It is clear that collaboration drives the modern enterprise.  Sharing documents and applications within the company, from the remote office, with trusted partners and customers, into the cloud, etc. – is crucial for most organizations today.

Collaboration is a key engine for success, regardless of which industry or part of the world you’re in.  And, whether its deployed on-premises or as hosted cloud service, the new SharePoint 2010 is the ideal business collaboration platform to connect people within the enterprise and beyond. 

Of course, ensuring valuable information is safe against accidental loss, theft and malicious software is no trivial exercise in the world of cloud computing and cross-company collaboration.  Information is the lifeblood of any organization and it must be secured.   In his blog Gartner vice president Neil MacDonald wrote about the “tearing down of walls between businesses and the opening up of our information, processes and systems to outside parties – whether these are contractors, outsourcers, partners and customers. Nearly every enterprise I speak with is being asked to enable and foster secure collaboration with external entities.”

The video below provides a great overview of how five of the largest aerospace-defense companies use a cloud-based SharePoint solution from a company called Exostar.  It helps them work together on sensitive defense projects even when, as a BAE executive says, “We are collaborators in the morning and competitors in the afternoon.”

Watch the video: http://www.microsoft.com/showcase/en/US/details/b28dfc90-0b6f-422e-9e51-ded9e604dfb0

Working with companies like Exostar and many others, Microsoft has learned a great deal about secure collaboration.  Based on this, I thought I would share our top five recommendations to help companies strike the right balance of risk management and productive collaboration. 

• Be a Team Player:  Build a virtual team across security, content, identity and business managers for a holistic approach.

• Strive for Defense-in-Depth:  Apply strong anti-malware on SharePoint, in addition to anti-malware on PCs and servers.

• Extend the Power of Identity:  Identity is at the center of good security.  Apply interoperable technologies to manage and federate identities across company boundaries and into the cloud (e.g. Single Sign-On).

• Go the Extra Mile to Protect Your Information Lifeblood:  Use rights management policies and technology to keep sensitive content out of the wrong hands.

• Be Cloud-Ready:  Investigate your cloud vendor’s security measures.  Choose technologies that bridge in-house and cloud systems.

Related to this, today we are announcing new components of our  secure collaboration solutionForefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint and Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 (ADFS 2.0).  These new technologies provide essential building blocks for secure collaboration.  They also represent great progress for what we call our Business Ready Security strategy to help enterprise customers manage risk and enable productivity. 

Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint is deeply integrated with SharePoint Server 2010, preventing employees from uploading or downloading infected docs, inappropriate content, or sensitive information.  Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 is a no-cost download for Windows Server.  It enables easier, more secure access to applications on-premises and in the cloud, as well as collaboration within the enterprise and across organizational boundaries.  ADFS 2.0 lets companies apply their existing on-premises identities to the cloud. 

Learn more here.

Posted by JG Chirapurath
Senior Director, Identity and Security Business Group