So You Want To “Lock Down” Content In SharePoint

Products:  SharePoint 2007, 2010, 2013, etc.

The Question
Does anyone know of a way to ‘Lock Down’ data stored in SharePoint so that it cannot be downloaded or saved to a stand alone station.

Though it is a valid question, to do so is beyond SharePoint.

Scope
I am not sure of the original scope of the question; my below response assumes the question to be an internal or intranet requirement.  Though, the majority of my response could also apply to an extranet or internet site requirement.

Initial Thoughts
– why would you want to lock down information that should be available to your entire organization (hence the term ‘Share’Point … a place to share)

– is there a larger requirement or problem that is attempting to be solved here; do employees not understand the purpose of SharePoint in the context of the organization (aka Enterprise Architecture); data, documents, etc are stored here versus somewhere else because of reasons X, Y and Z

– is there a personnel problem where Enterprise and/or Collaboration Site content is being lifted and provided to competitors

The first step with anything is awareness. The usual response with anything we don’t understand is to fear it, doubt it or dismiss it (to name a few).

Your customer/business user has a valid question and there are more that should follow …

? WHY does SharePoint exist (where does this hammer fit in with the other hammers in my toolbox)

? WHAT is this thing called SharePoint (a product? an application? a platform? a feature?)

? HOW will employees know what should go where (Enterprise site vs. Collaboration site vs. Team site vs. Project site vs. Community site)

? WHO can read, update, delete and download the content available on my site and others

Vault Lockdown
The premise of this discussion assumes you as the content owner can protect your content from being copied or confiscated by your users.  The only way this is possibly is to hide your content in a vault which defeats the original purpose of creating it in the first place.

I can go to any site on our intranet, extranet and internet and copy any type of content that is visible to me.  Almost any type of content.  Either by taking snapshots of it or by simply copying it to my clipboard and beyond.  There are now tools available to skin the text off of any web page or document type you can think of.

It’s not so much who has the content, but the future context in which it will be used and presented.

I can copy content all day long; but I can not replace the content on the original sites as I do not have permissions to do so.

Locking your content down is a dead end road.
Whether for an audience of 1 or 5,000, if you have content, share it …
– with the appropriate audience
– in the appropriate place
– in the appropriate time and
– in the appropriate context

Your users will love you for it and they will be back for more.

Personnel Opportunity
If the appropriate audiences use the content for purposes other than what it is intended, you most likely have a personnel or culture problem or opportunity… which is a different discussion.

How has SharePoint affected you?

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