Frequently Asked Questions for Microsoft SharePoint
What is Microsoft SharePoint?
Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based platform designed for team collaboration and communication. Available either on-premises or in the cloud, it is the platform of choice of many organisations as it can be configured or customised depending on usage preference.
Typical use cases of SharePoint are:
- Document and content management.
- Corporate intranet or portals.
- Workflow automation.
- Publishing of management dashboards.
You can find more information about what SharePoint can do and its benefits here.
What does SharePoint do?
As an enterprise content management system (ECM), Microsoft SharePoint can streamline communications, centralise information, strengthen team collaboration, and automate business processes. SharePoint is highly customisable that organisations of all sizes use it for their:
- Intranet Portal.
- Communication Portal.
- Document management.
- Policy management.
- Contract management.
- Knowledge Base.
- Workflow automation.
- Helpdesk and Ticketing.
- HR Onboarding and Offboarding.
- Organisational, departmental, and project collaboration.
Listed above are top SharePoint use cases, but it can be used in other ways depending on your unique requirements. Ask us how we can help you implement a SharePoint environment that suits your business needs. Book your complimentary consultation here or call us at 1800 126 499.
Are the SharePoint Plans in Office 365 equivalent to SharePoint Standard and Enterprise?
No, they are tailored plans with their own features and limitations. To find out more about Office 365 subscription and SharePoint Server options, call Professional Advantage at 1800 126 499.
Which is better for SharePoint – Office 365 or on-premise?
The main difference between Office 365 and an on-premise version of Microsoft SharePoint is that you rent Office 365 but buy the on‑premises version. Office 365 is provided as software‑as‑a‑service and does not involve a heavy up‑front investment. With Office 365, you pay a monthly or annual subscription fee that entitles you to automatic version upgrades and Office on-demand services.
The top reasons for moving to Office 365:
- No longer have to invest in IT hardware or software with continuous release cycles and automatic upgrades.
- Get access to automatic backups and geo-replicated disaster recovery.
- Instantly mobilise your workforce with Microsoft Teams and offline sync for your documents with OneDrive.
- And use the latest Microsoft software and never have to do an upgrade or migration project again!
If your preference is to own your own software, or if you're not sure you can maintain an Office 365 subscription for the long term, the on‑premises version may be your best option. However, this means that when Microsoft upgrades its Office software, you won't have the latest version.
Contact us at 1800 126 499 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about SharePoint licensing and deployment options.
How much does it cost to deploy SharePoint?
Professional Advantage provides a pre-defined SharePoint in-a-box solution for a moderate fee, however, the pricing for a custom-designed and deployed solution (which is the typical option for most customers), would be determined by your needs in terms of system functionalities and capabilities.
For more information about SharePoint’s pricing and licensing, please contact Professional Advantage at 1800 126 499.
Why should I use SharePoint instead of a file share?
File shares are clunky, harder to find the information that you need, doesn't provide an audit trail or secure file sharing. SharePoint on the other hand has:
- Co-authoring - update the same document with your teammates at the same time.
- Version Control - see what modifications were done on your document by whom and when.
- Powerful Search - lets you find the information that you need in mere seconds.
- Secure file sharing and storage - store your files in a secure site and share them only with people who have access to your team site.
- Real-time collaboration - collaborate on documents with colleagues in real-time.
- Access your files anytime, anywhere, on any device.
You can read more about the advantages of using SharePoint instead of a file share in one of our blogs here.
Can I create a public-facing website using SharePoint Online?
No unfortunately you can't. Microsoft needs to authenticate all users who access a SharePoint site.
Can I still access my files on SharePoint if I’m offline?
Your files can be synced locally on your PC. Changes made to your documents will be synched the next time you go online.
Can I share to external users from my SharePoint environment?
Yes you can. SharePoint is built with collaboration in mind not just for internal users but for external parties as well such as customers or suppliers.
Do I need to install an app to access SharePoint?
SharePoint is web-based and can be accessed using any of your favorite browsers or devices. However, you have the option to install the SharePoint app on your mobile device for a better user experience.
What are the common SharePoint security mistakes that I need to avoid and how do I keep it locked down?
Below are some of the common SharePoint security mistakes that many organisations commit.
- Access rights that are too broad.
- Using default or weak passwords in their SharePoint environment.
- Ignoring patch management.
- Using traditional security tools to protect their data in SharePoint.
To keep your SharePoint Online environment locked down, you need a set of tools that will allow you to proactively protect against and detect breaches before it can cause damage. More about the security tools available on this blog and recorded webinar.
Alternatively, you may call us at 1800 126 499 or email us at email@example.com for more information.
How do I drive end-user adoption on my SharePoint Intranet?
A major success indicator for any Intranet project is when your users actually use it. The key to driving end-user adoption is keeping your users engaged and make sure you don’t make change management an afterthought.
Try customising your adoption campaigns per user type or encouraging competitions and incentive programs to drive usage or keeping the interface nice and simple. These and many more are just some of our tips to help your users adapt to the new technology.
Read more about our tips on how to drive SharePoint adoption in this blog.
If you need further assistance with your SharePoint change management, please visit this page to learn how we can help.
Do you need a SharePoint developer to implement SharePoint?
