Archive for the ‘SharePoint 2010’ Category

IT Consulting Case Studies: Microsoft SharePoint Server for CMS

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Gyver Networks recently designed and deployed a Microsoft SharePoint Server infrastructure for a financial consulting firm servicing banks and depository institutions with assets in excess of $200 billion.

Challenge:  A company specializing in regulatory compliance audits for financial institutions found themselves inundated by documents submitted via inconsistent workflow processes, raising concerns regarding security and content management as they continued to expand.

http://officeimg.vo.msecnd.net/en-us/files/819/194/ZA103888538.pngWith many such projects running concurrently, keeping up with the back-and-forth flow of multiple versions of the same documents became increasingly difficult.  Further complicating matters, the submission process consisted of clients sending email attachments or uploading files to a company FTP server, then emailing to let staff know something was sent.  Other areas of concern included:

  • Security of submitted financial data in transit and at rest, as defined in SSAE 16 and 201 CMR 17.00, among other standards and regulations
  • Secure, customized, compartmentalized client access
  • Advanced user management
  • Internal and external collaboration (multiple users working on the same documents simultaneously)
  • Change and version tracking
  • Comprehensive search capabilities
  • Client alerts, access to project updates and timelines, and feedback

Resolution: Gyver Networks proposed a Microsoft SharePoint Server environment as the ideal enterprise content management system (CMS) to replace their existing processes.  Once deployed, existing archives and client profiles were migrated into the SharePoint infrastructure designed for each respective client and, seamlessly, the company was fully operational and ready to go live.

Now, instead of an insecure and confusing combination of emails, FTP submissions, and cloud-hosted, third-party management software, they are able to host their own secure, all-in-one CMS on premises, including:

  • 256-bit encryption of data in transit and at rest
  • Distinct SharePoint sites and logins for each client, with customizable access permissions and retention policies for subsites and libraries
  • Advanced collaboration features, with document checkout, change review and approval, and workflows
  • Metadata options so users can find what they’re searching for instantly
  • Client-customized email alerts, views, reporting, timelines, and the ability to submit requests and feedback directly through the SharePoint portal

The end result?  Clients of this company are thrilled to have a comprehensive content management system that not only saves them time and provides secure submission and archiving, but also offers enhanced project oversight and advanced-metric reporting capabilities.

The consulting firm itself experienced an immediate increase in productivity, efficiency, and client retention rates; they are in full compliance with all regulations and standards governing security and privacy; and they are now prepared for future expansion with a scalable enterprise CMS solution that can grow as they do.

Contact Gyver Networks today to learn more about what Microsoft SharePoint Server can do for your organization.  Whether you require a simple standalone installation or a more complex hybrid SharePoint Server farm, we can assist you in planning, deploying, administration, and troubleshooting to ensure you get the most out of your investment.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday targets Internet Explorer drive-by attacks

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Microsoft’s SharePoint, drawing application Visio get patched

Internet Explorer vulnerabilities warrant notice in this month’s set of Microsoft Patch Tuesday bulletins and need to be fixed quickly even though the sheer number of patches may seem daunting.

The weaknesses leave users open to drive-by attacks where malicious code is downloaded without the user’s knowledge while browsing. Not patching them because they are time-consuming will just widen the window of opportunity hackers have to exploit them, says Alex Horan, a senior product manager at CORE Security.

“Preventing future drive-by style attacks and protecting end-users appear to be the theme of this month’s Patch Tuesday,” Horan says. “These patches can be a hassle for users to deploy and have the potential to create a long enough delay where hackers can take advantage.”

So far the weaknesses haven’t been exploited. “Fortunately, this issue has no known attacks in the wild,” says Paul Henry, a security and forensic analyst at Lumension. “However, you should still plan to patch this immediately. ”

Four of seven bulletins for March are rated critical, with the first addressing browser problems. “It fixes critical vulnerabilities that could be used for machine takeover in all versions of Internet Explorer from 6 to 10, on all platforms including Windows 8 and Windows RT,” says Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek.

Microsoft’s Silverlight media application framework is also critically vulnerable, according to the company’s Security Bulletin Advance Notification. It affects Silverlight whether deployed on Windows or Mac OS X operating systems, where it is used to run media applications such as Netflix, Kandek says.

This vulnerability is more of concern to consumers because it only affects the Silverlight plug-in. Henry says plug-ins should be avoided in general. “[T]hey add another threat vector and are frequently an easy target for the bad guys,” he says.

Also in critical need of patching is Microsoft’s drawing application Visio, which comes as a surprise to Kandek. “It is puzzling to see such a high rating for this software that typically requires opening of an infected file in order for the attack to work. It will be interesting to see the attack vector for this vulnerability that warrants the ‘critical’ rating,” he says.

Critical vulnerabilities are those that could allow code execution without user interaction if they are successfully exploited. This type of exploit includes network worms, browsing to infected Web pages or opening infected emails.

The final critical vulnerability lies in SharePoint Server, Microsoft says.

Three of the bulletins are rated important and include two that could allow data to leak and one that could allow attackers to elevate privileges on an exploited machine. Important bulletins include vulnerabilities that could lead to compromised confidentiality, integrity or availability of user data, or of the integrity or availability of processing resources, Microsoft says. Such exploits may include warnings or prompts.

Source:  networkworld.com

Forrester: SharePoint faces challenging future

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Mobile, social, and cloud are areas in which Microsoft’s collaboration server must improve to continue its growth

Despite strong support from IT pros, SharePoint faces increased skepticism from business leaders and it’s unclear whether the collaboration product will deliver cloud, social, and mobile advancements needed for future growth.

Those are some of the findings from a new Forrester Research study published on Tuesday titled “SharePoint Enters Its Awkward Teenage Years.”

“Microsoft SharePoint is the centerpiece of many enterprises’ collaboration and content strategies, but it isn’t clear to us that enterprises will continue to invest in SharePoint to provide a broader range of social, web content, and content delivery functionality,” wrote report authors Rob Koplowitz and John Rymer. The study was based on a survey conducted in August 2012 of 153 IT decision-makers involved with SharePoint implementations.

SharePoint has reached mature status as a content management and enterprise collaboration tool, used primarily by companies to corral documents dispersed among file servers, email inboxes and other content management systems, according to Forrester.

As such, its 2007 and 2010 versions are used by organizations of all sizes and in all industries to create and manage intranets, offer collaboration capabilities, and manage content, but there is less satisfaction with and usage of it for other scenarios, such as a custom application platform and as a business intelligence tool for data analysis.

The gap in satisfaction between IT pros and business managers — SharePoint met the expectations of 73 percent of the former, and of 62 percent of the latter — is of concern, according to the authors.

“While ‘if you build it, they will come’ might work in the movies, the approach has yielded neither wide adoption of SharePoint nor satisfaction with the product. Too often, IT provides the latest and greatest SharePoint release only to watch many users turn their backs on the solution,” the report reads.

Dissatisfaction is centered on several areas, including adoption challenges, a dislike for the SharePoint user experience, a preference for other tools like email and skepticism over its business value.

Also of concern is that takeup of SharePoint Online, the cloud-hosted version of the product, is very low — 4 percent of respondents reported using it exclusively, a rate expected to rise to 8 percent after the new SharePoint 2013 comes out at some point this quarter. However, 26 percent of respondents plan to have a hybrid on-premises/cloud deployment, according to the study.

There is also dissatisfaction with the enterprise social networking capabilities in SharePoint, but Forrester predicts that this component of the product will be much better in the 2013 version and beyond as the product gets more integrated with Yammer.

Microsoft also must improve its efforts to deliver SharePoint functionality via mobile applications to smartphone and tablet users of various platforms, the authors wrote.

Koplowitz and Rymer had words of praise for SharePoint 2013, pointing out that an impressive 68 percent of respondents said they plan to upgrade to that new version within two years after its release. Eighty-one percent of respondents are currently on SharePoint 2010, and the rest on 2007 and earlier versions.

In particular, the Forrester analysts like SharePoint 2013’s new development architecture, which is consistent with Web standards and is designed to simplify and make more flexible and secure the creation and deployment of applications.

This new architecture “makes the product a native Web citizen rather than a proprietary world of its own,” as has been the case until now, and will make SharePoint 2013 “more modular and open than any prior release.”

