Building Secure Collaboration Extranets

While it's becoming more and more important to be able to connect and collaborate with partners, customers and organizations external to your own, it's IT's job to make sure this is done securely, without compromising company assets or systems. This can be a bit challenging. That's why I'm excited to see that the Extranet Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint has been released as Beta on the Microsoft Connect site. Here's a description of the toolkit from the team that developed it:

"The Extranet Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint provides authoritative guidance and tools to deploy a pre-built, customizable SharePoint solution that teams can use to collaborate with partners outside the firewall.  The toolkit has a web-based interface, so it’s easy to use.

Using this free toolkit, Administrators can set up a secure, SharePoint-based collaboration site in minutes.  End users can then easily create new site collections, posting sharable documents that are centrally located inside the firewall.  The toolkit also enables users to invite internal and external partners to collaborate on documents.  And the toolkit makes it simple for team leads to assign or revoke access rights for any team member.

IT Pros can stay in control by configuring the system to require administrative approval for any of these actions.  Or they can allow end users to set up and manage collaboration sites on their own—freeing up scarce IT resources to focus on higher-value projects.

The Extranet Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint helps enhance security by creating each collaboration site as a SharePoint site collection. This ensures that teams using one collaboration site will not be able to view documents on another site, unless they are explicitly given access.  In addition, the toolkit puts all external users in ADAM (Microsoft’s lightweight directory service), rather than in the organization’s primary internal directory."

This is one of many Solution Accelerators that have been developed to help take some of the guesswork out of deployments of Microsoft technologies.

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