Use of SharePoint as an enterprise content management platform has reached upward of 70 percent of enterprises, with 70 percent of users and one third of enterprise users operating the system with third-party add-ons. The content compliance issues are huge, which makes the release of HiSoftware’s Security Sheriff SP and the upgrade of its compliance offering timely.

Data Security

You could spend a lot of time arguing the virtues of using SharePoint as an ECM, but at the end of it all, content compliance is still going to be an issue. HiSoftware is tackling this and says the new releases make it possible to place even the most sensitive data in SharePoint without worry.

Some of the data that HiSoftware is targeting includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII) as well as health data, financial statements and product information. This is all information that you don’t want floating around in other people’s systems and when you add in the additional problems associated with third-party add-ons, this is a problem that will only get worse as more companies turn to SharePoint.

But let's revisit what we know about SharePoint as an enterprise content management system as of October to quantify the problem.

SharePoint 2010 for ECM

The most recent information available on the deployment of SharePoint in the enterprise comes from a report published last month by AIIM, written by Doug Miles titled Using SharePoint for ECM: How well is it meeting expectations?

Based on the results of 674 surveys carried out across AIIM members between April 15 and May 5, it confirms that  SharePoint 2010 is already being used by a large number of enterprises for content management.

Since the first release ten years ago, it has moved from being an intranet and basic collaboration application to something that is now used for portals, collaboration, forms processing, business intelligence, business process management and content management.

According to Miles, who heads AIIM's Market Intelligence Division, its adoption is in the region of 60-70 percent while over 60 percent of users are showing strong interest in third-party additions and integrations, which can fill perceived functionality gaps.

The report also shows that only 20 percent of the respondents indicated they had sufficient confidence in SharePoint security to store sensitive information and that 60 percent of organizations have yet to bring SharePoint in line with their existing compliance policies.

If SharePoint is your main enterprise content management system and you fall into this category, this is a real problem. It means that nearly 80 percent of companies that use SharePoint are limited in how they can use it to manage content.

And we’ve seen on many occasions that content means money: well managed content means a well managed business.

HiSoftware Compliance, Security

HiSoftware says it has addressed concerns by fully integrating its upgraded and new software with and within SharePoint 2010. This means that it continuously audits data for compliance with privacy, information security, accessibility, site quality and all kinds of brand integrity.

Within both sets of software there are checkpoints built into the proprietary rules engine for this like HIPAA and FISMA and capability to scan documents moving in and out of the environments in order to catch policy violations and reclassify offending content with the addition of new SharePoint metadata.

Once that metadata has been dragged into the rules engine, the values can be used by Security Sheriff SP to encrypt and apply permissions that can restrict access to items regardless of the permissions applied to the larger site or library.

When hitched up with the HiSoftware connector for Outlook, it can monitor emails coming in and out of Outlook and apply the same restrictions to documents that are moving in and out of enterprise SharePoint environments and email accounts.

HiSoftware SharePoint compliance.JPG

HiSoftware SharePoint Outlook Connector

HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff SP and HiSoftware Security Sheriff SP will be generally available in December.