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The Problem with Leveraging SharePoint Records Management Services in Office365

The big question is, considering Office 365, where is Records Management fitting in? The old news is that SharePoint 2010 RM is not registering good performance within the e-discovery space. However, this is not considered a hindrance by most organizations.

SharePoint site migrationIt is a fact that IT is capable of pulling the objects which are essential to cater to the counsels’ expectations with respect to its own SOP or standard operating procedure, which generally incorporates a third party software. E-discovery has been performed by information technology more regularly and far longer than implementation of electronic retention by RM.

Automation is great
SharePoint 2010 RM services are capable of beautifully automating records declaration. They can be deployed successfully through mapping the records retention schedule across SharePoint 2010 RM.

The content types pertaining to the series can be holistically leveraged across site collections, followed by attachment of information policies. Then the indexing services to be run at particular intervals are recalculated.

The future hazards
Off-the-shelf SharePoint 2010 RM services are being trusted by corporate records programs. In an age where Records programs are entirely suspended or drastically squeezed, this is a quite inexpensive option for automated records declaration.

Since Office 365 lacks a related Records Center template, it is possible for the program to be vulnerable. The absence of automation can damage the program’s reputation. In case automated records declaration is leveraged in SharePoint also, the same might as well be in trouble.

What are the choices?
The necessities of the information architecture going beyond records policy amount to a textbook dilemma. Considering the case of information professionals, the design choice comes up with potentially long-term as well as negative connotations. In case an organization has automated records declaration through SP 2010 and its department of Information Technology is looking forward to embrace cloud services, it is a difficult choice. Deconstruction can be followed by manual records declaration implementation or the services of third party experts might be sought for devising something new.

Perhaps the best option in doing nothing in this particular case. First, something or the other will ultimately break. Secondly, this is a department that thinks forwardly and hence it cannot be visualized as restricting to one particular solution due to the lack of options. Thirdly, the employee turnover happens to be so high that the future administrator tends to lose all context pertaining to the architecture. Fourthly, retention schedules are subject to change and so unraveling of the Center for reconstruction in accordance with the new schedule is an enormous concern.

Manual records retention can also be considered as an option. However, it is an inferior one:

  • In-Place RM exists till today within Office 365, although it has been reduced to a mere status symbol. A one or a zero, which implies that either the record exists or it does not. In fact, the option for management of the same from the back-end is not available with the Administrator. The good news is that interaction with the end users is possible. On the other hand, the bad news is that until and unless the C-level stresses on and communicates its requirement, end users would definitely have to time for annual review. Destruction does not take place.
  • For devising out-of-the-box manual RM services within Office 365, the best way is the creation of a Records sub-site for each site collection. In every ways, the same folders should be used as are planned for the SP 2010 Records Center. The content types may be bypassed entirely and the same information policies may be used directly behind every folder.

Those objects which are required to be declared as records can be copied from the major site collection pages to the Records sub-site’s suitable folder. Since it is the case of a copy (wherein move is not available), the metadata changes should be noted and the peer should return to the original object for deleting it.

For initiation of a solution, the help of a third party may always be solicited. On one hand, it is being demonstrated that you need a compromise. Migration to the cloud cannot be hindered. On the other hand, you wish to make use of your cordial partnership with IT very meticulously at this point. Since Records is your project, it should not go to the backseat, being assigned with cleaning up legacy data.

On the positive side
In case you are going for RM in Office 365, the positive point is that it is convenient to edit retention periods. As discussions are held with each peer for planning of their folder structures, the maps need to be edited. It should be explained why and how folders pertaining to every site collection are a component of a bigger process-oriented schedule. Moreover, site permissions need to be unraveled for rebuilding them. After all, there is once more the opportunity to describe the mission as well as the significance of the program. As your IT department gears up for handling 2014 projects, it’s a great idea to seize the moment for RM in Office 365.

If you were to attempt a SharePoint site migration project to Office365, understanding of these choices and pros and cons would ensure a successful migration.

We provide SharePoint bespoke development services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Top 8 Ways to Mitigate Risks in SharePoint Deployment

Deployment of the useful web application development platform of SharePoint involves certain risks. The SharePoint sites, which primarily include the SharePoint Online and the hosted SharePoint farms, have high chances of falling prey to some of the serious content security risks. Considering the fact that SP Online is highly preferred by all types of enterprises today for regulation of data, securing this data is a dire necessity. In fact, organizations are often found facing certain problems when it comes to maintaining the security of the data in SharePoint. The risks need to be mitigated without any wastage of time to ensure smooth work flow.

