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Category Archives: SharePoint

Join HiSoftware at SharePoint Saturday NYC

SharePoint Saturday NYC is right around the corner and we hope to see you during the show. While in NYC, head on over to the HiSoftware Booth to learn more about our award-winning solutions for compliance and secure collaboration as well as our latest solution for SharePoint access and permissions management.

Decorative image of sheriff badgeMeet Our New Sheriff

While you’re at the booth be sure to ask about our latest solution Site Sheriff that leverages dynamic access, deny rules and a secure viewer to help ensure that only the right users can access the right content and help you keep confidential information in SharePoint.

  • Manage permissions through dynamic access and claims
  • Control access independent of location
  • Add security trimmings to the ribbon to control distribution
  • Provide secure document viewing with a zero footprint reader
  • Prevent downloads to desktop and mobiles
  • Lower the cost of managing sites

Book Signing with Chris McNulty!

Be one of the first 30 people to stop by our booth during the Lunch break from 12-12:40pm to receive a free signed copy of Chris’s latest book: SharePoint 2013 Consultant’s Handbook: A Practical Field Guide. Already have a copy? Bring it by for Chris to sign.

Speaking Session

Join our CTO, SharePoint MVP Chris McNulty, for his session:

Optimizing and Accelerating Your SharePoint Farm
Level: 300
Track: Advanced IT Pro
Time: 4:00 to 5:15pm

Join Chris for a review of memory and service optimization, high performance designs, disk and database optimization, security, and caching techniques to make things better. He’ll also review how to measure and interpret SharePoint’s own key performance indicators.

Decorative image of talking headTalk to Us

We welcome the opportunity to speak to you during the show about our award-winning HiSoftware Sheriff solutions to rein in compliance and secure collaboration in SharePoint.

  • Keep mission critical documents in SharePoint
  • Enforce governance and compliance policies
  • Secure document viewing and distribution control
  • Dynamic access and claims-driven permissions
  • Simplify Governance and Increase ROI
  • Built on SharePoint for ease of use and deployment

Interested in setting up a meeting or demo at the show?
Fill out a brief meeting request form or reply to this email with your preferred meeting date and time.

SharePoint 2013 Tips – Part 4 New Collaboration

Over the last few weeks, I’ve offered my advice for SharePoint 2013 collaboration discussing:

Today I’m discussing new collaboration.

New Collaboration

In 2003, working on documents in SharePoint was centered on the idea of “single occupancy vehicles”.  Much of the functionality was based on this sort of editing process:

  1. Original author writes a document
  2. Document version 1 uploaded to SharePoint
  3. First author sends an email to reviewers asking for updates
    1. First reviewer “checks out” the document
    2. Other people wait until the document “becomes available”
    3. First reviewer makes further edits
    4. Document checked back in (version 1.1)
    5. Edits are reviewed and approved
    6. Second reviewer checks out document, edits, checks in version 1.2)
    7. Process continues until document version 2.0 is published and updates are seen by :everyone”
    8. Additional document updates continue by returning to Step 3.

Chris McNulty Awarded Microsoft MVP Award for Second Year

Headshot of Chris McNulty, HiSoftware CTOIt is with great pleasure that I congratulate our CTO, Chris McNulty (@cmcnulty2000), for once again being awarded the Microsoft® MVP Award. Chris was first awarded the prestigious accolade in 2013 and has once again received it for 2014.

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is Microsoft’s way of saying thank you to exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others. It is part of Microsoft’s commitment to supporting and enriching technical communities. Even before the rises of the Internet and social media, people have come together to willingly offer their ideas and best practices in technical communities.

SharePoint’s Most Wanted Governance Offenders

Earlier this year, we asked you to tell us about the biggest offenders in SharePoint who are constantly putting their organizations at risk, bypassing governance and training, and whose bad habits are frustrating their co-workers. Meet the 5 Most Wanted characters we uncovered in our new infographic, and learn a few helpful tips to stop them in their tracks.

Infographic image of Most Wanted Offenders

Download a copy of the SharePoint’s Most Wanted Governance Offenders Infographic.


SharePoint 2013 Tips – Part 3 Branding SharePoint & ILM

To date in my SharePoint 2013 tips series I’ve discussed information architecture at scale, site sprawl and version control in part one and sharing and sending documents as well as storage in part two. Today’s third part of my series I’m discussing branding SharePoint and Information Lifecycle Management.

