Microsoft is pleased to announce the release of the recommended security configuration baseline settings for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, version 2112. Please download the content from the Microsoft Security Compliance Toolkit, test the recommended configurations, and implement as appropriate.
This baseline builds on the previous Office baseline we released April 2021. The highlights of this baseline include:
The recommended settings in this security baseline correspond with the administrative templates version 5263, released December 13, 2021.
Deployment options for the baseline
IT Admins can apply baseline settings in different ways. Depending on the method(s) chosen different registry keys will be written and they will be observed in order of precedence: Office cloud policies will override ADMX/Group Policies which will override end user settings in the Trust Center.
GPOs included in the baseline
Most organizations can implement the baseline’s recommended settings without any problems. However, there are a few settings that will cause operational issues for some organizations. We've broken out related groups of such settings into their own GPOs to make it easier for organizations to add or remove these restrictions as a set. The local-policy script (Baseline-LocalInstall.ps1) offers command-line options to control whether these GPOs are installed.
Note: Name change to “MSFT Microsoft 365 Apps v2112”. This GPO set includes “Computer” and “User” GPOs that represent the “core” settings that should be trouble free, and each of these potentially challenging GPOs:
Disable Excel 4 Macros
A new Excel policy is available to block Excel 4.0 macros separate from VBA macros: "Prevent Excel from running XLM macros". With this new macro policy, choosing to disable XLM macros will no longer impact VBA macro settings. The setting is also available in the Trust Center for end users to modify. Therefore, to prevent end users changing the setting we recommend enabling the policy "Prevent Excel from running XLM macros".
AREA and AREACATEGORY attributes in ADMX Templates
A new set of attributes has been introduced to allow policies to be tagged for specific scenarios such as Security Baseline, Security, Privacy, Accessibility, etc. These tags will power upcoming features to help admins identify policies by area for easier adoption. You'll see these new columns in the spreadsheet documentation of the security baselines.
<policy name="L_AllowDDE" class="User" Area="Security Baseline" AreaCategory="DDE" displayName="$(string.L_AllowDDE)" explainText="$(string.L_AllowDDEExplain)" presentation="$(presentation.L_AllowDDE)" key="software\policies\microsoft\office\16.0\word\security">
When can I expect the next release of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise Security Baseline?
In the future, we'll plan to release new security baselines every 6 months, usually in June and December.
If you have questions or issues, please let us know via the Security Baseline Community or this post.
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