SharePoint bespoke developmentHere is a brief overview of the risks involved in SP deployment along with the possible ways of reducing their effects.

1. Less Awareness about SharePoint Content

The lack of awareness about SP content is a prominent risk in the deployment of this particular web application development platform. The two main ways of spreading increased awareness are implementation of the governance guidelines along with providing of content classification. The end users should be trained accordingly for performing periodic scans of content. Teams also have the option of making use of the SP metadata as well as workflows to pass the sensitive information to the secure locations.

2. Failing to Secure the Content in SP Servers, Transit and Endpoints

Securing the content in the SharePoint servers as well as endpoints is necessary. Enterprises must make it a point to implement solutions that ensure the security of the content on the SP servers as well as the backups through access control and encryption. Additionally, the teams should also go for a whole-disk encryption for endpoints and most essentially, laptops. The SSL encryption for data in transit should also be enabled by the security administrators.

3. Misconfiguration of the Access Controls and Permissions

This is yet another risk that often poses a problem in the deployment of SharePoint. The solution lies in auditing the existing SharePoint permissions and then reviewing or creating of the corporate access control policies. Following this, the SP permissions should be aligned with the corporate directory services, by which, the administrators can get an idea about the usage of inheritance as well as unmanaged item-level permissions.

4. SP Platform Security Risks

The SharePoint platforms need to be hardened by means of disabling the ports as well as services that are not essential to the functioning of the platform. Regular patching apart from whitelisting of applications also helps in reducing the risks of platform security.

5. Failing to Limit the Administrator and Service Accounts

One essential way in which the risk of failing to limit the administrator as well as service accounts can be reduced is by limiting the privileges on service accounts. Disabling the install account and not using the shared administrator accounts are other prominent ways of mitigating this particular risk.

6. SP System Architecture and Network Configuration Issues

The system architecture as well as network configuration issues related to the SharePoint can be reduced by putting a dedicated SP web front end in a DMZ and by making use of a single-function-per-server approach. Hardening of the SP, OS as well as the database as per the best practices is also highly recommended.

7. Issues Related to SP and Malware

Risks arising from SharePoint as well as Malware can be solved by implementation of the server malware solution along with a regular updating of the anti-virus definitions.

8. Difficulty in Performing Backups and Providing DR Capability

The only possible way in which this problem can be solved is by performing annual backups as well as tests and restoring them on a regular basis.

Managing the above-mentioned security risks through an application of the appropriate security controls helps in reducing the level of content security as well as compliance risks in SP to a great extent. If you were to attempt a SharePoint site migration project, understanding of these best practices would ensure a successful migration.

We provide SharePoint bespoke development services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint programmers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Migrating from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2013- Don’t Miss Out on these 10 Tips

The much popular and preferred web application development platform, SharePoint, comes up in newer versions at frequent intervals. Business entrepreneurs need to update themselves with the upgraded technology to ensure deriving the maximum benefits out of the applications, devices and platforms. SharePoint is undoubtedly one among the most beneficial technological advancements that affects business operations and increases the overall level of efficiency to a great extent.

SharePoint site migrationMigrating from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2013 is interesting as well as challenging. The process involving SharePoint site migration is also complex at the same time though the complexity depends upon the kind of customization available. Many of the SharePoint environments are often integrated with the external systems by means of the Business Connectivity Services or the custom connectors. The complex environments often pose challenges to the process of migration and it is here that few factors need to be taken into consideration. Here is a list of tips on executing a successful migration from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2013.

1. Following a 2-Step Approach

Migration of content from the SharePoint 2007 to 2013 version is a two- way process in cases where no 3rd party tools are used. The first step is to upgrade MOSS to a temporary 2010 version by means of database attach and the second is to move the content to the 2013 version in very much the same process. Third Party tools like that of the AvePoint can also be made use of. Cleaning up the content prior to the migration is equally essential.

