One of the key defenses in the war against data leakage is knowing where your sensitive data reside--knowing that they are safely stored in locations commensurate with their sensitivity and importance. However, your users might be unwittingly circumventing your attempts at discovery and control through the use of Microsoft's SharePoint Server.

[...] Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 is a good product for document collaboration and Web content management, but may be a victim of its own success, says CMS Watch analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe, lead author of a new report analyzing various enterprise content management technologies. In big enterprises users are deploying it on their own, allowing business-critical information to reside in servers where it isn’t properly archived, he says. “SharePoint’s really easy to use and it’s a pretty good product, to be fair,” Pelz-Sharpe says. “The ease of use and ease of deployment means IT doesn’t need to deploy it, and people are doing their own thing.” [...] SharePoint can be deployed by users in large enterprises without IT noticing because in some packages the seat price is so small no one is monitoring new instances, Pelz-Sharpe says. The uncontrolled versions of SharePoint make it hard to comply with legal discovery requirements, he says. [...] CMS Watch says viral proliferation of SharePoint is nothing new, going back to the 2003 version. But Pelz-Sharpe says the “problem is becoming acute now” with the popularity of the 2007 product. SharePoint is a runaway success, reportedly generating $800 million in revenue this year for Microsoft, with 85 million licenses across 17,000 customers, the CMS Watch report states. “Already some enterprises spend huge sums of money to extract themselves from viral-like deployments of SharePoint 2003 running rampant across their network,” the CMS Watch report states. “The danger is that this [2007] product will simply make those kinds of bad situations worse. Though Microsoft argues that these kinds of situations are really a lack of analysis and planning etc., we think it a little disingenuous to ignore the sales efforts that have contributed to some deployment mistakes.” [...]

Source: Microsoft SharePoint spreads 'virally,' complications ensue, Jon Brodkin, Network World, 7 December 2007