Tech tools emerge to customize collaboration portals

In upgrading their collaboration tools, there are those who would eliminate e-mail on the grounds it is an unsafe mechanism for sharing sensitive information.

Consider the case of  federal, state and local law enforcement officers, who need to share vital information.

The Homeland Security Department’s intelligence and analysis division allows state and local intelligence analysts to share data via a virtual portal powered by Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration and file sharing software.


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The portal allows these analysts to work within their own department but also to access the portal to share intelligence information. Once they are vetted by DHS, state and local intelligence analysts go through a credentialing process to validate they are part of the intelligence community.

However, problems occur when an intelligence analyst posts to the portal but also sends a documents via e-mail to other analysts who need the information. “That is where you introduce data leakage,” said Pirooz Javan, CEO of Easy Dynamics, a technology consulting company that is working with DHS.

To address the problem, the Easy Dynamics introduced a tool called EasyBox that allows analysts to view their mail from within SharePoint, thus assuring that only those who have permission rights are viewing the content. EasyBox has the “the ability to take e-mail out of the picture because it is an un-secure platform,” Javan said.  

More tools like EasyBox are now available to extend the capabilities of SharePoint and to ease migration of a collaboration platform to the enterprise or the cloud, Javan said. Going from an environment where SharePoint is used in smaller workgroups to the enterprise is like moving from a loose environment to one with tighter controls and more structure.

“We try to classify content so we understand the unknown content,” Javan noted.

Easy Dynamics is using migration tools such as AvePoint’s DocAve to move the Custom and Border Protection’s SharePoint installation – a 1.6 terabyte system -- to the Hewlett-Packard multi- tenant cloud environment.

Tools like DocAve allow the company to unlock next generation collaboration features, Javan said. Microsoft upgrades your content and allows you to do business the way you’ve been doing it, Pirooz said. However, new tools allows developers to set up such environments in the way they want to do business and migrate the content separately.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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