Organizations using Office 365 ProPlus productivity suite applications are getting an alternative to Group Policy for managing user-based policies.

This week, Microsoft announced the release of an Office Cloud Policy service accessible by IT pros via a portal page, as well as a related management element at the preview stage called “Security Policy Advisor.” The Office Cloud Policy portal lets IT pros set Office 365 ProPlus policies for user devices, even if those devices aren’t domain-joined or otherwise managed. The Security Policy Advisor preview recommends best practices for Office 365 ProPlus policies, along with advice on the benefits and risks of applying a policy, plus monitoring and reporting on the actual effects of policies on end users.

Microsoft apparently previewed the Office Cloud Policy service back in January, although back then it was called the “Office Client Policy service,” which seems like a better descriptor for what it does. The Security Policy Advisor preview, on the other hand, seems completely new.