2. Migrating the Code

Migration of the code is an important step that has to be done manually as, the code is a primary component in migration. The prevalent code has to be evaluated and analyzed in details before building the overall solution or migrating the code. It is necessary to analyze a lot many things to find out if they work with newest version of SharePoint. These include the code- based customizations, third- party tools, add- ins, web parts and so on.

3. Determine the Functionality of the Customization

The process revolving around the migration, as already said, is quite complex, which calls for the fact that certain customizations might not work out in the desired manner. Now, for customizations that are necessary but turn out to be incompatible, the cost as well as the efforts that need to be put into it have to be considered. Ensure remediating the customization in every possible way, for instance, reusing the core source to avoid reinventing the wheel and thereby, reducing the cost and effort.

4. Make the Customization Ready for All Versions

Whenever the remediation is done, the customization becomes applicable for not just the 2013 version but also the 2010 version of SharePoint. One must ensure that the customization is actually ready for all versions.

5. Consider the Permission and Authentication Model

When it comes to the Migration, special emphasis needs to be put into the new security model for building the entire solution with greater efficiency. It is advisable for anyone to do the permission migration and code migration separately. This helps in isolating and identifying the particular permission related issues that are likely to occur.

6. End User Training and Adoption

Moving users from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010 requires training the users to enable them discover the difficult aspects of using SP 2013. The entire IT department of a business enterprise must become familiar enough with the usage of the newest mode of this web application development platform. Effective training paves the way for familiarity of the system and this in turn, leads to a better use of the development platform.

7. Finding Out Sites Customized with SharePoint Designer

It is necessary to determine as to what had been done with the sites that were customized with the SharePoint Designer. The URLs as well as the site owners with the few ‘one off’ sessions need to be identified to find out what actually had been done with them.

8. Installing or Upgrading to the SQL Server

Apart from upgrading to the Windows Server 2012, installing a new SQL server 2012 or upgrading to the SQL server 2008 is rather necessary. It is equally necessary to determine as to whether the SQL Server 2005 box had been dedicated to the SP or if there were other databases installed in it in clusters.

9. Considering the Power Users

Any business enterprise going for a migration must have some power users, who are particularly adept in handling this advanced web application development platform. There will be several requests for the automation of paper- based processes. Experts will facilitate deriving the maximum ROI on the business process automation.

10. Upgrading to the Microsoft Office 2010

The point is apparently but is often missed out by many. To provide a perfect user experience following the migration, upgrading to the Microsoft Office 2010 is essential to help in the training for the upgrade.

The above- mentioned tips allow for not just a successful migration but also making it useful for the business enterprises.

We provide SharePoint bespoke development services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint programmers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Introducing MVC Support for Apps for SharePoint

SharePoint, which has already established itself as one of the most popular and preferred web application development platforms, works more effectively when incorporated with certain apps. Apps are those powerful website applications that add to the effectiveness of the platforms. These days, the ASP.NET.MVC has become a preferred mode of project application.

SharePoint portal developmentASP.NET.MVC offers web developers with several advantages. To begin with, it comes up with a really pattern- based and powerful platform that allows easy building of dynamic websites. These websites, in turn, pave the way for separating different aspects such as that of the view, model and controller of the app. At the same time, the app provides full control over markup to offer a good experience of development.

SharePoint portal development with MVC as a remote project requires one to follow a two-step process. Firstly, this particular sort of project development needs to be created and secondly, one has to engage in what can be considered as the ‘app-etizing’ of the concerned web project. This is done with the purpose of adding an application for SharePoint.

When an auto-hosted or provider- hosted app for SharePoint is created in the Preview of the Visual Studio 2013, you get the option of choosing the type of the web application project. Once the procedure is accomplished and you click on the Finish button, the Visual Studio automatically takes up the following tasks:

  • Creation of the application for the project
  • Creation of the MVC website application project
  • Addition of the SharePoint-references to the said project
  • Addition of helper classes to that of the particular project

A working app for SharePoint with this advanced sort of web app is now ready. The following steps would encompass pressing F5 to debug the app. Now, Visual Studio deploys this app for SharePoint to the site of the specified developer. This is accompanied by a starting of the Internet Information Services or IIS Express and finally, running of your MVC website application. A browser is then opened to the home page of the app, in this case, the particular app that we are talking about.

