Partnership Extends SharePoint Document Security to External Users
A new partnership between Canadian-based Titus Labs (news, site)  and Maryland-based Epok Inc (news, site) aims to add to the volume of documents that SharePoint users can manage, and to extend access to those documents to external users without the ever present nagging security concerns.

The integration responds to two developing business trends. On one hand is the growth in global business and the need to extend document access to disparate geographical regions. On the other is the concern for document security as a result of growing compliance and eDiscovery pressures.

The companies say by combining the two products SharePoint users will be able to extend document access to external organizations, while at the same time provide visibility, control and versioning to documents that have been accessed from the outside.

Delegated Security

So what does each partner bring to the table? Epok offers classification and security technology as part of its total SharePoint security solution.

Epok allows SharePoint users to enable business partners, or geographically dispersed divisions of the same company, access their SharePoint site by enabling IT departments to quickly authorize business users to add users and resources, and manage authorization on their own.

Features include:

  • Delegate user administration to specific employees or business partners while still retaining overall control to access.
  • Specify access rights depending on the needs of the external users and prohibit access to documents that are not directly relevant.
  • Creation of external SharePoint accounts separate to a company’s SharePoint accounts.
  • Activity and user tracking through dashboard-like reports and graphs.

Classification and Conversion

From the document management perspective, Titus Labs, a provider of email and classification software, earlier this year created a number of features that were specifically targeted for SharePoint and which provide better classification of documents in the environment.

What that means is that it is possible to drastically increase the number of documents stored, make them easier to find, and make them more secure.

These features include:

  • Metadata Security for SharePoint: Allows administrators to create permissions for documents based on their SharePoint metadata properties.
  • Document Marking for SharePoint: Automatically applies classification markings and watermarks to existing and new Microsoft Office documents. This will flag document sensitivity.
  • PDF Control for SharePoint: Automatically generates PDF versions of Office documents to facilitate sharing of information and to produce a document format appropriate for archiving.
  • Document Converter for SharePoint: Automatically converts Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents in SharePoint to Office 2007, thus enabling standardization on a single file format.

There is no pricing available as yet for the new product, but both the Epok and Titus Labs solutions individually have been quite reasonable to date.

If you spend a lot of time worrying about your documents in SharePoint and the damage those evil external users might wreak on them if you give them access, this could well be the solution for you.