Microsoft Activates Office 365’s Application Guard to Protect Home Workers

With people working from home more often due to the coronavirus outbreak, company security has gotten spottier as employees carry out business from their home offices. Microsoft aims to resolve this by rolling out Application Guard for all of its Office 365 enterprise customers.




What Is Application Guard?

Microsoft announced the new feature on the Tech Community website. The company also announced that it’s available to the general public to use as of today.

However, Application Guard isn’t something that anyone can download and run. It’s targeted towards businesses, so it’s something that a boss or manager will have to activate for their workforce’s copies of Office.

Once it’s enabled, Application Guard will open untrusted files in a protected manner. This differs from Protected View, which opens a file in a read-only format; Application Guard goes the extra mile and opens up the file in a sandbox environment, safe from nasty cyber threats.

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Once Application Guard is patrolling your PC, it’ll catch files that fit three categories: files from the internet, files that came from unsafe locations on your PC or network, and anything listed on File Block.

Application Guard is ready to use right now. If you can’t enable it yourself, be sure to ask the administrator to see if they can turn it on.


Why Working From Home Is a Security Risk

At the beginning of the announcement, Microsoft states that Application Guard is a solution for businesses working from home, at the office, or a mix of the two. But what’s so harmful and unsafe about doing your work from the comfort of your sofa?

In fact, bringing the work to the home does have its dangers. When you’re in the office, the IT team can secure the whole system from threats. This includes limiting the devices that can access the company’s network.

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When someone brings a device from home and connects it to the office network without the IT team’s knowledge, it creates a cybersecurity issue called “shadow IoT.” If the connected device isn’t secured correctly, it gives hackers an entry point onto the business’ network.

This is why network admins want to control which devices connect to which network. Ideally, company devices should connect to a secure business network, while personal devices connect to a separate guest network.


Once people have to take their office equipment home, all that goes out of the window. Now, company devices are being connected to home networks that may have insecure devices connected to them. On top of that, the user may then download files without any network monitoring.

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This is why Microsoft is pushing Application Guard in light of the increase of employees working from home. This prevents users from blindly running programs from insecure sources and helps protect you and your business from viruses.

A New Security Measure for a New Era

With people working from home as much as possible, workers must be as safe from their sofa as they would be in the office. Now, Microsoft is rolling out Application Guard to help protect users at home from nasty threats.

If you feel your home office is a little too insecure for your liking, why not tighten up the security and protect your work? You may not have office-grade equipment and software, but you can still do your part to prevent intruders from getting in.

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