A default template is created out of the box and it comes with the About, Home and Contact pages apart from some sample code. These sample code show you the way of interacting with SharePoint. The code helps in the creation of a client context for the host web while also retrieving the current user name, which is displayed in the home page.

The MVC website application project also offers a set of APIs, which involves a series of steps for the web project to communicate to SharePoint in a rather smooth manner and that too, in a single call. The SharePoint context filter takes up the additional processing for getting standard information when redirected from SharePoint to the remote web application, for instance, Host Web URL. Additionally, it also determines as to whether the application has to be redirected to SharePoint for the user to sign in. This is particularly applicable in case of bookmarks. This filter can be applied either for the purpose of viewing or to the controller.

The context classes of SharePoint incorporate all the data and information so that one can quite easily create particular contexts for the app web as well as the host web directly and thereby communicate with the platform. The introduction of the MVC support for apps turns out to be of substantial help provided that one is aware of the right ways of engaging in the process.

We provide SharePoint development services. If you would like to hire SharePoint developer from our team, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

The Power of HTML5 and CSS3 in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 has ushered in a number of changes in the manner in which developers tend to build as well as implement branding packages. The largest changes that have taken place incorporate the capabilities of CSS3, HTML5, as well as the Design Manager. With the help of these tools for development, SharePoint branding experts are able to come up with unique and dynamic designs for the environment.

SharePoint 2013 mobile development

The new features of HTML5 constitute the following:

  • The < audio > and < video > elements in the default player of the browser for media browser.
  • Support rendered to local storage (capability of reading content offline along with the potential for using web applications)
  • Fresh content-oriented elements, such as < section >, < nav >, < header >, < footer > and < article >. These tags facilitate enhanced SEO content indexing, standardization and organization with respect to all designs.

One of the significant things is that HTML5 allows developers to focus on the greatest number of devices with considerably lesser amount of effort towards development. HTML5 comes up as a universal language for every device, whether it is a SmartPhone or a wide screen desktop monitor.

Along with HTML5, a greater number of branding options are opened up in CSS3. The options in CSS3 include the following:

  • Font file references are allowed to render within a live environment with the help of @font-face property
  • The capability of making rounded corners over a number of objects including boxes is enabled by the border-radius.
  • Generation of a shadow over elements which are customizable as per the preferences of developers.
  • Proportional sizing coupled with dynamic width facilitates adjustment to manifold screen sizes. This is of immense significance as it provides developers the capability of using responsive web design. Development of a responsive website involves the utilization of a number of components. These assist the developer in creating designs which possess dynamic widths and are also capable of re-sizing proportionally depending upon the resolution of the screen or the device size.

Responsive web design is in fact a flexible grid that helps in creation of a layout which expands as the page increases in size. The design of this flexible grid takes place in terms of proportions. In this case, as the re-sizing of a window takes place, every element within the layout undergoes re-sizing of their width with respect to one another. This is done with the help of CSS3 Media Queries that involve the rendering of a web page depending upon certain conditions like screen resolution.

One of the important feature concerning a responsive website is that fixed pixel size should not be given to anything, not even images or other media.

In fact, SharePoint 2013 offers branding developers a number of options while designing the SharePoint environment. However, there are some specific factors which can be questioned so far as responsive web design is concerned.

  • Money and time: The question lies in the fact whether the required money and the time is available for building an intricate grid system with the help of HTML5 and CSS3. If the same is not available, the best option is going for something that is increasingly out of the box.
  • Browser Support: It is to be understood whether the project needs a design which will only be used on a laptop or desktop, or a design compatible with mobile phones, tablets, and other devices is required. Another point in question is whether more web browsers like Safari, Firefox or Chrome are required instead of Internet Explorer.
  • Performance: Is the project in need of a design that will be used for a long period of time, or the design would be changed by the organization every few years?
  • Content: The amount of content that the site will incorporate should be decided.
  • Web Application and Website: You need to consider whether the project requires a website for every device, or a totally distinct web application that can be used on Smart Phones and tablets with different functionality.

Getting the answers to all these questions will enable developers to efficiently determine how they can utilize the new tools offered by sharepoint 2013 mobile development platform, in short SP 2013.

