Microsoft recently made small but significant changes to its Office 365 subscription service and to OneDrive, which are often used in tandem.  The goal is to make it easier for users whose files have been encrypted by ransomware (or otherwise corrupted) to recover them.

The most significant of the changes is a new button that Office 365 users will see a new "File Restore" function in both applications.  If you've saved your Office 365 files to OneDrive, you'll be able to restore files in a thirty-day window.  In the event that your files are accidentally deleted or corrupted, getting them back is as simple as pressing the button and selecting the files to be restored.

That's a huge win for Office 365 and OneDrive users, but there's more.

The additional changes include:

  • A mobile alert sent to the phone number you select, which will inform you if your files may have been encrypted or otherwise tampered with
  • Support for end-to-end email encryption in their mail service (Outlook), including the web version of the mail app
  • Office now scans all links embedded in PowerPoint, Excel and Word documents to check if they point to malicious content on the web
  • All file attachments and links embedded in emails are now scanned for known phishing threats and viruses
  • now gives users the ability to prevent email recipients from forwarding your emails
  • The ability to password protect OneDrive shared links

That last one is also significant, and is a feature that OneDrive's user base has been clamoring on about for quite some time.  OneDrive has made it incredibly easy to share files via a link-based system, but unfortunately, never offered users a way to secure those links.  That, thankfully, has now changed.

Individually, all these changes are quite good, but taken together, they represent a significant step in the right direction.  Kudos to Microsoft for taking the threat of ransomware so seriously, and adding specific features to help protect their users.

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