Decorating SharePoint

No more blue boxes. Literally.  SharePoint “branding” used to be a more esoteric science of hand tooled features and CSS files.  SharePoint 2010 introduced the seldom-used ability to define custom site themes by using PowerPoint.  That was an interesting step (no one ever used it), but now you can make key changes directly from the browser using Composed Looks.

With Composed Looks, a site owner can restyle a site with custom layouts, fonts, colors and background images.  Here’s the editing screen – you get here from the Site Settings menu option.  Or just pick “Change the look” from the setting “gear” icon in the top right of the screen.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Compliance

decorative images of fireworksAs we head into this Fourth of July weekend in the US, I started thinking about the Declaration of Independence and the well-known phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

This got me thinking about the industries we support and the many regulations our customers must comply with in order to keep their customers and employees personal information safe. These compliance regulations are designed to help to support the idea that you will be free to pursue your life in an information-driven, digital world —  without jeopardizing your privacy.

SharePoint 2013 Tips – Part 2 Sharing, Sending and Storage

Last week I published part one in my series on SharePoint 2013 collaboration focused on information architecture at scale, site sprawl and version control. Today I’m discussing sharing and sending documents as well as storage.

Sharing and sending

Redundant content proliferates when copying files is simpler than moving them.   As a result, in 2003 when users had documents to share with a broader audience, they would copy them to places those users had access, leaving behind older versions each time.

In 2013, there’s a better way.  When you save a document – to your Personal Site or a team site, you now have a simple way to share it with everyone – a Share menu item.   Share allows users to keep one version of the document, bringing new, selected users to it instead of shipping the document to the users.  And if users don’t have authorization to change permissions, Share requests are routed to administrators for approval. 

SharePoint 2013 Tips – Part 1 Scale, Sprawl and Control

Over the next five week’s I’ll offer advice and tips on SharePoint 2013 collaboration. Today’s blog focuses on information architecture at scale, site sprawl and version control.

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra

In many ways, that’s become SharePoint’s problem in its second decade.  We take it for granted.

Now, don’t feel bad for Microsoft.  SharePoint has an enviable track record of sustained double digit growth, with hundreds of millions of users on premises and in the cloud.  Now on its fifth major release, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint offers peerless document-centric storage and collaboration on a platform most enterprises already own.

It hasn’t been a seamless rise, though. The first version of SharePoint Portal Server 2001 offered web-based document storage, but it was primitive and low capacity.  It wasn’t until SharePoint 2003 that enterprises began moving substantial content from legacy file shares into SharePoint.

Screen shot of SharePoint Portal 2003SharePoint 2003, from

However, while the platform has continued to grow and evolve over the past decade, many business user expectations haven’t moved on from the days when Kid Rock ruled the music charts:

  • All documents on a site had the same permissions
  • One library per site
  • A different site for each kind of content
  • Documents described with naming and titles, not metadata
  • Maximum of 2 million documents

But that’s not SharePoint today.  Let’s look at some of the tools and tips that make it a far more powerful tool for collaboration.   Pretend that the last ten years never happened, and SharePoint 2013 is the first version of the platform you’ve used.  Where to start?  What have you missed in the last ten years?

Let’s get caught up.  We’ll start by looking at baseline changes in architecture, permissions, communications and versioning.  Then we’ll look at how you can add color to your documents with user interface design and metadata.  Finally, we’ll conclude with a review of SharePoint’s new collaboration features, like co-authoring.

SharePoint’s collaboration foundation

Information architecture at scale

Ten years ago, most SharePoint farms were organized as hierarchies, limited to Active Directory logins.   You had a corporate home page, a few departmental sites, and most “Team Sites” were temporary collaborative spaces, set up as children of a parent department.

  • Home Page (One big site collection)
    • US
      • HR
      • IT
        • Project1
    • Marketing
    • Department1
    • Department2
      • Team2
      • Project3
        • Project3 Archive
      • ProjectX
  • Europe
    • Etc.


SharePoint 2013, on the other hand, has the capacity to handle vastly increased amounts of content, and to have multiple libraries on the same site – with granular permissions possible for each document.   In addition, multiple hybrid authentication schemes leveraging “claims” make it possible to unify internal AD users and external stakeholders on the same sites.   These collaboration areas are likely to be independent site collections[1], so sharing there doesn’t require giving permission to child or parent sites.  It also allows for a “flatter” information architecture.

Getting rid of site sprawl

SharePoint ‘adoption’, at one point, was mostly about pointing people to the right subsection of the site.  And if there was another team that needed similar information, people copied those files to the other site.  In the example above, if the IT department was supporting ProjectX, it was likely that some of the ProjectX documents were added to the IT site to make them “easier to find”.  Many enterprises kept all their sites in one massive site collection – leading to great security complexity.  Also, because of authentication complexity, internal and external stakeholder seldom shared the same sites.

