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Bullying or harassment in the workplace? Office 365 can help you monitor and prevent it.

Posted July 11, 2019

What does IT have to do with bullying? Well, cyberbullying is done through the use of technology and stats in Australia are frightening! Learn how technology can also help your business to prevent it

By Zubair Khan, NOC, Process and Systems Head Engineer

You must be thinking about what actually IT has to do with bullying or harassment. Well… According to the Australian Human Rights commission, “cyberbullying is bullying that is done through the use of technology. For example, using the Internet, mobile phone or a camera to hurt or embarrass someone […] It can be shared widely with a lot of people quickly, which is why it is so dangerous and hurtful.” In the modern days we currently live in, technology plays a significant role in what’s considered online violence.

Stats in Australia amongst kids, teenagers and young adults are frightening and the issue is well known. However, most people usually forget that it also happens in the corporate world in the form of racism, sexism, homophobia, just to mention a few.

How can Office 365 help you identify, prevent and block offensive language in communications?

Microsoft released a new feature to its Office 365 suite, New Supervision Offensive Language intelligent filter. The rollout has started in April 2019 and it’s planned to be completed by the end of May, world-wide.

How does it work?

The model uses a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and keywords to identify inappropriate email messages as part of anti-harassment and cyberbullying monitoring requirements. Your organisation can prevent or block offensive language by creating a policy under the data loss prevention section in the Security & Compliance Center, where you can also add policies to secure your business against data leakage, and in there, develop a custom keyword dictionary of offensive terms you want to identify and monitor.

The offensive language model currently supports English keywords and monitors the body of email messages. The model monitors email for sentiment associated with the following types of language:

ProfanitiesExpressions that are inappropriate and embarrass most people.
SlursExpressions that attack cultures and ethnicities.
TauntsExpressions that taunt, condemn, and ridicule.
References to handicapsExpressions that target physical or mental handicaps.
Squalid languageExpressions that target sexual interests and physical state of cleanliness.
HomophobiaExpressions that target sexual preferences.
RacismExpressions that target race and ethnicity.
ExtremismExpressions that target religion and political ideologies.
DisguiseExpressions for which the meaning or pronunciation is the same as another more offensive term.
Provocative languageExpressions that potentially cause anger or violence.
TabooExpressions that are generally not appropriate in polite societal communications.
Unrefined languageExpressions that lack polite manners and that are potentially harsh and rude.

How to enable this type of supervision policy?

If you are a Bremmar client, we will have to set it up for you as we manage our clients’ Office 365 subscriptions so just let us know and we can enable it for your business. If you are not a Bremmar client, please ask your IT Team or IT provider and they can set it up for you or guide you through the process.

What licenses are required to use Supervision?

All users monitored by supervision policies must have either a Microsoft 365 E5 license, Office 365 Enterprise E3 license with the Advanced Compliance add-on or be included in an Office 365 Enterprise E5 subscription. The advanced Compliance Add-on can be added to any Office 365 E3 Subscription. If you don’t have any of the above licenses and want to try supervision, a trial can be set up for your organisation. Please contact us more information.

What else can you do with Supervision?

The new supervision solution aims to simplify and streamline compliance tools in the workplace to help organisations meet their monitoring and compliance obligations. You can monitor internal or external Exchange email,  Microsoft Teams chats and channels, or 3rd-party communication in your organisation to ensure corporate policies are being met, risk management is being addressed and your business is complying with regulatory compliance.

This is a brief overview of how the Supervision solution might help with your organisation’s HR and Compliance policies and goals, however, we will dive deeper into the solution in future articles.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to see how it would work in your organisation, fill in the form below or call in at 1300 991 351 and we can book a consultation and demo for you!

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By Zubair Khan, NOC, Process and Systems Head Engineer

Known as ConnectWise, Labtech and reporting “guru”, Zubair has built Bremmar’s monitoring system from the ground up and revamped the company’s internal systems. Zubair is known for finding quick solutions for tricky situations and loves doing that with a smile on his face. His skills, together with his positive attitude, even got him a slogan within the company: Keep calm and let Zubair handle it.

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