We provide sharepoint portal development services. If you would like to discuss with a certified sharepoint developer from our team, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Steps to create a SharePoint 2013 App with Ruby on Rails

The SharePoint model is quite new to everybody and the recent launch of the 2013 version had made it even more ambiguous to developers around the world. Now, when it comes to creating an application pertaining to the software with Ruby on Rails, most developers seem to have a tough time in embracing the appropriate approach. Well, here is a guide for all Rails developers looking forward to creating an app successfully on the particular framework. However, please note that this particular guide should never be used as the best practice of Ruby on Rails development.

SharePoint 2013 mobile developmentWell, before beginning the process, you must register a new application in Office 365. Ensure that a Site Collection has been created by making use of the Developer Site Template. This can be done from the Office 365 admin screens. Following the creation of the same, browse site collection and register the SharePoint application with Office 365 as well as Azure Access Control Services (ACS). For any sort of development purpose, the registration of the new app can be easily done through appregnew.aspx page present within Office 365. Since there is no such link available for the actual page, you need browse the URL directly.

Always remember that since the registration of the application is done through appregnew.aspx, the secret of the particular app will only be known by the ACS and you. Therefore, the series of characters that will be generated will be specifically used for decoding information coming from ACS/SharePoint. Always make sure to take note of the id of the app, as you will not be having any access of the same again.

Since the application will be only used for testing and development purposes, registering it through appregnew.aspx comes across as a wise choice. If there arises a need of making the app thoroughly and widely available or list in the official store of SharePoint, then an account must be registered at the Seller Dashboard.

1. Visual Studio

The next step of work rests with Visual Studio where an application package must be created, which would eventually be uploaded to SharePoint. To make this happen, you need to follow the following steps:

  • Open Visual Studio (through ‘Run as Administrator’) for creating a new project. Go for project creation using the template ‘App for SharePoint 2013’. You will find this under the SharePoint /Office project node.
  • Following this, you will be asked about the type of SharePoint app that you would like to create. Always remember to offer your app a similar name to that you have given in the appregnew.aspx and submit the URL of the Developer site collection. Ensure choosing an application type of Provider – hosted as the hosting model.
  • In the last screen, leave the top option by selecting ‘Use a client secret’. Once, you click on the button OK, you will get to see the creation of 2 projects in Solution Explorer.
  • It is to be noted that the first project usually implies to the SharePoint App that generates the application package. This particular app will be uploaded.
  • The following step requires you to double click AppManifest.xml that consists of all the details related to the app. Upon opening the Manifest Designer, you need to remember to insert some specific values.

Always remember that the application needs to take permissions for being able to read and write data to the SharePoint site where the application is installed. This can be easily done through the permission tab. All you need to do is request just the permission that is actually needed. Always note that the more permission the app would request, the more it will run the risk of not being installed as users will be concerned about the security risk. Always remember to save and then close the AppManifest designer.

2. Ruby on Rails and Apple MacOS

To be able to work with SharePoint 2013, there stands a requirement of installing Ruby Gems to make things easier. Here is a look at the needs:

  • jwt – this helps in decoding the JSON web token that emerges from the application software
  • rest-client – this enables placing rest requests
  • nokogiri – a library that helps querying XML that is usually returned from the SharePoint

the next step of action lies in creating a new application based on Ruby on Rails in your preferred code folder. All you need to do is type into Terminal. Rails is now ready for getting a MVC web application.

Open the gemfile and under the gem stated as ‘jquery-rails’, integrate the gems that were downloaded as pre-reqs.

  • gem ‘jwt’
  • gem ‘rest-client’
  • gem ‘nokogiri’

This particular step is quite similar to the task of adding new reference in Visual Studio assembly.

3. Https Configuration

You must have noticed that while registering the application in appregnew.aspx, a Redirect URL is set that is https://localhost:3001. The app will be making use of the OAuth for being able to authorize the user and the application. Remember, that the for ensuring OAuth specification, both ends of communication must be https. After all, you would definitely not want any poor interception of unencrypted tokens to be transmitted over the Internet and have an access to the Office 365 or SharePoint site. Rails usually make use of WEBric, which is developed in web server. This is quite similar to the IISExpress of the Visual Studio.

To get the SharePoint 2013 mobile development right, you would have to follow the steps above. Then hopefully, you will be able to successfully create a SharePoint app with Ruby on Rails.

We provide SharePoint portal development services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our expert SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.