Securely Publishing Documents

Posted on 2013-11-09
Last Modified: 2013-12-14
We have a set of documents that we need to publish to be used by employees and sometimes by clients. We need to only let the users read the documents without being able to modify, print, copy or edit them. Is there any non-expensive solution to allow this? We were thinking of using SharePoint but it turned to be a bit expensive.
Please advise.
Question by:Grayhat7
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LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39636533
In the modern computer age, that is very difficult.  About the only way to achieve that is to let them be read only on a computer that is secured and literally guarded by a security guard.  If you let them read them unsupervised on their own computers, the documents are out of your control.

We often get questions like this, especially about displaying pictures on web pages and preventing them from being copied.  The answer is very simple.  If you let me load it and display it on my computer, I can find a way to copy it and do whatever I want with it.

Author Comment

ID: 39639922
Thank you Dave, what about using a web application that provides such features? I know that users always can use the "printscreen" option or even their mobiles to copy any needed info but the aim is to to preserve the integrity of the published documents and limit their editing/distribution to the concerned party. Am sure many companies face this problem when it comes to document dispatching.
LVL 83

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 75 total points
ID: 39639988
True, everybody faces this problem.  Nobody has 'solved' it.  Real security requires you to Never put it on the web.  If you set it up so I view it in my web browser, I can copy it.  I can do that because a copy of it is now on my machine.  Everything you see in a web browser is first downloaded to the client computer and stored in a file, usually in a 'temp' directory.  While it's there, I can copy it and send it anywhere I want.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Walter Curtis
ID: 39679748
SharePoint Foundation Server is basically a free version of SharePoint. It is included with a MS Server license. So although the Server OS is not free, SharePoint Foundation installed on it is free. This version of SharePoint will run with SQL Express, another free version. So if you have a Windows server somewhere in your business, then you can get SharePoint for free.
Although this version is free, it will allow you to configure access and control just as you describe. It should meet your needs.

Hope that helps.

Author Comment

ID: 39684880
Thanks SneekCo. Can you guide me to a link where the configuration of SharePoint to meet this requirement is detailed?
Much appreciated
LVL 18

Accepted Solution

Walter Curtis earned 225 total points
ID: 39689010
Here is a good link from Microsoft that will should provide you with all of the information that you need to know.

Hope that helps

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