Understanding Personal Data in Data Processing

Understanding Personal Data in Data Processing

Personal data (also referred to as PII – Personal Identifiable Information) identifies an individual. In that personal data, a name by itself is not enough to identify an individual, however, a name including the address would. For example, when you are called by an operator in a call centre, you will often be asked for your name, address and date of birth. That is an example of personal data. What they do with your personal information goes into data processing, that is, to store, sort, workflow (further processing) and retain till archive (disposal) that data. The controller of that data (that is, the owner of that call centre) is responsible for ensuring that data is stored securely on their system.

However, no matter how secure the system is, or in fact, any data processing system is, social engineering attacks is a key threat vector. The weakest part of an system is the people, since they are the easiest to deceive and manipulate. One of the weakest aspects is through impersonation attacks. Impersonation attacks are where someone plays the role of someone who is likely to be trusted (whose personal information was obtained through data processing). In other words, one of the ways to get enough personal information of an individual to impersonate is through getting their personal information in the first place, and, to a large degree, ‘data processing’ is where that information can be obtained.

Through the data processing, there are three key elements:

  • The Subject, who owns the data.
  • The Controller, who is responsible determining how the data is processed.
  • The Processor, who is responsible for the data processing of the subject data.

This can be represented in virtually any process, let’s take a basic SharePoint example:

  1. The Subject uploads data into a SharePoint site.
  2. The Controller manages the site where the data is uploaded and determines how the data is processed (also known as a data owner on the site)
  3. The Processor holds that data from the point where it has been uploaded, to the point where the data is disposed of (this is generally some technical processes in the repository where the content has been uploaded, e.g. storage, workflow, disposition, security).

There are some assumptions to the above example in terms of the management of Personal information:

  1. The Subject assumes that the data being uploaded is securely managed (it can be security classified, can be readily accessed, and remain intact).
  2. The Controller assumes they are accountable to that data being serviced by making sure the processor is sufficiently set to securely that content and marked with an identifier of the subject. A basic example in SharePoint is that data uploaded gets marked with the name of the individual uploading the data, the time when that occurred and history of working with that data is recorded.
  3. The Processor assumes that it is designed in such a way that personal information is secure; that any alterations, changes, modifications, workflow is known to the subject.

A conundrum is the sheer collaboration aspect; that is, who has access to that data, and, unfortunately, that some controllers misunderstanding that security is somehow, the product. It is not. Any system can be bypassed using social engineering if that data is compromised. The personal information of the Subject can be accessed by anyone who has the view access to that data. For example, in the case of SharePoint Online, when a Subjects name is clicked in a repository, a list of other documentation recently uploaded / accessed is visible, along with a link to getting more information through Delve. Additionally, on the Delve screen is a further link to the Subjects’ OneDrive, and from there visibility of the Subjects’ team. In terms of technology this example works slightly different in SharePoint On-Premise, however, the outcome is the same.

The challenge is that irrespective of the tools used to provide the nature of storage, availability, integrity of data that there needs to be some thinking in managing the security of the data as well as personal information. Lets’ look at some of the requirements on those three elements:

  • From the Subject, there needs to be understanding of how much information they enter about themselves using Delve (About Me, Projects, Skills and Expertise, Schools and Education, Interests and Hobbies) as this affects PII.
  • From the Controller, they need to provide awareness to the subject that the data they provide is secure, and the level of accessibility to that data, and where that data is located.
  • From Processing, the design of repositories needs to include the management of storage of data, classification, workflow relevant to how personal information is passed. For example, the use of a form to capture information relevant to content uploaded may require the subject to ensure personal information, maybe even beyond what is already supplied in Delve. If this is the case, the Controller should make the subject aware of the kind of information gathered, and what the Processing element will do with that data, and how long that data will exist in the repository. Another example is where the data uploaded includes Personal Information and through machine learning metadata is extracted and posted as viewable column data in a repository. And this does stop at metadata. The very design of code used to carry out further processing through workflow should be scrutinised since the level of Personal Information recorded needs to meet legislative laws; in particular, the Data Protection Act 1998 UK law covers this including sensitive personal information to which you should have the Subjects consent beforehand to process.

Summary.

Managing Personal information is a crucial aspect data security; the key aspect to understanding how to prevent breaches of personal data through impersonation or masquerading.

This short article is designed to get you thinking of the actual service delivery in managing personal information not just for SharePoint (either Online or On-Premise); even beyond to endpoints connected to it; and then even beyond into the roadmap surrounding Office365. In a data processing system, the fundamental requirement is to secure the content through its lifecycle. The challenge is ensuring that the features of the tools involved are fully understood when it comes to the storage of personal information, and that security awareness, policies, and training is provided to subjects and data controllers. Legislation is important to understand in this area and a good checklist to start from is here.

The key element, the Subject, can be made more aware of storing personal information in content they upload. A good article for working say through a Word document and removing personal identifiable information is here.

A distinct point to make is that Microsoft cloud applications are by their very nature tools used to upload and transmit information by customers through their relevant tenants. For example, whilst Azure services covers tools for system maintenance, infrastructure, security, record retention, information management, system development, there are data processing activities which the tenants manage. They must ensure that they are responsible for ensuring that information stored or transmitted through the services is securely managed, in that they at the very least should have carried out a security risk assessment against any data processing / controlling surrounding managing personal Information. The key thing to remember, is that security is not a product – the responsibility of securing data through its processing lies with the Controller of that data – the tenant owner, the SharePoint site owner, and therefore the organisation responsible for providing those sites.

Don’t miss MVP led TechDays Online!

Don’t miss MVP led TechDays Online!

On the 20th, 21st and 22nd February for the first Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) led TechDays Online of 2017. On day one, MVPs and community leaders will delve into the World of Mobile Development, BOTs and Data Science followed by day two, where MVPs from around the Globe will share their knowledge of cross platform development on Microsoft Azure. Day three will end this online event with a look to the future with Blockchain, Quantum Computing and Deep Learning. As always, each session will be led by MVPs from the UK and across the World, along with Microsoft Technical Evangelists.  It is a three day online event ‘not to be missed’.  The full agenda will be published in early January 2017, and each day will begin at 10.00am and end at 4.00pm. All MVP led sessions will appear live on Channel 9 and please register your interest here. Below is a snippet and schedule of the event.
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Understanding Training Options around SharePoint…

Understanding Training Options around SharePoint…

Welcome to an article which goes into the land of SharePoint Training. This attempts to examine various levels of training and how they can and are being mapped to SharePoint information workers, irrespective of whether they are SharePoint on-premise, or SharePoint through Office365. Please note, that whilst I go into some detail on training delivery that I am not a SharePoint Trainer; however, I think I’ve got enough experience through the implementation of SharePoint Training strategies for many organizations, so I suppose I’ve got some points that may be useful either to you as a trainer, or SharePoint user, or even a programme manager seeking to identify the key areas of SharePoint training delivery.

Let us begin with a typical picture facing a SharePoint support perspective, featuring the SharePoint Administrator on-premise…. Put yourself in the shoes of such SharePoint Administrator, monitoring a SharePoint environment, and through the wonderful event viewer on SharePoint servers see a whole bunch of reds (Errors) in an Application Event log. After trawling through the sea of ULS logs, Web.Configs and IIS logs on the screen for several hours, trying this and that, crashing out on numerous occasions; you’ve may have just about had enough. Your pride may already hurting from the fact that the SharePoint reference manuals are piled high all over the desk, and still the flashes of understanding and inspiration simply won’t come…

And if you are thinking “Hey that’s easier in SharePoint Online, there’s no event logs to worry about” – think again. Here is an example. User calls in stating that they have problems viewing their site on their phone. So you need to find out the kind of phone they are using, what the mobile settings are, whether the site settings for mobility have been applied and to ensure that all the services they use whilst in the SharePoint site are also accessible. The issue about the SharePoint Administrator simply looking at ‘SharePoint’ is gone. Therefore, looking for the inspirational flashes would become more difficult.

Another example, starring the SharePoint Information Worker:

You have joined an organization who has adopted SharePoint. You have been told to use a SharePoint site so you can store your work content in. After accessing your site for the first time you are daunted by the options there. Site Actions? What’s that? What’s the Breadcrumb Trail? Someone said to get to the ‘Projects Document Library’ by looking in the Quick Launch Bar – What’s that and where is that? In fact, what’s a Document Library? Faced with these bewildering features and options, and faced with having to just read a book to try to understand what they all mean, you decide to use e-mail.

One more example, this time to the ‘experienced’ SharePoint Worker – typically called a Poweruser:

Yes, you may be one of them. You are a person who is comfortable with SharePoint, because SharePoint does what you want it to. You are aware of the relevant functions in SharePoint that makes you productive, but want to learn more.

So where do you go to get the answers you need?

We are already in the world where we have our ‘intelligent agents’ (known to previous tech generations as a genie or guardian angel) can be summoned using good ole’ Google, to hunt down that famous and grail-like Blog, TechNet article, Google Answers, Yahoo Answers – ad-infinitum’. However, as we all know life as a SharePoint Admin, Developer or Architect doesn’t necessarily mean you find the information you want first time! Sometime, hunting down the right answer is like looking for a needle in a stack of needles! For example, in the above example concerning Office365 and setting a mobile to view a site eventually took me to this article:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Set-up-a-mobile-device-using-Office-365-for-business-7dabb6cb-0046-40b6-81fe-767e0b1f014f

In truth, there is not yet that silver bullet in training where, at a click of a button, or using some kind of ‘Star Trek like’ speaking into your computer response to answer your SharePoint queries. The ‘Hey; computer – tell me how to setup Kerberos on SharePoint’, or ‘show me what the version history is on my documents” is just not there – yet…

So, perhaps some good old fashioned training is better than nothing. To a lot of people, especially developers in SharePoint I’ve seen, training is ‘the T word’, and almost an admission of defeat.

However, as I’ll describe in this article, there are many ways SharePoint training can be delivered – through the written and spoken word, on the desktop as well as the classroom. Most which are inexpensive and above all, interesting and fun.

Also, lots of SharePoint tools are available that go some way towards realising the equivalent of the genie in the bottle 🙂

Contents:

1 A potted theory of learning    2

2 Self Paced Training    3

3 Computer Based Training    4

4 Support Resources    5

5 Learning Centres    6

6 The Human Touch    6

7 A Model Student    7

  1. A potted theory of learning

    Just in case you’ve never considered how or why you’ve ever learned anything – from being able to read this article to driving a car, let’s go back to basics.

    The Competency Ladder.

    If you view learning primarily as a ‘damage limitation’ process whilst trying to acquire competency in SharePoint, the following series of stages can be applied to most situations:

    Stage 1: Unconscious incompetence – Making large amounts of mistakes.

    Stage 2: Conscious incompetence – I see and admit to myself and others I’m making mistakes.

    Stage 3: Conscious competence – I am learning new concepts and skills, my error rate is decreasing (normally in a non-linear fashion :)).

    Stage 4: Unconscious competence – or ‘what was all the fuss about?’

    Now, this four stage cycle is sometimes referred to as the Competency Model for (hopefully) obvious reasons. Where do you think you are on this model? If you are implementing SharePoint, where do you think those about to use SharePoint would be?

    Additionally, the competency model really does come into its own when considering your role in SharePoint. Let’s take the SharePoint Administrator situation again. If the SharePoint Administrator is at Stage 1, then making ‘mission critical’ mistakes could result in damage to the relevant SharePoint environment. For SharePoint Information workers, making many mistakes could result in a loss of productivity and confidence in using SharePoint. Both of course could also result in the company loosing money.

    In order to move up the competency ladder, we tend to accept that Stages 1 and 2 shouldn’t last for too long at all, and that Stage 3 is worth investing time and money in training. However, learning is never a Stage 1 to 4 kind of deal. It’s a loop as we consider new areas of SharePoint to learn; and; we ensure there are tools available to mitigate Stage 1 and 2 (for example, getting a SharePoint test site to play in).

    Training = competency = Training.

    So, it is very important to consider that training surrounds the level of competency one has relevant to the tasks they have to perform. Consider the common activity of learning to drive a car. Think of all the would-be Michael Schumachers in cars displaying ‘L’ plates, their terrified parents, and the huge number of driving schools that make a multi-billion pound business from the accepted norm of the need for formal training.

    The other accepted of ‘mission critical’ competency is that we need to prove Stage 4 has been reached (hence the driving test) and achieve recognition and certification (the driving license). This certification then allows us to perform various other job roles and for some people it acts as a pre-requisite qualification to apply for a further specialist training, such as the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) License.

    The final point to note is the model of cyclical, that is, the tendency is for skills needing to be renewed or modified over time. This is not just because ‘familiarity breeds contempt’, but for the environment in which the original skill set was valid has probably changed. Consider the continued debates about including motorway driving as part of the standard test?

    The amount of training you think you need is based on the amount of knowledge to cover your ‘mission critical’ needs. What I mean by ‘mission critical’ needs are the basic skills needed to ensure that what you do is carried out to the satisfaction of ‘your peers, makes you productive and meets / enhances the profile of yourself and the organisation you work for.

    So, do you identify your ‘mission critical’ training needs? If you don’t, consider that if crashing your car is obviously a bad thing, then as a SharePoint Administrator isn’t regularly crashing your SharePoint environment equally unacceptable?

    If the answer is ‘yes’ then doesn’t that mean from the outset, without admitting defeat, that some investment in training is justified?

    Even if you answer ‘no’, implying your using SharePoint as a hobby, not as a means to make a living, would not investing in training help you achieve more satisfaction and avoid some sleepless nights in the process?

    Specialist Learning and Exams.

    There are some specialist areas of SharePoint where training is very important. SharePoint web development, administration or architecture involves diverse skill sets and key underpinning knowledge of SharePoint. To ensure competency for those roles can be measured there are recognised Microsoft Certification sets (for example; MCTS for 2007, MCITP for 2010, MCSA for Office365, and MCSE for SharePoint 2013). These cover the technical side of SharePoint, namely in application development and configuration in SharePoint.

    This is seen as effectively a version of the driving test for those engaged in the technical side of SharePoint.

    However, SharePoint is not simply seen as a technical toy! The SharePoint Information Worker is definitely included in terms of competency measurement. When Office 2010 was released, SharePoint became more tightly integrated with Office, and that provided MOS for SharePoint. MOS stands for MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist). The reach of this certification is even greater since it extends to the user of Office of which SharePoint is a partner. Microsoft certification exams are now also aimed at those using SharePoint from an end-users perspective.

    People take it as faith that when somebody goes for SharePoint training, they will return wiser and better for the experience. In most cases, they may see a gain in productivity, but whether they failed to learn to their full potential because the course was too easy or too advanced is normally impossible to judge unless some kind of pre-requisite test is available.

  2. Self Paced Training

    Given the intangible nature of traditional training benefits, there is a natural appeal to invest in tangible training products, as well as the additional benefits that self-paced training brings – savings in travel and accommodation costs, consistency of delivery, reusability and so on.

    Generally, self-paced training always begins with the humble book, yes, in the beginning was the word. The book is the original self-paced training package, and still provides the low-cost learning option, and may be sufficient if your learning requirements are modest or you have no time pressures.

    Dividing this into three camps, end user, administration and development, development is more a practical skill. In this respect, books that include the opportunity for hands-on are a more useful choice. In the early days, this included the good ole ‘CDrom’ at the back of the book (and in some amazing examples, USB sticks!), and snippets of information that could be entered. Whilst this also occurs for SharePoint Administrators, the format is different.

    For instance, programming related books would contain many worked through examples of code ready used. Administrator books would include scripts and maybe code blocks to apply to SharePoint site collections and servers. End user books would include practice files to apply as you followed guides in the book.

    Nowadays though, virtually all SharePoint books now come as e-Books making that kind of information easier to get to. So has the eBook fully replaced the book? An interesting argument. In chatting to a SharePoint Architect the other day, they indicated that having an e-book cluttered the desktop, as opposed to having the book opened so they could work through a problem and fully understand how to do something without having to swop between screens. In other cases, people have found the eBook easier because of its portability, and additionally because it’s easier to copy a script from an eBook than having to rekey all of it or having to access a CDrom, or USB Stick, or Network Share, or OneDrive to get to the information.

    The key here though is to understand that self-paced training is based on the resources that you use. E-Books and Books are not the only resources available. There are online resources as well from sites providing blocks of information related to a particular aspect of SharePoint, to those other which cover entire courses and include ‘check’ exams at the end.

  3. Computer Based Training

    CBT (Computer Based Training) is one of those touchstones (like AI) that promises much but often disappoints – corporates in millions invest in CBT projects – unfortunately, this often results in delivering too little, too late.

    Part of the problem was the need for high cost specialist software and/or lack of mainstream, high level authoring tools and the special skills required to create the relevant packages.

    Another problem is the amount of overhead administration given that the CBT would most likely record results of the ‘student’ and these would need to be audited and managed to gauge user productivity and usability of the product.

    That said, there is a mass of computer based training for SharePoint; the only thing that needs to be done is to define the scope of training that needs to be provided at either end user, developer, administrator and then to provide that. To do that takes time simply because of the need to factor SharePoint training with desktop software training e.g. Microsoft Office Suite.

    For example, there is VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) type training available or even build you own like the SharePoint Learning Kit (this was firstly provided in SharePoint 2007, then arrived on Codeplex for SharePoint 2010 and has been released for SharePoint 2013). There’s Open Learning courses on all things SharePoint at the Microsoft Learning Centre. There’s video clips relevant to carrying out popular tasks and also explaining SharePoint concepts on Youtube, You can also get FAQ and Question and Answer support at Technet (SharePoint Forums).

    Additionally, you can also use SharePoint itself to host your very own training centre, because SharePoint has the ability to store and playback images, Flash Hypermedia, so hours of audio-visual tuition could be created by you (a simple web cam and some video editing software will do). This has been done to great effect by SharePoint uber admins out there, some making these learning centres called ‘How Do I(‘ as part of a home for SharePoint in their organisation (like a One Stop Shop ).

    However, the sign of a good quality CBT is the inclusion of challenge testing so that students can quickly ‘opt out’ of a section of check understanding plus animated expert solutions and demonstrations to help in those difficult moments. If the product behaves like a linear book with nothing more than electronic page turning, what value does it add over a paper based book?

    CBT has come a long way from the earlier days of SharePoint.

    For SharePoint 2007, there is a Learning package available for SharePoint which will enable users to actively learn how to use SharePoint and their learning is tracked; it’s on this link:

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=673dc932-626a-4e59-9dca-16d685600a51&displaylang=en

    For SharePoint 2010, the Productivity Hub is targeted at those who need to quickly setup a central location for a knowledge base on SharePoint, Word, Lync and more.

    It’s a downloadable product that can be further customised. Additional modules can be added that meet business requirements.

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=4aaa9862-e420-4331-8bc3-469d7bae0ff1

    For SharePoint 2013, there is a SharePoint Learning Kit available download in Codeplex. This is a e-learning delivery and tracking application, built as a SharePoint solution, and amongst other things allows assignment, tracking and grading of e-learning and non-e-learning content.

    There are also other CBT’s; that could be provided, but you need to pay for them – again, you need to carry out appraisals to identify which best fits the requirement. An example is OnTidWit (which provides a learning platform of collected resources which can be selected) – see http://sharepointgeoff.ontidwit.com for an example.

  4. Support Resources

    Strictly speaking, Support Resources are not training tools, but are part of the renewal process once Stage 4 (unconscious competence) has been reached, providing ‘on the job’ information at your fingertips. The most basic form is the electronic manual with a search and retrieval engine, with linked hypertext, a memory of topics visited, suggested related topics and the ability to copy and paste code and scripts for SharePoint.

    Microsoft Press now has a good collection of SharePoint books located on this link:

    https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/search/index.aspx?query=sharepoint&x=0&y=0

    There is the Support Office site which in particular provides information about SharePoint Online – in particular describing the major feature areas:

    https://support.office.com/en-au/article/Find-content-about-SharePoint-Online-0ff4f5c6-b8b3-4d6a-be9a-99e6dcb9a3b7?ui=en-US&rs=en-AU&ad=AU

    The Office365 Learning Centre for Business and Education is also an extremely useful resource. This resource helps when providing a SharePoint service – the Discover SharePoint section advises users how to start using a team site, controlling access, customising navigation and many more topics. Additionally, there links to training resources. Check this one out for example, the ‘Organize files in your SharePoint libraries‘ training course.

    Additionally, there are a vast list of online resources, like Technet, WSSDemo, EndSharePoint and many others. Again, with all of this information available the issue is the same as having someone ask for a SharePoint site but doesn’t know what to put in it – meaning, what do I need, where do I need it, how will I record it, how will I retrieve it.

    Increasingly, there are a number of online providers now pushing Knowledge Bases on SharePoint. Slowly, these are becoming more structured and standardised into their own lands of expertise.

    This I think is a good thing. Someone once said to me ‘I’m going to provide a central blog on the Internet that will provide information on everything to do with SharePoint’. I said ‘Wow… That’s going to either take a long time or you will need a hell of a lot of help’ (thinking of it at the time I was being diplomatic – its impossible to provide let along support that resource unless you know everything there is to know about SharePoint and have a huge amount of time to gathering and maintaining that resource).

    Note that whilst I call these ‘support resources’ they are definitely not designed to simply be a replacement for your SharePoint company support resource. Information provides on these resources should be tested in your own test environments and validated before putting them into your production environment.

  5. Learning Centres

    In SharePoint land, in fact, probably with any kind of development, workers find that the normal workplace is not suitable for self-paced learning. They are subject to many interruptions and cannot dedicate the time needed to learn or develop.

    Self-Paced products can form the core of a facilitated ‘Learning Centre’. That Learning Centre concept uses training technology to help people learn and become more effective. It does this by recording their activities; how long they are working through a topic and pointers as to where they may get further information concerning an aspect of SharePoint.

    Microsoft provides a Learning Centre which displays end user courses, and provides material that should be used when the user wishes to engage in Microsoft Certifications. For SharePoint and Office365, there are specific areas of interest covering End Users, IT Pros and Developers. SharePoint has its own learning segment which includes over 10 separated courses which have been rated.

    Microsoft also provides a Certification Roadmap which shows the popular Skills and Certification Roadmap to reflect the latest skills development and certification information, including the new Devices MCSE, Azure exams and exam electives. For a one-stop source for certification pathways, download the roadmap. When looking at the Roadmap, it is interesting to see how SharePoint certification has changed over the ages. The clearer distinction in the fact of simply taking a non-compulsory training course grants an MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate). Also the MCSA Office365 and MCSE SharePoint 2013 are closer together.

    https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/archive/2015/01/29/ace-newsbyte-exam-times-they-are-a-changing

    What resources are there to help people with taking technical exams?

    MeasureUp provides material in the form of test questions to allow individuals to prepare for product certification.

    Certiport provides end user certification and provides the MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) certification tracks for Microsoft Office which includes SharePoint.

    MOS 2010:

    http://www.certiport.com/Portal/desktopdefault.aspx?page=common/pagelibrary/mos2010.html

    MOS 2013:

    http://www.certiport.com/Portal/desktopdefault.aspx?page=common/pagelibrary/mos2013.html

    These are just the ones I am aware of but there will undoubtedly be others. How valid they are depends on the strategy you adopt for yourself and others, especially if you are setting out a strategy for SharePoint training in the organisation.

  6. The Human Touch

    Whilst self-paced courses can provide the majority of training needed, do not forget the value human experience can bring. A hybrid approach is to attend scheduled events where an experienced trainer is available to provide assistance and advice as the student progresses through a self-paced programme. The student also gains from meeting other SharePoint developers, administrators, architects, program managers, exchanging ideas and attending optional break-out sessions on additional topics given by the class leader.

    Certain technologies may be best covered by traditional means involving lectures and presentations. Some of these may include:

    Microsoft Seminars and Conferences. These are very useful since they bring additional training sessions and normally rolled into the cost. Additionally good to meet with other SharePoint peeps, learn best practices and find out how others are using SharePoint. These are regional and there are many of these. A search on google gave this:

    SharePoint Conferences

    SharePoint User Groups. 

    There are so many benefits to belonging to a SharePoint user group. You can learn about SharePoint related events applicable to your user group when they become available. You can find out how your peers are solving problems and even sharpen your leadership and managerial skills by serving as a user group manager. The reason why user groups appear as a human touch is because social events usually evolve around them. User groups, whilst revolving around a bulletin board or forum, are regional / local so getting to see faces is definitely an option. This is very useful since it increases your social network and allows you to focus your training resources. Don’t get me wrong, forums are great – SharePoint Technet forum is really good, but to expand your social network there’s nothing like a user group where you can put blogs and articles to faces.

    Externally Provided Training

    Going back to competency, if you want human touch training you had better make sure that you choose a relevant arena – in SharePoint, there are a number of these – I’ve listed the key ones and in no particular order:

  • Content Management
  • Findability
  • Social Computing
  • Business Productivity
  • Look and Feel
  • Deployment
  • Administration
  • Business Solutions

 

Within these sections you will find training companies providing resources and instructors in one or more of those arenas. In my experience, make sure you define a strategy for training that connects SharePoint to the business in terms of what other tools SharePoint integrates with. Get a trainer who can instruct and provide resources on those additional levels. There are a number of success stories which details how organisations seeking a training model have managed to provide training to their staff, not only on the different aspects of the technology, but also in combining the best of differing provisions I have covered in this article (CBT, On-Line, Classroom, etc.) – crucially from one training provider. Check out the following case study for more information on how they succeeded.

Johnson Matthey’s Training Case Study

Finding a good training company can be daunting, like looking for a needle in a stack of needles. Make sure you choose wisely, read-up on their credentials, customer reviews and associated case studies. A good source to get started on choosing a SharePoint training company is here:

http://www.sharepointreviews.com/training-companies.html

  1. Are you a ‘Model Student’?

    In the land of SharePoint everyday I learn something new about the product. Whether it is a technical bit of knowledge or even business, governance, implementation – everyday is a voyage of discovery. I am I think, a student but far from being a model student. I reckon a model student is that who has all the resources at hand for the topic area they wish to cover.

    So after reading this article, ask yourself these questions.

  • What kind of training suits you the most? Book? e-Book? Online Training? CBT? A combination?
  • Where do you stand on the competency ladder?
  • Do you have access to the resources you need? How do you collate them? Can you quickly find the answers in the resources you have?
  • What area do you excel in? Do you have a blog and is this communicated to others?
  • How did you learn SharePoint? Reading? Diving into the Platform? Certification? A combination?
  • Whatever happens, when tackling SharePoint Training, try to get a vision of where would want to get to, whether you need training to prove to others you are competent, whether you want to solve a problem, or even whether you are attempting to build a strategy for others. Doing this will help you identify the planning that needs to be done, how long it will take and what is needed to succeed.
Microsoft Office Specialist – SharePoint Importance

Microsoft Office Specialist – SharePoint Importance

Sustained User Adoption is vital to ensure people using SharePoint remain productive and proactive. Pro-activity is key, since the reliance on SharePoint support will grow based – success breeds success; on solving user queries, meeting and solving business information and collaborative challenges using SharePoint, delivering solutions. A significant number of queries will come from the use of Microsoft Office with SharePoint. Particularly since virtually all interaction with content in SharePoint will come from the use of Microsoft Products such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and even moving beyond into the lands of Project, Visio, OneNote (the list continues).

If  you want sustainable User Adoption, amongst other techniques, focus on the information workers core toolset – Microsoft Office. For information workers to remain SharePoint productive, to make them more empowered, to give them a sense of achievement, you should consider informing and evangelizing to them the Microsoft Office Specialist certification, of which SharePoint is part.

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How to Synchronize a SharePoint 2010 Task List with Microsoft Outlook

How to Synchronize a SharePoint 2010 Task List with Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook provides a Task management feature so that users can create and manage personal tasks. These tasks can be assigned to one or more people, and can be linked into their personal Calendars in Outlook. Whilst the same functionality exists in SharePoint, the integration of Tasks in SharePoint with Outlook leads to some compelling benefits.

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Office 365 becomes part of Microsoft Office Specialist Programme

Office 365 becomes part of Microsoft Office Specialist Programme

A major important milestone in the step to get information workers creditations in the use of Office products. Just last year I completed the SharePoint Study guide for Microsoft Office, and now in not the too distant future (in fact in late August to be precise), Office 365 will get an exam study guide. In fact, the author happens to be my co-author for the brilliant study guide for Office 2010 (including SharePoint of course!).

This is I think a major move on the part of Microsoft who are keen to ensure that educational establishments, armed with the free offer of Office 365 will now also be able to offer courses, examinations and creditations for information workers to place on their CVs, and shout to the world they are proficient in the use of Office 365! (more…)

MOS 2010 Study Guide for Microsoft® Word Expert, Excel® Expert, Access®, and SharePoint®

MOS 2010 Study Guide for Microsoft® Word Expert, Excel® Expert, Access®, and SharePoint®

Check out reviews on this book here. Get the book from here.

Demonstrate your expertise with Microsoft Office! Designed to help you practice and prepare for four Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
exams, this all-in-one study guide features:

  • Full, objective-by-objective exam coverage
  • Easy-to-follow procedures and illustrations to review essential skills
  • Hands-on practice tasks to apply what you’ve learned; files included

Use the in-depth exam prep, practice, and review to help advance your proficiency with Microsoft Office—and earn the credential that proves
it!

Exams covered:

  • 77-887: MOS: Microsoft Office Word 2010 Expert
  • 77-888: MOS: Microsoft Office Excel 2010 Expert
  • 77-885: MOS: Microsoft Office Access 2010
  • 77-886: MOS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Companion Content includes:

  • Practice files for each exam
  • Fully searchable eBook
  • Sample chapters from five STEP BY STEP books from Microsoft Press
  • Additional eBooks and resources

Special Offer: Exam discount

  • Get 25% off your MOS exam fee from Certiport
  • See details on the Certiport offer page inside

 

Table of Contents

  1. Exam 77-887 Microsoft Word 2010 Expert

    1. Chapter 1 Sharing and Maintaining Documents

      1. 1.1 Configure Word Options
      2. 1.2 Apply Protection to a Document
      3. 1.3 Apply a Template to a Document
      4. Objective Review
    2. Chapter 2 Formatting Content

      1. 2.1 Apply Advanced Font and Paragraph Attributes
      2. 2.2 Create Tables and Charts
      3. 2.3 Construct Reusable Content in a Document
      4. 2.4 Link Text Boxes and Sections
      5. Objective Review
    3. Chapter 3 Tracking and Referencing Documents

      1. 3.1 Review, Compare, and Combine Documents
      2. 3.2 Create a Reference Page
      3. 3.3 Create a Table of Authorities in a Document
      4. 3.4 Mark and Compile an Index for a Document
      5. Objective Review
    4. Chapter 4 Performing Mail Merge Operations

      1. 4.1 Execute a Mail Merge Operation
      2. 4.2 Create a Mail Merge by Using Other Data Sources
      3. 4.3 Create Labels and Envelopes
      4. Objective Review
    5. Chapter 5 Managing Macros and Forms

      1. 5.1 Apply and Manipulate Macros
      2. 5.2 Apply and Manipulate Macro Options
      3. 5.3 Create Forms
      4. 5.4 Manipulate Forms
      5. Objective Review
  2. Exam 77-888 Microsoft Excel 2010 Expert

    1. Chapter 1 Sharing and Maintaining Workbooks

      1. 1.1 Apply Workbook Settings, Properties, and Data Options
      2. 1.2 Apply Protection and Sharing Properties to Workbooks and Worksheets
      3. 1.3 Maintain Shared Workbooks
      4. Objective Review
    2. Chapter 2 Applying Formulas and Functions

      1. 2.1 Audit Formulas
      2. 2.2 Manipulate Formula Options
      3. 2.3 Perform Data Summary Tasks
      4. 2.4 Apply Functions in Formulas
      5. Objective Review
    3. Chapter 3 Presenting Data Visually

      1. 3.1 Apply Advanced Chart Features
      2. 3.2 Apply Data Analysis
      3. 3.3 Apply and Manipulate PivotTables
      4. 3.4 Apply and Manipulate PivotCharts
      5. 3.5 Use External Data Sources
      6. Objective Review
    4. Chapter 4 Working with Macros and Forms

      1. 4.1 Create and Manipulate Macros
      2. 4.2 Insert and Manipulate Form Controls
  3. Exam 77-885 Microsoft Access 2010 Specialist

    1. Chapter 1 Using the Access Workspace

      1. 1.1 Create and Manage a Database
      2. 1.2 Configure the Navigation Pane
      3. 1.3 Use Application Parts
      4. Objective Review
    2. Chapter 2 Building Tables

      1. 2.1 Create Tables in Design View
      2. 2.2 Create and Modify Fields
      3. 2.3 Sort and Filter Records
      4. 2.4 Set Relationships
      5. 2.5 Import Data from a Single Data File
      6. Objective Review
    3. Chapter 3 Building Forms

      1. 3.1 Create Forms
      2. 3.2 Apply Form Design Options
      3. 3.3 Arrange Fields and Objects on a Form
      4. 3.4 Format Forms
      5. Objective Review
    4. Chapter 4 Creating and Managing Queries

      1. 4.1 Construct Queries
      2. 4.2 Manage Source Tables and Relationships
      3. 4.3 Manipulate Fields
      4. 4.4 Calculate Totals
      5. 4.5 Generate Calculated Fields
      6. Objective Review
    5. Chapter 5 Designing Reports

      1. 5.1 Create Reports
      2. 5.2 Apply Report Design Tab Options
      3. 5.3 Apply Report Arrange Tab Options
      4. 5.4 Apply Report Format Tab Options
      5. 5.5 Apply Report Page Setup Tab Options
      6. 5.6 Sort and Filter Records for Reporting
      7. Objective Review
  4. Exam 77-886 Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Specialist

    1. Chapter 1 Creating and Formatting Content

      1. 1.1 Navigate the SharePoint Hierarchy
      2. 1.2 Manage Lists and Document Libraries
      3. 1.3 Manage List Items
      4. 1.4 Work with Document Sets
      5. Objective Review
    2. Chapter 2 Managing SharePoint Sites

      1. 2.1 Manage Pages
      2. 2.2 Administer Sites
      3. 2.3 Manage Web Parts on a Page
      4. 2.4 Manage Content Types
      5. 2.5 Manage Users and Groups
      6. 2.6 Create SharePoint Workspace Sites
      7. 2.7 Analyze Site Activity
      8. Objective Review
    3. Chapter 3 Participating in User Communities

      1. 3.1 Configure My Site
      2. 3.2 Collaborate Through My Site
      3. 3.3 Tag and Note Content
      4. Objective Review
    4. Chapter 4 Configuring and Consuming Site Search Results

      1. 4.1 Administer Search at the Site Level
      2. 4.2 Search SharePoint for Content
      3. 4.3 View Search Results
      4. 4.4 Perform Advanced Searches
      5. 4.5 Search for People
      6. Objective Review
    5. Chapter 5 Integrating SharePoint 2010 Services and Microsoft Office 2010 Applications

      1. 5.1 Configure SharePoint 2010 Services
      2. 5.2 Run Microsoft Office 2010 Applications with SharePoint 2010 Services
      3. 5.3 Create Dashboards
      4. Objective Review

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