Sunrise Communications Securely Shares Microsoft SharePoint Content with 150 External Users with AvePoint Perimeter

Success Highlights

Enabled secure sharing directly from on-premises SharePoint 2013 environment to 150 external users via secure container
Reduced employee usage of Dropbox and email attachments, keeping files within SharePoint
Protected SharePoint content by creating sharing rules based on metadata
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Logo sunrise

Customer Location Zürich, Switzerland

Industry Telecommunications

Platform SharePoint 2013

Featured Solutions Storage Optimization Management

Critical Needs

  • Securely share SharePoint documents with external users
  • Prevent employees from using third-party sharing solutions
  • Enable remote users to securely access SharePoint

The Challenge

For Sunrise Communications, SharePoint is the key to enabling collaboration and document sharing. The organization made a concerted effort to train employees on SharePoint so they could reap the benefits of a centralized collaboration location. As the company’s employees began storing documents, sharing lists, and creating processes, its SharePoint environment grew to contain 1.3 terabytes (TB) of data.

Over time, some of Sunrise’s employees experienced challenges sharing SharePoint documents with external users. Many employees work with partners and contractors on a daily basis and had difficulty collaborating on documents with them. Although employees can easily share files within the organization, those who often work with external people had to figure out workaround solutions. “Since we couldn’t enable access to our internal network for partners and contractors, people got creative,” said Roger Biefer, Technical Lead Service Excellence and Innovation at Sunrise. “They started using free services such as Dropbox to share documents with others.”

From an IT perspective, this was not ideal. Administrators understood the need, but wanted sharing to be more structured. “We did want employees to be able to work with external business partners, but on our own terms,” Roger Biefer said. “When you send email attachments or store files in Dropbox, the permissions structure we have in SharePoint disappears. We still wanted the ability to know what documents are shared to prevent sensitive information from leaving the organization.”

AvePoint Perimeter helps our employees easily and securely collaborate on documents with external users while IT maintains control and visibility over permissions.
Roger Biefer
Technical Lead Service Excellence and Innovation, Sunrise Communications

The AvePoint Solution

To enable secure collaboration among onsite employees, external partners, and remote contractors, Sunrise implemented AvePoint Perimeter. With AvePoint Perimeter, the organization’s employees can share SharePoint documents with external users while IT maintains security over the content. “With AvePoint Perimeter, we have provided a safe external sharing solution for our employees,” Roger Biefer said. “Instead of messing around with Dropbox or email attachments, employees can now work on the most current version of a SharePoint document with partners. There’s no more back and forth, and more importantly, IT can see who’s sharing what.”

Employees are using AvePoint Perimeter to share contracts and important files with partners via a secure container. External users can edit documents in secure containers and sync changes back to SharePoint automatically – eliminating the need for unsecure external sharing methods to get their jobs done. “Certain departments that do business with key accounts and partners needed an easy way to collaborate,” Roger Biefer said. “However, we were not willing to extend them SharePoint access. AvePoint Perimeter helps our employees easily and securely collaborate on documents with external users while IT maintains control and visibility over permissions.”

AvePoint Perimeter has also made life easier for offsite employees. Users who travel or work from home can access company information even while they’re not physically in the office. “We have some users working part time who are often on the go or home-based,” Roger Biefer said. “With AvePoint Perimeter, we can easily grant them access by verifying their identities and that they’re connecting to SharePoint on a known personal device.”

Additional control around external sharing also means Sunrise can securely share documents beyond Switzerland – contractors and partners throughout Europe and overseas also benefit. With AvePoint Perimeter, the organization’s administrators can ensure only content that is allowed for external sharing is surfaced in the secure container for sharing. IT has the ability to restrict sharing based on metadata at the library, folder, or document level. “As opposed to Dropbox, where IT had no idea what was being shared, AvePoint Perimeter lets us create rules for sharing,” Roger Biefer said. “It’s great for us to be able to control sharing from one place. We also require users to create a password for external sharing – they are not able or allowed to turn that option off.”

AvePoint Perimeter provides Sunrise with many options for sharing, such as read-only, download, or secure-edit permissions. IT also takes advantage of the solution’s permission expiration time controls. “For added security, some users set permissions to expire after a certain date,” Roger Biefer said. “For us, it’s not good practice to grant external users access to files indefinitely.”

The Road Ahead

By implementing AvePoint Perimeter, Sunrise Communications has provided employees a solution that enables collaboration with external users – without sacrificing security. Instead of removing files from SharePoint and sharing via Dropbox or Outlook, AvePoint Perimeter allows users to create secure portals for sharing – all under the supervision of IT. External users can make changes and sync them back to SharePoint automatically without having to save multiple versions. “Our users no longer have to rely on other systems for external sharing,” Roger Biefer said. “AvePoint Perimeter helps us ensure SharePoint is the only platform we need to get work done within and outside the organization. We can be confident that no sensitive information is shared with anyone who shouldn’t see it.”

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