Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Advanced SharePoint Extranet Management: (ExCM) 2013 Advanced Features - User Automation

A couple of problems that SharePoint Server Administrators regularly encounter are:
(1) How can I know when an extranet user from a partner company leaves the company, and
(2) How can I avoid accumulating inactive accounts for users that no longer exist, which are just "sitting out there?"

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to keep up with the "comings and goings" of extranet users who are employees of partner companies.

But Extranet Collaboration Manager 2013 (ExCM) contains within it the capability of helping our clients with specific extranet user security needs like this.

The ExCM User Automation (UA) feature can be used to apply recurring policies to accounts residing in the ExCM user database. These policies are applied by a SharePoint Timer Job, which periodically inspects each account. UA can be used to expire user accounts based on attributes such as periods of inactivity or failure to update their password within a specified period, solving the problem of user "housekeeping."


You first need to enable the SharePoint Service object, which is used to provide farm-wide services and configuration data. To activate the service, open the SharePoint Management Shell and typed the following command:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Filter SharePoint People Picker to Increase Extranet Security

You have successfully configured your secure extranet (using Extranet CollaborationManager (ExCM)) ensuring that all permissions were set correctly and even configuring separate "roles" to keep your external users from being added to SharePoint Groups. Now, there is no way that an external user can gain access to anything they are not supposed to see, right? Wrong!

 If Samantha from your Human Resources Department needs to add Bobby Jones, from her Marketing Department, to a document and she uses the SharePoint People Picker to find the name, that external user could still show up and be given  permissions to the "internal eyes only" report. See the image below displaying both the intended internal Bobby Jones and the external Bobby@acme.com

Friday, April 18, 2014

SharePoint Extranet on Office 365 – Part 1

So you want to use SharePoint for an Extranet.  First, let’s briefly consider reasons you would want an extranet in case you are still on the fence.  Simply put, if you have a need to collaborate with people external to your company, such as clients, vendors, and/or customers, you need an extranet.  A surprising number of businesses still “collaborate” and share documents by emailing back and forth.  
I recently purchased a new home and the number of documents that had to be shared (and re-shared) via email was astounding.  What if they had a website we could just post the documents to, and track what was left for me to send, and have a calendar of all the important dates?  You get the idea.  SharePoint works great for collaborating and sharing information with non-employees of any kind.  It’s not just documents, it’s tasks, calendars, and so many more of those out of the box SharePoint features you can take for granted.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I can’t get the date for [Today] in SharePoint 2013

In my SharePoint 2013 Power User Fast Track class last week, a student asked if she could make a column display today’s date in SharePoint 2013.

This seemed simple enough using a calculated column, but then I discovered there is a restriction on calculated columns that forbids the use of the [Today] and [me] functions.  There are whole discussions on why this is the case, similar to this one. 

The simple explanation is that calculated columns don’t update until the individual item is updated. 

So what is the solution to this problem?  Well, the answer to that relies more on what your end goal really is.  If you want to be able to see items within a certain date range, then a view can work around this by using a simple filter like “deadline is less than [Today] +3”. This will show everything with a deadline of 3 days from now or less.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Automatically Assign Users to SharePoint Roles or Groups - Set Up Security Policies in ExCM

Frequently, an organization would like to be able to automatically assign extranet users to an Extranet Role as part of the ExCM invitation and self-service registration process.  ExCM includes a feature named “Security Policies” that is designed to make this possible.

Follow the steps below to take advantage of this capability:
1.       From Site Settings, click on Extranet Settings from the Extranet Management group: