Monday, December 22, 2014

New White Paper Addresses Extranet Security Best Practices

In using SharePoint as an extranet platform, one of the first decisions that IT pros face is where to store the extranet user accounts. Which alternative makes the most sense?

This is the topic which our new white paper, The Case for Using Forms-Based Authentication (FBA) and the SQL Membership Provider for Implementing a SharePoint Extranet, addresses.

The paper can be downloaded from the PremierPoint Solutions website.

An extranet is like an intranet which can be accessed from anywhere on the Internet.

Because the extranet is accessible from the Internet, the need for iron-clad security is paramount. Just as important is the need for users to be able to access and use the extranet easily.

But can both of these seemingly opposing goals really be achieved?

According to the white paper, these ostensibly conflicting goals can be achieved by using FBA and the SQL Membership Provider in on-premises SharePoint.

Using FBA and SQL Membership Provider together is fast, easy, secure and extensible. Other solutions can be expensive and require separate hardware. They also are more difficult to implement and more time consuming.

Some organizations want to store the extranet user accounts in their Active Directory. But this approach is not recommended because:
  • it requires too much administrative overhead to manage user accounts, passwords and profile information on top of their company’s Active Directory users, and
  • most organizations want to have a security separation to keep non-employees out of their company’s Active Directory, which means a place would be required to store these external users
Using FBA and SQL Membership Provider fills the bill on both counts. Because FBA is built into SharePoint, a company only needs to check a box and fill in two boxes to enable FBA in a SharePoint environment – easy to implement, easy to use, and watertight.

PremierPoint Solutions’ Extranet Collaboration Manager for SharePoint Server and Foundation (ExCM) is a SharePoint add-in that provides the easy extranet collaboration and simplified extranet administration that SharePoint is missing in the out-of-the-box product. When ExCM is combined with FBA and SQL, the result is a comprehensive extranet solution.

You can download the white paper here.

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