Microsoft Information Protection SDK for C++: Public Preview! (2023)


Today we're proud to announce the Microsoft Information Protection SDK Preview!

The Microsoft Information Protection SDK (MIP SDK) brings the classification, labeling, and protection capabilities of Azure Information Protection and Office 365 Security and Compliance Center in to a simple, lightweight, cross-platform software development kit that enables any application to read and apply MIP labels and protection.

In this release, we’re providing our first look at the components of the SDK and how your organization will be able to use each of them to make your own applications Microsoft Information Protection enabled and fully aware.

What is Microsoft Information Protection?

Back in February, over on the Enterprise Mobility + Security blog, we revealed details on the Microsoft Information Protection story and the work we’re doing to bring together Azure Information Protection and Office 365 labeling via Security and Compliance Center.

Microsoft Information Protection SDK for C++: Public Preview! (1)Security and Compliance Center

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It's likely that if you're an existing Office 365 or Azure Information Protection user, you're familiar with Security and Compliance Center (above) and/or the AIP labeling bar (below).

Microsoft Information Protection SDK for C++: Public Preview! (2)Azure Information Protection

Microsoft Information Protection is the combination of AIP and the O365 labeling in Security and Compliance center, and the future integration around the labeling experience that will come as part of O365 and EMS. The videos below cover some of the changes we’re making as we work toward this goal.

Azure Information Protection: Unified labeling, on-prem scanning and protection across platforms

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As the classification, labeling, and protection experience becomes native across the Office 365 experience, your organization and users will begin to demand that the ease-of-use they experience in their Office applications and services carry over to 3rd party and line-of-business applications. As our customers and partners, you’ll be able to use the MIP SDK to make classification, labeling, and protection in these applications easier than ever.

File, Policy, and Protection APIs

The MIP SDK is made up of three separate APIs: File API, Policy API, and Protection API.

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Policy API

The Policy API exists to allow developers to perform label-driven actions in their applications. The typical consumer of this API will be an application owner. This API doesn’t apply a label to a document or take any action at all. Rather, it informs the application of the available labels for the current user and what actions should be taken when that label is applied. It’s up to the software engineer to code the appropriate behavior in the application and to write those changes to the output file.

For example, if I’m a software developer at a company writing a CAD/CAM application, I would leverage the Policy API to:

  • Display the labels available to the authenticated user.
  • Calculate the actions to take when a label is selected, either by a user or programmatically.
  • Calculate the actions to take when a label is

Protection API

The Protection API enables developers to read and write Azure Information Protection rights-managed streams. The API can be used to read encrypted input and decrypt to reason over the contents in plaintext, or to take plaintext output from a system and encrypt it in an AIP rights-managed format.

We believe that organizations using RMS SDK 2.1 or 4.2 will be able to fully replace that functionality with the Protection API capabilities from the MIP SDK.

File API

Last, but certainly not least, is the File API. The file API provides an easy-to-use method of performing several file related tasks for well-known file formats. By simply passing in a label ID, the API can apply a label, content marking, and protection to a list of supported formats. Additionally, labels can be fetched from the service, read from a file, deleted or changed, and justification provided when downgrading the label.

The File API isn’t truly independent. Rather, it provides an abstraction of the previous APIs so that developers don’t need to worry about handling policy actions or protection actions; the File API, based on the labels that are present, knows exactly what to apply and how to apply it to the supported file types.

Use Cases

Before embarking on any journey with a new SDK, we understand that it’s important to have solid use cases and business justification. We’ve been mulling over the various use cases for the SDK for quite a long time. You’ll be able to use some of our ideas below to kickstart discussions in your own business.

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From the standpoint or Microsoft and the MIP SDK team, our #1 goal with the SDK is this:

The Microsoft Information Protection SDK will enable our third-party ISV ecosystem to build native support for MIP classification, labeling, and protection in to their applications.

One of the most common questions we hear on the Information Protection teams is:

“When will Microsoft support application or service X with MIP?”

It’s extraordinarily difficult to build a solution that works across many applications, in a scalable, fast, user friendly, and most important, transparent manner. We believe that the best MIP CLP experience is a native application experience. We’ll be announcing several partnerships with security ISVs this week at RSA Conference and as we approach GA. These partners are already committed to building support for MIP in to their applications and services.

File API Use Cases

We believe that, for most tasks, organizations will build functionality that leverages the File API. Because the API can be used to read, apply, or remove labels and protection, without having to worry about modifying the file contents in your own code, it’ll be the simplest, most common approach to using the SDK. Here are some examples of File API use cases:

  • You’re a software engineer at a financial services institution. You want to be sure that data from your LOB applications, typically exported in Excel format, are labeled on export based on the contents. File API can be used to list available labels then to apply the appropriate label to a supported file format.
  • Your company develops a cloud access security broker (CASB). Your customers ask for the ability to apply MIP labels to Microsoft Office and PDF documents. The File API would enable you to display a list of configured labels, then allow your customers to build rules which would apply the desired label. File API, taking in the label ID, would handle the rest for files meeting the customer’s criteria.
  • Your company provides a service-based data loss prevention solution and/or a CASB that monitors SaaS applications for file activity. To reduce the risk of data loss or exposure where data is protected with MIP, your service must be able to scan the contents of protected files. Using File API for the supported formats, when the service is a privileged user, you can remove protection, scan the contents for restricted or sensitive content, discard the plaintext result, and apply a service rule to report on or remediate the risk if found.

Policy API Use Cases

The Policy API provides functionality that allows application developers to expose to their applications the labels that are available within a tenant and to compute the actions that the label should take. Everything that comes after, applying marking, metadata, protection, etc. is up to the developer to implement. Examples of some policy API use cases are:

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  • Your company develops 3d design software that uses a proprietary file format. Your customers use MIP and want to be able to apply labels natively through your application. As the software engineer, you’d use the Policy API and a custom control to display the labels available for the authenticated user. Once the user selects a label, you’d call the compute action method of the API to know exactly what should be applied as far as metadata, content marking, and protection.
  • Your company develops a DLP service that allows your customers to configure DLP policies via a central administration portal. You have customers that use Microsoft Information Protection and would like to be able to read or apply AIP labels as part of DLP policies. As the software engineer, you can use the Policy API to get a list of labels for the customer organization, then read those labels as part of a DLP rule or apply the label information as part of a rule action.

Protection API Use Cases

  • Your company develops 3d printing software using a propriety file format. You want to use AIP to protect the file, so it can be printed only by specific users. Using the Protection API, you can apply protection to the file so that only authorized consumers would be able to open, and/or print. It would even be possible to grant some users the ability to view while restricting the right to print.
  • Your company develops an eDiscovery solution that processes Exchange mailboxes and PST files. Your application must be able to user to decrypt messages to fully perform eDiscovery. Using a custom message/RPMSG parser and a sufficiently privileged account, you could leverage the RMS API to decrypt the encrypted file, scan the contents, and discard if out of scope or package if in scope.
  • Your company provides a service-based data loss prevention solution and/or a CASB that monitors SaaS applications for file activity. To reduce the risk of data loss or exposure in data protected with MIP, your service must be able to scan the contents of protected files. Using Protection API for formats not supported by File API, you can enable your service to decrypt the protected information (assuming the service has rights), analyze the plaintext contents, discard securely, and apply a service rule to report on or remediate the risk if found. Data which was unable to be decrypted by the service could then be blocked outright.

SDK Binaries

The preview release of the SDK can be found here:

Inside the ZIP file, you’ll find:

  • Bins: The compiled binaries for Linux, MacOS, and Windows. The compiled sample apps are also included in the Bins\<OS> path.
  • Include: MIP SDK C++ headers
  • Samples: Source code for the SDK sample applications.


Get Started Today!

Our next posts will dive more in to the fundamentals of the SDK from a developer’s point of view, as well as in to our sample and tutorial code. In the meantime, if you're looking to get started with writing your own C++ app with the SDK, you'll need toobtain a user identity from one of our test tenants that has the necessary Security and Compliance Center flights enabled. Some items to note:

  • This user identity is in a test tenant and will be shared across all preview participants.
  • We require a valid, verifiable corporate email domain.
  • We will be monitoring the accounts for abuse and reserve the right to revoke access at any time and without notice.

If you’re interested in getting started with the sample apps and starting to build your own integration, please fill out this form to start the process. We reply with an account within two business days (Future Note: This process will only exist until the necessary service components are in public preview).

Kartik and I are both at RSAC this week, so if you have questions, want to see a demo, or just want one of our new stickers, stop by the Microsoft Information Protection booth in the expo!

Tom Moser, @milt0r, Sr. Program Manager – Azure Information Protection

Kartik Kanakasabesan, @kkanakas, Principal Program Manager – Azure Information Protection

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What is Microsoft information protection SDK? ›

The MIP SDK exposes the labeling and protection services from Office 365 Security and Compliance Center, to third-party applications and services. Developers can use the SDK to build native support for applying labels and protection to files.

How do I turn off Azure Information Protection? ›

To deactivate Rights Management from the Azure portal
  1. If you haven't already done so, open a new browser window and sign in to the Azure portal. ...
  2. On the initial Azure Information Protection pane, select Protection activation.
  3. On the Azure Information Protection - Protection activation pane, select Deactivate.

How does Microsoft information protection work? ›

Microsoft Information Protection helps to discover the data and classify according to its sensitivity level. This data then tagged according to its sensitivity using labeling. According to the label, Information protection can protect your sensitive information wherever it lives or travels.

Is Azure Information Protection free? ›

Free. The only feature available for the Free Plan is the Azure Information Protection content consumption by using work or school accounts from AIP policy-aware apps and services.


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