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Townsend Security Data Privacy Blog

Securing Data in Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Posted by Patrick Townsend on Mar 6, 2012 1:05:00 PM

“I’m scared to death about what my users are putting into SharePoint!”

SharepointThis is what a Database Administrator said to me recently when I attended a SQL Saturday event on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. And I’m hearing that a lot from IT directors and CIOs in the financial and medical sectors. Microsoft SharePoint is a wonderful collaboration tool, and it supports a number of versions and deployment options. These options run the gamut from free versions that ship with Windows Server, to versions tailored to the Microsoft Office suite of applications, to web portals. And an industry has grown up around installing, customizing, and hosting SharePoint.

But IT managers are sweating about the risk of data loss. And they have reason to be afraid.

We know that users are creative about circumventing written policies about data security. Ever look at an audit of user passwords? It’s a good bet that “Password1” is the most common password on your network. It has upper and lower case letters, and at least one number. And even good employees can accidentally violate security policy. We ask a lot of our colleagues and security is often not on the top of their consciousness. So how likely is it that users are following your security policy requirement NOT storing sensitive data in SharePoint?

Somewhere close to zero.

And that’s why IT managers have good reason to be concerned. And that’s one reason why the uptake of SharePoint collaboration runs into resistance in the financial and medical segments.

Fortunately, Microsoft added some important security features to SharePoint 2010. One of those is support for Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) when you use SQL Server 2008 as the storage mechanism for SharePoint. The great thing about TDE is that it is easy to implement. You get good encryption performance, separated key management, and a high level of automation. Your IT staff can deliver it with a minimum of fuss and delay.

Will encryption with TDE solve all of the SharePoint security concerns? No. But it will protect you from data loss in the event of a lost backup or hard drive, and a server breach that just steals a copy of the database or log files won’t compromise your data. That’s one big step in the right direction.

Take a look at our encryption key management solution built for Microsoft SQL Server. You can start to build the confidence you and your management team needs to move forward with SharePoint collaboration, and at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable time frame.

For even more information, view our webinar “Encryption Key Management with Microsoft SQL Server.”  See how easy it can be to implement strong key management and hear what hundreds of attendees learned at PASS last week.


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Topics: Alliance Key Manager, SQL, SharePoint

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