Comprises MIP?

MIP encompasses Classification, Labelling and Protection (CLP):

  • Classification Data - can be classified automatically or by users according to simple security schemes. Classification and labelling information are embedded in the document metadata and defined actions are enforced.
  • Labelling- Visual and metadata labels record the classification and are embedded within a document.
  • Protection (Rights Management)- RMS encrypts the document and includes the authentication requirements and a definition of the usage rights to the data (rights management). This ensures only authorized users have access to protected data and they can perform only allowed actions on the data.

Better Together - Microsoft MIP And Fortra's Classifier Suite

In the world of Enterprise data protection and data classification, the requirement for flexible solutions combining best-of-breed functionality with sophisticated policy support is viewed as critical. Most organizations initially adopt a heavily simplified classification policy, but shortly after implementation of a classification solution they find it necessary to expand and adapt that policy as their maturity and experience in the use of data classification grows, and they meet new business and regulatory challenges. This evolution continues as the business expands, to accommodate new business processes, organizational structures, and as they incorporate new IT and data governance solutions. This is why it is critical for any data classification solution to support not just the initial project requirements, but the future requirements of the business. Often organizations will not fully understand what their future needs will be, hence why it is important for the selected data classification solution to be able to adjust and evolve with the business – rather than become a hindrance to change.

Enhancing The MIP Ecosystem

Ecosystem Type Fortra's Classifier Suite Compatibility

RMS ecosystem

A well-established ecosystem delivering the Protect part of MIP’s Classify-Label-Protect

Fortra's Classifier Suite is a long-standing participant in the RMS ecosystem of Azure IP – facilitating and simplifying the use of RMS and linking classification to the assignment of rights. However, Classifier does not restrict customers to a single protective technology and offers choice as to the most appropriate solution, including support for a mix of protective technologies.

Labelling ecosystem

A new and embryonic ecosystem based on a metadata framework for classification labelling – the Label portion of MIP’s Classify-Label-Protect

Fortra's Classifier Suite is already a participant in the new MIP Labelling ecosystem – giving customers new options and flexibility when constructing a classification solution.


The partnership of Classifier and MIP offers the benefit of MIP’s integration with Azure protection applications and opens up a huge range of enhanced functionality to allow your data protection landscape to evolve and grow. Augmenting Microsoft MIP with Fortra's Classifier Suite is a simple migration that will not disrupt your current MIP classification structure, but adds functionality, and the ability to customize the user experience and classification scheme with a powerful, best-of-breed solution.

Classifier Drives Increased Classification Functionality

Classifier’s metadata agility enables it to participate fully in the MIP Labelling ecosystem in order to:

  • Support mixed-ability labelling solutions where not all endpoints/users need the same level of classification sophistication.
  • Support use of MIP label-aware products, for example, MS Cloud App Security When working with MIP, Classifier can continue to apply its own sophisticated metadata whilst at the same time adding an MIP label that might contain a subset of the information held in a full Classifier label.

Even if your initial classification scheme is straightforward enough to be held within the MIP labelling metadata, you can still take advantage of Classifier’s advanced policy engine to give you highly granular control over the use of your information labelling and marking. Enabling A Powerful Ecosystem of Security Partners As well as adding direct functionality to classification and labelling, incorporating Classifier into your MIP ecosystem enables interoperability with a powerful range of additional security solutions. With as little as a single click the intuitive Classifier interface can drive market leading security applications in data loss prevention, data governance and encryption. The addition of Classifier allows you to apply classification across a larger range of file types, and from within non-Microsoft applications such as CAD and IBM Notes. Classifier even supports a wider range of Microsoft applications than MIP, including MS Project and Visio

Increasing Visibility Of User Actions

Adding Fortra's Classifier Suite empowers administrators with an extensive reporting module, enabling you to drill down into how and where your classifications are being applied. Classifier comes with a range of common report templates, simplifying analysis to help you to understand where rules could be appended or automated. Classifier’s reporting dashboard is ideal for communicating trends and usage regularly to senior management. Classifier also directly integrates with third party analytics tools such as Loglogic and Splunk.

Classifier’s Power Enhances MIP

Fortra's Classifier Suite is fully compatible and interoperable with MIP, adding significant value to MIP, meaning that organizations can incorporate elements of MIP if they wish, but then enhance that functionality with Classifier. This approach by combining the best of a mass-market product in MIP, incorporating Azure RMS, and best-of-breed classification in Fortra's Classifier Suite provides organizations with significant added value; advanced classification policy, coverage for the widest range of Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications and access to an extended technology ecosystem being just a few examples.

Taking a joint approach to Enterprise Information Protection with enhanced data classification at the core enables complex policy issues and integration requirements to be tackled together to deliver maximum value for your business – ensuring you can meet the classification challenges you’ve identified today plus those that will be coming round the corner.

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