Manage and Inventory Your SharePoint Environment
More and more organizations are using collaboration software such as Microsoft SharePoint technologies to share crucial business information, including financial documents, strategic plans, and business process documents, as well as to share discussions, calendars, and email messages. SharePoint allows users to easily set up collaborative sites without IT assistance, but with that ease of use can come a management nightmare. I learned more about this problem in a discussion with Quest Software's (http://www.quest.com) Doug Davis, who is the director of product management for SharePoint solutions. "There's a great demand for collaboration in organizations, and Microsoft has made it easy to for people to learn about SharePoint technologies and to get their hands on Windows SharePoint Services. This has caused a proliferation of SharePoint sites unknown to IT. How can businesses protect their critical business information in such an unmanaged environment?"
Quest recently surveyed customers who had downloaded its Discovery Wizard for SharePoint freeware tool and found that more than half of them cite management of SharePoint sites as one of their top challenges. Seventy-three percent said they'd like an automated way to discover SharePoint sites and details of those sites. To address those needs, Quest recently released its Quest Site Administrator for SharePoint.
Site Administrator consists of three components that let IT administrators discover SharePoint servers and sites across the enterprise; analyze the usage, traffic, and health of these sites; and globally manage the sites to reduce the risks of downtime and the threats associated with housing crucial business information on unmanaged platforms.
Adobe Systems Expands File Rights Management
Collaboration is key in business today, but sharing files isn't all that difficult—the challenge lies in controlling what recipients can do to those files after they're received. Ensuring file access and managing that access becomes increasingly important as businesses strive to meet two sometimes conflicting needs—the need for collaboration and the need to secure sensitive files, including intellectual property. Steve Gottwals and Patrice Lagrange, Adobe Systems (http://www.adobe.com) product managers, discussed how two of Adobe's products can help companies engage with people to secure content no matter where it goes. Both products help users control access to and the usage of documents they share with others.
Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server 7.2 expands Adobe rights management beyond Adobe Acrobat .pdf files alone to allow users to secure files earlier in the document life cycle—for example, by protecting access and use of Microsoft Office Word and Excel files, as well as Dassault Systemes' Computer Aided Three dimensional Interactive Application (CATIA) files. Policy Server is an enterprise rights management solution that protects a document or file and controls who can access it and how it can be used from its inception through its entire life cycle to archiving and destruction. Pricing for Policy Server starts at $100 per user.
Adobe Document Center brings to individuals and workgroups the capabilities that Policy Server offers (via a hosted service that lets individuals control access to Excel, PDF, and Word files, and determine and track document usage) inside and outside of the firewall. In early 2007, Adobe will also add the capability to convert documents to PDF format and apply security settings directly at the Adobe Document Center Web site. Adobe Document Center is a subscription-based service and will offer an introductory price of $19.99 per user per month for six months, or $199 for a year.
Roaming Digital IDs
Arcot Systems (http://www.arcot.com), maker of risk-management, strong authentication, and digital signing solutions, recently announced a collaboration with Adobe Systems that will enable enterprises to give their users and customers easier digital signing capabilities in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader.
Nine-year-old Arcot Systems' mission has always been to bring more secure authentication to the marketplace, Arcot's VP of Marketing Carol Stone told Windows IT Pro editors during a recent conference call. During the company's first six or seven years, a username and password was adequate for most enterprise authentication needs. Arcot built a nice business working with credit card companies to secure online payments, but now that the government and consumers are demanding tighter security for their personal information, Stone says, Arcot is well positioned to satisfy these demands with the technologies it has developed.
Companies that use Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader to create and read PDF files can choose to purchase an Arcot SignFort server license and create Arcot Roaming Digital IDs for their users and customers. Roaming Digital IDs are stored on the server, and users can use them anytime from anywhere to digitally sign a document. The IDs provide two-factor authentication but don't require users to carry a token. The SignFort server also logs each digital signing of a document.