Introduction to SharePoint
SharePoint is a web application that integrates with Microsoft Office. It facilitates document collaboration and file storage to take place at people level, providing the user with better mobile access to applications, content and individuals through its touch-based experience. However, the solution is highly configurable so that different organisation can use it in a wide variety of ways. SharePoint also provides an intranet portal to centralise access to business information and applications. Another common use is taking advantage of SharePoint’s team collaboration groupware capabilities, including: project scheduling, social collaboration, shared mailboxes, and project related document storage and collaboration.
The SharePoint experience
Coupled with innovations in Office 365, SharePoint 2016 offers a greatly improved user experience. It can be deployed as part of an on-premises implementation or as a hybrid system combining Office 365 and SharePoint Server 2016. This includes features such as a hybrid cloud search, which allows users to locate data from SharePoint Server in a single search from Office 365. The search index can be relocated to the cloud too, saving storage space in-house and ensuring that it is available to remote users.
Unlike earlier versions which required administrators to control sharing, exchanging data with other users is made easy with a Share button that appears at the top of every page. Clicking or tapping this allows you to enter details of the others with whom you want to share. They will then get an email invitation containing a link to the site.
Business conditions are fluid and that means that organisations must be able to respond quickly to changes. Using SharePoint Server 2016 as a solution offers greater choice and reliability and means that deployments can be tailored to offer better flexibility based upon business needs.
Microsoft has invested heavily in HTML5 technology in order to allow content to be targeted to specific devices. This ensures that users are able to access the information they need whether they access it on a desktop system or a small-screen mobile device. This also means it’s optimised for use on touchscreen systems, allowing users to simply tap to access files, browse document libraries, access web links and more.
Improved usability is catered for by an App Launcher. This new element of the user interface uses the top navigation bar of the SharePoint client to offer shortcuts to content and apps. This makes the software easier to navigate. It also allows links to OneDrive for Business, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, so that files can be saved to the cloud and synchronised for use on multiple devices.
This makes it easy to see which files have been shared with you and to access the document libraries of sites you’re following. You can also access the OneDrive recycle bin to see items that have been deleted from the cloud.
Better document management enables multiple uploads and easier access to commands with right-click menus. There’s also ODF (Open Document Format) support, allowing documents to be created and saved in ODF so they can be opened in a wider range of programs. In addition there is large file support and the ability to use special characters in file names.
Security and compliance
Data breaches increasingly make the headlines and any loss of information is serious. In addition, internal exposure of data to the wrong people can have compliance and legal ramifications. Using SharePoint Server 2016 ensures that a range of features and abilities are available so that sensitive data is kept secure and is accessible only by the correct people at the appropriate times.
Whilst SharePoint Server 2016 makes sharing of files and folders easy, it also ensures that there’s an audit trail so it’s clear who has access to what. Users can be restricted from sharing certain files themselves, but they’re still able to submit an access request to administrators to share files with specified individuals.
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