Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Extranet Collaboration Manager (ExCM) Best Practices

When using SharePoint as an Extranet, you will have many options and decisions to make and we hope to share some insights that we have seen from several years of working on SharePoint Extranets day in and day out. Can you ignore some of these suggestions? Probably, but we only do this for a living… what do we know?

So, with that being said here is a list of our recommended best practices for installing and using ExCM. 

Separate Extranet Web Application

If your extranet will be hosted on the same SharePoint Farm as your Intranet, we recommend a separate web app for extranet. This is one of the first steps in creating a secure extranet that is also easy to use. You can follow our documentation on Setting up a Web Application for your Extranet.

Use SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate, commonly known by the name Secure Sockets Layer, is a standard security protocol that’s used to ensure the safety of transmitted data over the Internet. Basically, when you use SSL certificates, an encrypted link is created that protects the connection between a browser and a web server, or between computer systems. This means that your external user can type in a password and know that it is securely being transmitted. You would think this step would be self-explanatory, but we are including it as it has come up before. Why you should use an SSL.

Remove Intranet-related UI Elements from Extranet Sites

Not all of the out-of-the-box features of SharePoint are intended to be used in every use case. For Extranet use cases, there are several user interface (UI) elements and features that are primarily intended for Intranet use cases and therefore we recommend removing them from your Extranet web applications.

The Intranet-intended features that we recommend that you remove from your extranet web applications are:
* Links to Newsfeed, OneDrive, and Sites
* User Profile Service
* Links for Sharing, Following, and Client Synchronization
Below are some links to help you accomplish this in your environment.

Extranet Web Application

When implementing Extranet Calibration Manager (ExCM) 2016, 2013 or 2010, we recommend using an extranet web application that is configured to use multi-mode authentication (as opposed to using an extended web application, as was the common practice with SharePoint 2007/2010). Active Directory is used as the authentication provider for internal users (your employees) and the ASP.NET SQL Membership Provider is used for external users (your customer, vendor, or other collaboration business partners).

Where to install Extranet Collaboration Manager

Install and deploy ExCM 2016 or 2013 R2 on your Central Administration server AND the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application service must be started on that server and remain started.

Best Practices After Installing ExCM

·    Create a Root site collection as a general information site collection and a landing page
·    Create a separate site collection per external engagement (subsites for separate interaction with external engagement)
·    Turn on invitations
·    Bypass the sign in page for internal users 

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