At this juncture, CIOs and other IT executives should rethink the role of SharePoint in their organizations. For example, if SharePoint is used only for document collaboration, it is an expensive proposition for which more affordable options exist, according to the authors. It’s also a good idea to monitor how Yammer is integrated with SharePoint, and assess how comfortable the organization is with providing enterprise social collaboration via a cloud model. In addition, CIOs must keep a close eye on SharePoint’s mobile capabilities.

For Microsoft, the challenges are substantial in areas like social, cloud and mobile, according to Forrester. “At stake is Microsoft’s ability to maintain the strong growth curve SharePoint has enjoyed over the past four years,” the authors wrote.

Dangerous competitors include IBM, Google, Jive Software, and Box. “Despite its rousing success in enterprises, circumstances have changed, and SharePoint must prove its value all over again.”

Microsoft declined to comment for this story.

Source:  infoworld.com

Microsoft Office 365 Beta available prior to phaseout of BPOS

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Tired of upgrading office productivity software every couple of years?  Microsoft Office 365 has you covered, with an all-inclusive suite of subscription services that will never go out of date.

Office 365 replaces the BPOS (Business Productivity Online Services) suite of services, and current BPOS customers will have to transition over the next year or so.  Users will still be able to access Office Professional Plus, Exchange, SharePoint and Lync Online.

The really good news is that subscription packages are far-ranging and should cover the needs of both enterprise and small businesses customers.  In Microsoft’s words, they will offer “a range of options from basic email for $2 per user per month to a complete solution for $27 per user per month that includes full Office Professional Plus desktop software, along with Office Web Apps; the most advanced versions of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online; phone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week; advanced IT controls; and on-premises use rights for voice.”  That should cover just about everybody….

So try out the beta version today, or contact Gyver Networks with any questions regarding integration of Office 365 into your current environment.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011: best-in-class functionality and value

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

For those seeking to migrate from an existing CRM platform due to cost, scalability, or integration issues (think Salesforce), Microsoft recently released the beta of Dynamics CRM 2011 for on-demand or on-premise users.  Native support for and integration with MS Office applications already resident in most office environments, as well as a price point nearly half that of Salesforce.com, make the choice a no-brainer for companies in the market for a CRM solution upgrade.  According to Microsoft, the beta of Dynamics CRM 2011 offers:

  • Familiar experiences through a next-generation native Microsoft Outlook client, Microsoft Office contextual CRM Ribbon, RoleTailored design and user personalization
  • Intelligent experiences through guided process dialogs, inline data visualizations, performance and goal management, and real-time dashboards
  • Connected experiences through cloud development, Windows Azure integration, contextual Microsoft SharePoint document repositories, teamwork and collaboration, and the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace

Contact Gyver Networks today if your company is interested in learning more about what Dynamics CRM 2011 can do for your team.

Microsoft Online Services Offering: BPOS is the ultimate in cloud connectivity

Friday, August 20th, 2010

People have been talking about cloud computing, cloud storage, cloud networking – and on and on – for some time now, but with its newest offering, Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS),  Microsoft Online Services has set the standard for cloud connectivity, encompassing computing, storage, networking, and pretty much anything else you could wish for.  The functionality of Office mainstays like Exchange, Communicator and SharePoint are included and integrated so it’s actually more like using one all-inclusive application instead of many.

 

After sign-in, the icon for the application stays open on your toolbar and you simply right-click to access any of the included services.  The company portal is also accessible and allows you to download necessary software (for instance, .Net is a requirement for BPOS) and enter SharePoint intranet sites and Live Meeting rooms.

Live Meeting has some particularly cool options, including the ability to record audio and video, view all attendees in panorama view (making everyone appear to be sitting across the same table from you even though they’re in multiple locations), and a number of meeting planning and management options.  SharePoint Services online offers something even cooler: the ability to view your Microsoft Outlook OWA mailbox right in the SharePoint homepage – no more multiple browser pages!

Microsoft SharePoint online

There are many more features available, so check it out if you’re intersted.  Microsoft is currently offering a free one-month trial of BPOS to anyone interested in sampling its cloud productivity services, and Microsoft partners are able to secure a one-year, 250-seat license for free.  Can’t beat that deal ….

Users begin by installing the sign-in application, which becomes the launch point for accessing all of the included functionality.