Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Configure ExCM Password to Meet Corporate Complexity

One of my favorite help desk stories is the lady that was attempting to use “DocDopeySneezySleepyGrumpyBashfulHappy” as her password. When asked about it she stated, “Because it had to include 7 characters.”

These days, you would at least need to throw Snow White in there as well because most places require at least 8 characters… and do not get me started on alpha numeric and at least one special character with no repeating characters!
As an IT guy, I have been the recipient of a tongue lashing from a few “less-than-happy” end users, when I informed them that the password they were attempting to use does not meet their companies’ complexity policy. I have also spent the better part of 20 minutes informing a user that the word “Window” does in fact have a repeating character in it. Wouldn’t it be easier if we did not have end users passwords? But I do not think that either is going away anytime soon, so the best we can do is make it as easy as possible (or, at the very least, less likely that users will call us with password issues).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Create Random String in InfoPath Form

     A question came up in class this week during our SharePoint InfoPath and Workflow Deep Dive.
     How do we create a random string in InfoPath?  The background is that one of the students wants to use an InfoPath form for access requests.  The form would submit to a SharePoint Library which would then e-mail the approver.  A confirmation code would be created by the form and forwarded to the user once the request was approved.
     Well, unfortunately there is not a function that will allow us to magically create a random number so we're going to have to put some effort into creating a pseudo random string.

SharePoint Site Provisioning and Governance Assistant Free Edition 5-minute Feature Video

Aaron Wood, our Manager of Software Engineering and Support, created a 5-minute video to highlight the features you get with SPGA Free Edition.

(FYI, there is truly no "catch" with SPGA Free Edition.  We would like to see more companies benefiting from automated SharePoint site provisioning (with proper governance) and have decided to adopt a "Freemium" model from here on out with the product.  If the Free Edition features are all you need, then you can install and use the product on-premises with free permanent license key(s), forever.  And yes, you can run it on multiple servers in a farm.  And yes, we do sell annual support agreements, for professionally-staffed ticket-based technical support, for those companies that desire to have paid support on the Free Edition.)

Here is the video:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Using SPGA’s Governance Features – Automating Change Requests, such as Adding Users to SharePoint Groups

The letters SPGA stand for Site Provisioning and Governance Assistant. There is certainly a lot of governance that is covered in the initial site provisioning process, such as always having proper approvals, and having the sites stamped out to your exact specifications each time without failure. To paraphrase something SharePoint MVP Dan Holme said at SPC 14:

If a policy isn’t enforced by the technology, it’s not a policy, it’s a guideline.
This is exactly what SPGA does, it uses technology to enforce your governance standards. While most purchase SPGA for its ease of site provisioning, while maintaining those governance standards, what about activities that occur post-site creation (i.e. end user change requests)?
The single most important post-site creation item that comes to mind for most organizations, would be adding users to groups. If you care about governance in your environment, you probably have some policies regarding who gets access to what. If you allow your users access to maintain their own groups, how is the technology enforcing those policies? It’s probably not, so they are just guidelines.

Here are a few top benefits of using SPGA to manage your group membership:
  • Your SharePoint environment will be more secure than ever because you can now easily ensure that you’ll never have unauthorized access to a site
  • For the first time ever, you can use approval workflows to approve security modifications.
  • You can finally answer the previously unanswerable question, “how did user X get access to the HR site?” 
This article will detail how to create a SPGA Request Profile, for adding users to groups on their site.
Besides the governance process mentioned above, I’ll give you two more benefits of using SPGA to add users to groups. First, how many times are your SharePoint administrators called because a site owner has removed their own access to the site trying to modify permissions? I’ve been there, I know it happens. Managing permissions in SharePoint can be complicated to those that don’t manage permissions frequently.

Monday, July 07, 2014

SharePoint Site Provisioning and Governance Assistant (SPGA) Free Edition - Installation and Demo Video

A couple of weeks ago, we released the Free Edition of SharePoint Site Provisioning and Governance Assistant (SPGA 2010 and 2013).  You can read about it here if you missed the announcement.

We also recorded the webinar that we recorded last week about the new product.  Here is a 30 minute excerpt that we uploaded to YouTube that gives you a quick overview of the product and an actual installation and usage demo.  The live demo starts 3 minutes and 10 seconds into the clip: