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As environments like Web 2.0, enterprise collaboration, and virtualization become pervasive, business people are working together in ways previously unimaginable. The interconnectivity of these environments leads to greater employee productivity, while diminishing the importance of physical location - business people can be more productive than ever before, even when out of the office. Virtualization and collaboration enable organizations to innovate in new ways and rely more heavily on remote employees, contractors and consultants.

But how do organizations balance the business value of collaboration and virtualization with the reality of risk management and compliance? Opening up greater access from various devices certainly enhances productivity, but they also expose significant security issues. How can it be done in a manner that doesn't sacrifice business value and preserves as much of the egalitarian values of collaboration as possible? Let's take a look at some of the technologies that are unlocking hidden value in the enterprise and the new levels of exposure and risk these technologies bring.

Enterprise Collaboration

Collaboration is all about groups of people working on and sharing common content, including documents, data, and discussion forums. The beauty of collaboration is that it provides an environment for real-time revision tracking and provides alerts to content changes - empowering business users to work together in previously unforeseen ways. Typical forms of collaboration include file shares, discussion groups and project calendars.

One of the most popular collaborative tools in the market right now is Microsoft SharePoint, facilitating collaboration communications and content management. Industry pundits herald SharePoint as a key driver for Office 2007 sales, and its quickly being adopted in the enterprise. However, tools such as SharePoint bring new levels of exposure that have yet to be addressed by regulations or best-practice company policies. For instance, how do companies manage the risk from an identity and access management perspective when thousands of employee portals are cropping up without any checks and balances? With company sensitive documents being posted and shared, what controls are in place to ensure people only with proper access can view such information? While collaboration and its usage is viral by nature, there needs to be some level of access control that manages who is "collaborating" with potentially sensitive data and who is responsible for that data's use.


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