Leveraging SharePoint for Corporates

By Sanjeev Jain, CIO, Integreon

SharePoint is a web-based application that integrates with Microsoft Office. It is primarily used as a document management and centralized repository for shared documents, but the product is highly configurable and its usage varies substantially between organizations. It also has capability of developing web-based applications. This allows groups to set up a centralized, password-protected space for document sharing. Documents can be stored, downloaded and edited, then uploaded for continued sharing. SharePoint is a web-based intranet that can help improve organization's effectiveness by streamlining the access to data management.

"For both privacy and information security, it is extremely important to be clear as to policies and procedures to which your organization must andwill adhere"

There are many ways where SharePoint can be a benefit to solve common business needs. Once we start using it, we will begin to realize the many other valuable benefits that can be easily be accomplished by business users.

With SharePoint, you can:

• Centralized location for tasks and assign tasks to team members. These tasks will automatically show up in your team's Outlook To-Do List. Those tasks will also link to your projects so that you can easily find out what tasks are still open for each project.

• Organize large events and store the related documents, assigned tasks, and generally post information related to the events. It will also integrate with Outlook for added efficiency.

• Collaborate with team members on all documents and stay on top of who did what. Projects can also be linked to related documents.

• When tasks are assigned to team members, they will automatically be notified that they have just been assigned a new task. Each time a task has been, updated alerts are sent to end user.

• Quickly manage all projects for your team or organization so there is no need to explore buying an expensive project management solution.

• Start a private company blog to communicate and share ideas with your team that is viewable only by those you give access too.

• Offer training materials to your teams, clients, and/ or partners in a password-protected Website that can be accessed anywhere in the world.

• Offer a secure and private place to share documents and other information with clients.

• Access and work with your data using your Internet-enabled mobile phone for added convenience while traveling or out of the office at client meetings.

Create better team communication and brainstorming sessions where everyone can participate when his or her schedules permit.

• Keep project announcements for your company and team in a central location. Everyone will receive a notification via email automatically.

• Take the project tasks, team discussions, company contacts, centralized calendars, team blogs, and files offline and then sync the updated information later on.

• Create "central" documents (and synchronize), so all team members, clients, and/or partners are able to work on the same document and make changes. Updates are accessible with a click of a button. Every one can then synchronize back to the "central" document and have all edits merged into that single document.

• Create a centralized dashboard where on one page you can view and filter on common project elements, such as: project details, project documents, project tasks, project issues, project calendar, project milestones, project lessons learned, project risks, project change orders, and more.

• Company can create online portal to store all Policies and Guidelines documents.

• SharePoint can also be used to create common project workflow like; Expense Reimbursement, Leave management etc.

Security Controls – Best Practices

Information Security is a broad topic that involves not only SharePoint farm administrators, but server, network, and database admins as well. Through delegation to site collection admins and site owners in the business units, security also involves day-to-day end users.

Default permission levels are predefined sets of permissions that we can assign to individual users, groups of users, or security groups, based on the functional requirements of the users and on security considerations. SharePoint permission levels are defined at the site collection level and are inherited from the parent object by default.

These permission levels include View Only, Limited Access, Read, Contribute, Edit, Design and Full Control. SharePoint includes 33 permissions, which are used in the default permission levels. One can configure which permis­sions are included in a particular permission level (except for the Limited Access and Full Control permission levels), or we can create a new permission level to contain specific permissions.

SharePoint allows customizing and securing database and application portal. Only specific ports are allowed to communicate between server and business users. Unused ports can be blocked using standard hardening guidelines available on Microsoft portal.

For both privacy and it is also extremely important to be clear as to policies and procedures to which your organization must and will adhere.

SharePoint properties should list privacy policies as well as any other notic­es relevant to data usage or information security, and these notices should be displayed promi­nently. In addition, the transportation of infor­mation should also be secure from individuals without the proper access rights to view the content in transit.

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