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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

External Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint

Do your customers need tools to more easily and securely collaborate with others across the Internet?
Every day, your customers collaborate on key projects with partners, suppliers, and others across the Internet. To be successful, project teams must regularly share important documents with these outsiders—documents that often contain intellectual property or other non-public information.
But according to a recent study commissioned by Microsoft, more than half of these teams use communication methods that are not secure, like e-mail and instant messaging, as their primary collaboration tools. Organizations that use more secure methods find that setting them up can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly—and that managing them can be a big administrative burden.
Your customers need a way to easily collaborate and share documents with others across the Internet. They need a solution that’s simple to set up and that lets project teams manage collaboration sites on their own. They need the External Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint.
Here’s your chance to help your customers more easily and securely collaborate with others across the Internet. Invite them to learn more about the External Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint.

The External Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint:
The External Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint provides authoritative guidance and tools to deploy a customizable solution built on Microsoft® Windows® SharePoint® Services 3.0 that teams can use to collaborate with partners outside the firewall. Once it is deployed, the toolkit’s familiar desktop interface makes the solution easy for project teams to understand and use.
Using this free toolkit, users can be up and running with a SharePoint-based collaboration site in minutes. They can easily create new sites, and invite external users to share documents that are centrally located on a SharePoint site—inside the firewall. Site owners can easily customize the site, and provide access rights for team members.
IT Pros can stay in control by requiring administrative approval for these activities. Or they can allow end users to set up and manage collaboration sites on their own—freeing up scarce IT resources for higher-value activities.
The External Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint helps boost security by creating each collaboration site as a SharePoint site collection. This ensures that teams using one collaboration site will not be able to view documents on another collaboration site, unless they are explicitly given access.
In addition, the toolkit puts all external users in Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM)—the Microsoft lightweight directory service—rather than in the organization’s primary internal directory—further reducing your customers’ security risks.

The benefits for your customers include:
Boosts security. Provides an additional layer of security on top of the security features that are built into SharePoint.
Easy to deploy. Customers can install and configure the toolkit in just a couple of hours. Automated tools included with the toolkit help speed deployment.
Easy to use. The toolkit uses a familiar desktop interface that makes it simple for team members to collaborate with each other.
Reduces IT costs. Team members can manage most functions on their own, freeing up scarce IT resources to focus on higher-return activities.
Thoroughly tested. The toolkit is extensively tested in our labs, and verified by customers and partners under real-world conditions.
Free. The toolkit is freely available from Microsoft TechNet.

Other collaboration solutions:
The External Collaboration Toolkit for SharePoint is just one of a suite of SharePoint -based Solution Accelerators that help customers collaborate more effectively. Other solutions in the collaboration suite include:
SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool
The SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool gives customers a head start on planning new SharePoint installations by helping them answer questions about necessary hardware and user capacity.
SharePoint Monitoring Toolkit
The SharePoint Monitoring Toolkit enables customers to quickly and easily take advantage of powerful new management and monitoring features in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
Upgrade Toolkit for Windows SharePoint Services Sites and Templates
Customers who have created sites based on the Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 application templates can use this toolkit to upgrade them to work on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
SharePoint Cross-site Configurator
This Solution Accelerator helps customers centralize and automate the deployment of configuration settings in SharePoint across multiple Web Farms.