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Enhanced Administrative Features for Office 365 Enterprise E3 SharePoint Online Plans

Microsoft has announced a major change in Office 365, scheduled for March 1, 2013. On February 27, 2013 we signed into our E3 Plan administration center for SharePoint and noted several new options:

  • Manage Secure Store Service
  • Manage Term Store
  • Manage Business Data Connectivity

Each of the above provide SharePoint Administrators with a quick, point and click configuration method.

Manage Secure Store Service
In the last two posts to this blog we’ve made the case for using the Secure Store Service as the recommended method of building connectors to external systems to support Excel Services for SharePoint. SharePoint stakeholders should note that changes in SharePoint 2013 require connections to external systems that are either managed with the Secure Store Service, or hard coded into connection strings. If your organization has a substantial commitment to BI and uses the PowerPivot Add-in for Excel, then you should use the Secure Services Store to manage external connections.

The process of adding external data sources to the Secure Store Service for Office 365, SharePoint Online is accomplished with point and click operation, and some text box completion as follows:

  • Target Application Settings, which map each external data source to a unique identifier, and an owner for the data source by email address
  • Credential Fields — a maximum of ten can be added for each data source. Personnel are entered by Windows User Name and Windows Password. Administrators can either opt to mask the each field, or expose one, or both to the user
  • Target Application Administrators. This list of personnel provides an administrative hierarchy for management of external data sources. As noted above, the data source owner is identified separately in the Target Application Settings. A look up service is provided, which can be used to browse for personnel via Active Directory, or to check names
  • Members. This list of personnel maps the credentials provided for the external data source connection to a designated group of users for the application. Any member of this group can establish the connection to the external data source, transparently, via this feature. A look up service is provided to check names, or browse Active Directory for members of this group

In the next post we will provide a peek at the administrative interfaces for Term Store and Business Data Connectivity.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved