The Challenges of Dynamics 365 Document Management and SharePoint Security

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The Challenges of Dynamics 365 Document Management and SharePoint Security

As a technical advisor at Connecting Software and a software engineer since 1997, I’ve witnessed significant advancements in Dynamics document management and Microsoft document management solutions. At Connecting Software, we are innovators in the Microsoft document management space, and we have evolved with changing technology trends. Still, our emphasis has remained the same all these years: seamless integration and security.

Last updated November 2, 2023 Originally published in July 2021

1         Microsoft Document Management and the Missing Permissions

Our flagship product, CB Dynamics 365 to SharePoint Permissions Replicator, remains a must-have solution for those utilizing Microsoft document management systems. It caters to the need for coherent, secure document management between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SharePoint. With our solution, enterprises can ensure that Dynamics 365's permissions are accurately mirrored in SharePoint, which enables them to maintain rigorous control over document accessibility. This not only enhances security but also aligns with privacy standards like GDPR.

CB Dynamics 365 to SharePoint Permissions Replicator is a Preferred App on Microsoft AppSource. If you are curious about how this market-leader product came to being, we even have a video on it. Besides giving you a special, behind-the-curtains view of our company, we believe it goes to show the customer-centric approach we have at Connecting Software!

But this is not our only solution in the Dynamics document management realm. For a specific type of documents, the attachments, we have CB Dynamics 365 Seamless Attachment Extractor.

Given that both solutions operate in that same realm, we’ve built a decision diagram to help you choose based on your needs. What do you want to do in terms of Dynamics document management?

I want to store my Dynamics documents in SharePoint, but I am concerned with SharePoint Security VS. I want to track email and have its attachments readily available from Dynamics without taking up Dynamics space

To summarize the diagram:

2         The Concern with SharePoint Security within Dynamics 365 Document Management

Microsoft offers an integration between Dynamics 365 and SharePoint that is easy to configure at no extra cost. This integration enables organizations to move their Dynamics documents to SharePoint automatically and you can keep them organized either by Accounts or Contacts. A link is left in Dynamics, so it is, at the same time transparent for the end-user and also very convenient. Moreover, it enables users to collaborate on SharePoint documents and use many of the document management features of SharePoint.

But the security models of Dynamics 365 and SharePoint are significantly different. The out-of-the-box integration from Microsoft does not transfer the restrictions you have set up on CRM over to SharePoint. This results in documents in SharePoint being accessible to users without the required Dynamics CRM privileges.Imagine, for example, that you have a contract stored in Dynamics and only accessible to senior managers. It will suddenly become accessible to everyone in SharePoint when you set up the SharePoint integration.

The question was how to prevent this in an automated way. The answer is CB Dynamics 365 to SharePoint Permissions Replicator, and that is why this is such a popular solution.

It is important to point out that this is an install-and-forget type of solution. Everything is done automatically, requiring no user interaction after the initial configuration. Additionally, every change made to the security role of a user in Dynamics 365 CE, for example, removing him from a group is automatically replicated to SharePoint.

It is also a future-proof solution in terms of both Dynamics document management and SharePoint security. Why? Because when you upgrade to any other version of SharePoint or Dynamics it will keep working.

2.1        Benefits of CB Dynamics 365 to SharePoint Permissions Replicator

When facing the challenges of Dynamics 365 document management, you often turn to the SharePoint integration. This is a great step but don’t forget about SharePoint security!

With the simple addition of CB Dynamics 365 to SharePoint Permissions Replicator you can:

  1. Protect the confidential data of your customers and employees
  2. Support your GDPR compliance – the documents never leave your safe environment
  3. Secure your documents in SharePoint - automatically and in real-time
  4. Have it up and running in 15 minutes, thanks to the automatic user and permission mapping
  5. Have a technically advanced solution with multitenancy and load balancing that guarantees no single point of failure

2.2        Taking It One Step Further - SharePoint Structure Creator

To augment the document management capabilities of SharePoint, we introduced SharePoint Structure Creator. This add-on brilliantly organizes documents in SharePoint, ensuring that they are sorted according to admin-defined rules, facilitating easier access and avoiding potential limitations namely SharePoint’s unique permissions threshold.

This threshold is 5K unique permissions per SharePoint Online and 50K for SharePoint 2013, 2016 and 2019. These limits are usually reached within 1-2 years for large organizations.

Dynamics document management with neat folder structure

Its benefits are:

  • Allowing to arrange SharePoint the way you like – storing records in the alphabetic, calendar order, and many more
  • Saving time your users need to find documents
  • Maintaining GDPR compliance

 

 

3         How about Attachments in Dynamics? Let’s Move Them to Another Cloud Storage!

If your concern is with all those attachments that come in via email and are then tracked into Dynamics, the solution for you is CB Dynamics 365 Seamless Attachment Extractor.

With it, you can move the attachments automatically to an external cloud file storage of your choice: SharePoint, Azure File Storage, Azure Blob Storage. This way, when you send or receive email attachments, they will go first to Dynamics because of the tracking mechanism. As soon as they are in Dynamics, this solution moves the attachments automatically to the respective folders in the configured cloud storage. A link to the location will be left in its place in Dynamics for easy access. For users, it is seamless – it feels like the attachment is still in Dynamics.

Another key point is that you can create multiple configurations, which means you can have two or more cloud storage connectors. You can, by all means, use two connectors of the same kind (e.g., two SharePoint instances) or a combination of different connectors.

3.1        Bulk Migration of Historical Data

With the help of the “First Pass” service, you can move all your attachments, even those historical ones that existed before deploying CB Dynamics 365 Seamless Attachment Extractor. This Windows Service triggers moves the files to the configured external file storage. This bulk migration of Dynamics attachments can save a lot of work. Equally important, it does not interrupt the end-user day-to-day activities.

4         What’s New in 2023?

In 2023, we have enhanced these solutions with advanced features, including:

  • Dynamics 365 + SharePoint document management suiteUser mapping done automatically but On Demand.
    When you choose this option, the mapping is only created when the user first tries to access documents in Dynamics.
  • Improved folder personalizing in SharePoint Structure Creator
    You can now use an LUA function to retrieve any Dynamics record and create a folder based on that.
  • Bundled in the Dynamics 365 + SharePoint Document Management Suite
    These three products together with CB Blockchain Seal in a cost-effective bundle that will make your Dynamics 365 Document Management a breeze.

5         To Make a Long Story Short - Dynamics document management and SharePoint security can coexist

Dynamics 365 is not the best location for your documents and attachments. You gain in terms of storage cost, performance, and regulation compliance (GDPR and the like) by getting documents and attachments in alternative storage.

As Microsoft Gold Partner, Connecting Software recommends SharePoint for documents your team will be working on. This is because of the team collaboration and version control capabilities of SharePoint. Once you have the documents there, make sure correct permissions are enforced by using CB Dynamics 365 to SharePoint Permissions Replicator. To organize documents neatly on SharePoint, consider adding SharePoint Structure Creator, and you will also ensure you will never reach the SharePoint list limit.

For attachments, we recommend either SharePoint, Azure File Storage, or Azure Blob Storage. The choice will depend on what your company might already be using and its cost structure. To get the existing attachments to this external storage and also make sure any incoming or outgoing attachment follow automatically, the best solution is CB Dynamics 365 Seamless Attachment Extractor.

Now it is time for you to decide! If you need extra information or have any questions, comment below or feel free to connect at ana@connecting-software.com.

 

Ana Neto - Connecting Software - Author of the article on Dynamics 365 Document Management and SharePoint Security

By Ana Neto

Software engineer since 1997, she is now a technical advisor for Connecting Software. Connecting Software is a producer of integration and synchronization software solutions since 2004. We operate globally, and we are also a proud “Top Member” and “Top Blogger” at CRMSoftwareBlog.

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