As a result, you’re more likely to see site structures like this:

  • Internal Home page
    • Divisions
      • US
      • EMEA
  • Departments
    • HR
    • IT
    • Marketing
    • Department1
    • Department2
    • Documents
    • Collaboration Home page (Web Application)
      • Projects (Managed path)
        • Project1 (Site collection)
        • Project3
        • ProjectX
  • Teams
    • Team2

In this example, the division and department sites are, more than likely, publishing content to be used INSIDE the enterprise.

Finally, SharePoint 2010 and 2013 introduced a new site template – the Document Center. Document Centers are designed to be large scale, common document repositories for 250,000 documents or more.  Whereas SharePoint 2003 required a new site for each library, leading to LOTS of small libraries, you can store thousands of documents in the same place, and use security, dynamic access, and filters to generate focused views of the content.

One version of the truth

SharePoint 2013 is a high capacity platform.  Expansions in SQL and storage optimization, along with tools like Remote BLOB Storage create nearly limitless capacity for enterprise documents – up to 4TB under the right conditions.    But that’s no reason to allow SharePoint to proliferate with redundant or obsolete content.

Have you ever seen a file share, or even a library, with files named:

  • 2009 Proposal
  • 2009 Proposal_AKedits
  • 2009 Proposal_Final

If you add those files to SharePoint, all three can be edited independently.  It’s far better to keep all three “linked” as part of one logical document.  Versioning can be enabled for any library in SharePoint, allowing you to see who edited the file, what changed, and when.  Once enabled, the context menu […] can bring you to the version history inside the browser.

Screen shot of SharePoint Version History

And once enabled, the versions are also surfaced inside Office 2013’s ‘Backstage” controls (the colored leftmost tab in the UI.

Screenshot of Versions and Check Out

From Office or the browser, you can review, compare, or rollback older versions.  In more advanced use cases, you can also require documents have to be “checked out” before editing – ensuring only one person can make changes at a time.  You can still maintain a clean interface because you’re not showing redundant copies of the same thing – but they’re all still there, stacked “behind” the current file in Version History.

In part two, I’ll look at sharing and sending documents as well as storage.

[1] Or you could use Dynamic Access and use metadata classification to define security.

HiSoftware CTO Chris McNulty to Speak at SharePoint Fest NYC

Decorative logo of I'm speaking at SharePoint NYCSharePoint MVP, Chris McNulty, will address best practices for SharePoint and Office 365 at SharePoint Fest NYC. McNulty, the CTO of HiSoftware Inc. a leading provider of compliance and security solutions for SharePoint, will be a panelist on the Keynote Expert Panel “Bridging the SharePoint Gap: On-Premise vs. Online vs. Hybrid,” as well as present multiple sessions on Mail Enhancements for Office 365 and hybrid Office 365 and on-premises environments at the SharePoint Fest NYC to be held June 18 – 20, 2014 at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

KEYNOTE: Expert Panel – “Bridging the SharePoint Gap: On-Premise vs. Online vs. Hybrid”

  • Dan Holme, MVP – Moderator
  • Ruven Gotz, MVP – Panel
  • Chris McNulty, MVP – Panel
  • Bob German, Author – Panel
  • Tom Resing, MVP MCM – Panel
  • Paul Stork, MVP MCM – Panel

Managing SharePoint Sprawl and Inherited Permissions – Webinar Wrap-Up

Image of too many locks on gate by Chris McNultyWe just wrapped up one of the largest webinars in HiSoftware’s history, “Reining in Sites and Permission with SharePoint”.  Let’s catch our breath.  And if you need to catch up, here it is.

As SharePoint has grown and matured over the years, so has its content.  For more than seven years, SharePoint has had the ability to apply item-level permissions to documents.  However, tactics that work well for a few hundred documents, are daunting for millions of mission critical documents.  Microsoft provides some native tools and techniques for managing capacity and governing unique permissions – but the result can still be almost untamable.

Our newest product, HiSoftware Site Sheriff™, solves many of these problems.  Among its highlights:

  • Dynamic access to content using business rules based on metadata and user claims.
  • “Deny” rules to ensure sensitive content is kept secure, regardless of local permissions in the library.
  • Controls the distribution and editing of documents by using a browser based secure viewer.
  • Limits user actions by dynamically trimming menus, ribbons and interfaces to precisely permitted actions.
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