Offline Files Synchronization - Best Practices

Posted on 2009-05-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-07
In the scenario below, we have all Server 2003 Standard servers in an Active Directory domain environment.  All users run XP Pro with at least SP2.

Each branch at our organization has a Server 2003 Standard Edition server that the users store their 'My Documents' on.  Each users' home directory is mapped to a drive letter (in our example, we'll use H:\), and that drive letter is the location that the 'My Documents' folder points to.  The laptop users have 'Offline Files' enabled, and the files sync when the user logs on and off the computer.  According to Microsoft KB275461 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/275461), the best solution is to provide all users with at least READ access to the root directory of the users' shared folder (ie \\SERVER\USERS\).  However, if we do this, that means Joe Smith (a user with very little rights on the network) can read all the files located in Jane Doe's user directory (\\SERVER\USERS\JDOE\).  What is the best practices to use in order for each user to have a home directory located on \\SERVER\USERS\ that will allow laptop users to successfully sync their files as well as not let any other users access another user's files.

I hope I've explained myself well, and I apologize if I did not.

To summarize, we have a shared directory on the server called \\SERVER\USERS.  Each user has his/her own directory under that root directory.  Currently, we are experiencing issues with laptop users that are getting "Access Denied" error (as seen in Microsoft KB275461) and we need a solution without giving all users the access to read another user's files.

Question by:olinccu
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Expert Comment

by:Donald Stewart
ID: 24434851
You should download, install and enable ABE(access based enumeration)
Then the users will only see their own folder and nobody elses

Author Comment

ID: 24434893
That is definitely an awesome feature.  However, I do not believe that would fix my issue.  Following the KB article from Microsoft that says to give ALL USERS at least READ access to the root share folder, that would then give users access to read all files in that folder.  So that, to me, will not be solved by the ABE feature.  Even if it no longer listed the folder when they're browsing the network folders, they could still get to it via UNC, which is still a security risk that we cannot take.
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Accepted Solution

Donald Stewart earned 2000 total points
ID: 24435044
I believe that if you grant Read permissions on just the Parent folder, you'd then be ok.
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Author Comment

ID: 24435223
So, to clarify, I would give READ access to all domain users on the root directory \\SERVER\USERS only.  Then, let's say I have a user named Jane Doe.  I would then make sure her permissions only give her (and appropriate administrative users) rights to her directory and the domain users would not be a part of her permissions.  Is that correct?  That definitely makes sense as far as keeping things secure.  Thanks for your input so far!
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Don S.
ID: 24435253
Here are the MS recommended permissions that I have used extensively and work correctly:

Redirected Folders Parent:

Creator Owner = Full Control, Subfolders and Files Only
Domain Users = List Folder/Read Data, Create Folders/Append Data - This Folder Only
System =  Full Control, This Folder, Subfolders and Files
Admistrators =  Full Control, This Folder, Subfolders and Files
LVL 48

Expert Comment

by:Donald Stewart
ID: 24435266
Yes, the way that it is set up here as shown above, users get access denied if trying to browse to other users folders.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31583645
I was hoping this would be the solution (or something similar).  But posting the question and having responses (and proof) that solidifies the answer is why I'm glad I've joined EE.  Thanks!!
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Expert Comment

by:Donald Stewart
ID: 24435378
You're welcome!!!
And welcome to EE

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