Anyone implementing SharePoint should have the right set of administration and development skills. Embarking on a SharePoint project without a good technical understanding of the platform may result to a failed project, increased rework costs or inability to fully maximise its potential.
We highly recommend working with a SharePoint partner such as Professional Advantage who has a team of experienced developers, solution architects and project managers, has in-depth real-world experience, and uses proven implementation methodologies to ensure the success of your project. A good track record of SharePoint projects would come in handy too to validate their experience.
Do you need training on SharePoint to use it?
To ensure that your users have the right knowledge to share documents, configure team sites, administer SharePoint, develop apps, or customise workflows—we recommend that users undergo training. The training can be done as part of your project’s User Acceptance Training (UAT) and/or change management plan to be facilitated by your implementation partner.
It can also be taken from a Microsoft Learning Partner for an instructor-led, more general kind of approach.
What is Delve?
Microsoft Delve is a search tool that lets you find the information that's most relevant to whatever it is that you and your colleagues are working on. If you have ever had trouble finding and organising the files you need when you need them - and that's just about everybody - Delve provides the solution.
As Microsoft says, "Delve highlights key information of interest to you, based on what you are working on and the actions of people in your network."
Using Delve, you do not need to search throughout your different applications to find you're looking for - Delve integrates your relevant content all in the one place.
Delve tracks your online activity and produces search results that are based on that activity. Information unearthed by Delve is presented in an attractive, easy to understand card based design. With Delve, you don't even need to know the name of a file or where it is stored. Delve presents documents wherever they are stored in Office 365 or OneDrive for Business.
What are the reasons to use SharePoint?
Deployed into Microsoft 365 cloud, you no longer have to consider upfront hardware investment or regular hardware refresh, nor do you need to think about future software upgrades with SharePoint Online. You also get to take advantage of these key features:
- Access to out-of-the-box (OOTB) web parts or tailor them according to your needs.
- Easy integration with Microsoft 365 apps such as Teams, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI.
- Native integration with employee experience apps such as Microsoft Viva.
- Rapid creation of modern corporate Intranet portal.
- Build rich-looking team sites using its drag-and-drop functionality and pre-built themes.
- Built-in security features for data protection and managing permissions.
- Accessible 24x7x365 on any device.
- FISMA, ISO 27001 compliant, among other regulatory norms.
- Automatic updates with guaranteed uptime from Microsoft.
- Highly scalable.
What are the risks of using an outdated version of SharePoint?
If you are still using obsolete version of SharePoint for your Intranet portal or other business-critical application, you would be wise to commence planning your migration to SharePoint on Microsoft 365. Past the end of life deadline, you risk facing managing these challenges on your own:
- Costly or no technical support.
Without Microsoft’s regular patches and updates, you will be on your own with supporting an obsolete version of SharePoint. This will impact your user’s overall experience if your SharePoint environment (or your applications hosted on it) experiences any kind of ‘bugs’ or failures, resulting in extended downtime to fix an unsupported fix. That is if it is even possible. You may find a third-party vendor that supports an obsolete SharePoint version but not without incurring steep support costs.
- Increased security risks.
Microsoft's regular patches to guard against modern-day hackers and cyber criminals will no longer be available post-end of life support of your SharePoint version. This leaves your organisation vulnerable to security breaches, not to mention the possibility of falling out of organisational compliance with industry regulations or standards.
- Future application incompatibility.
Your organisation will continue to evolve and require new application functionalities to be added to your SharePoint environment well into the future. But meeting this goal by adding new features to a vendor-retired SharePoint version will be challenging, given its compatibility issues with the latest and modern applications.
To avoid these risks, we recommend planning your migration to SharePoint Online and we provided some insights into how you could do that successfully in this blog. You may also reach out to us for a SharePoint migration assistance.
Does SharePoint have a document management system?
Absolutely! In fact, being an enterprise content management (ECM) system, Microsoft SharePoint is primarily used for document management and collaboration. Part of its core functionality as a document management system are:
- Document Libraries. Store and manage files in a centralised document repository so your users can organise, access, collaborate, and version control files effectively.
- Versioning. Track changes in your documents and manage document revisions. You can view previous versions, compare versions, and restore earlier versions if needed.
- Check-In/Check-Out. Check out documents to prevent other users from making conflicting changes in your documents. This feature ensures that only one person can edit a document at a time, maintaining data integrity and avoiding conflicts.
- Metadata and Tagging. Create custom metadata columns and tags to make it easier to search, filter, and categorise documents based on specific attributes.
- Document Collaboration. Empower real-time collaboration on documents with your teammates by enabling simultaneous editing of document, viewing of changes made by others, communicating through comments, or assigning tasks.
- Document Approval Workflows. Streamline document review and approval processes by defining sequential or parallel approval steps, set deadlines, and receiving notifications for pending approvals.
- Document Permissions and Access Control. Set granular permissions on documents, folders, or libraries. You can restrict access to sensitive documents, control who can view, edit, or delete files, and define permission levels for different user groups.
- Document Searching. Find documents quickly based on keywords, metadata, or content within the document. The search results can be further refined using filters.
- Records Management. Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements with SharePoint. It allows you to declare documents as records, apply retention policies, and manage the lifecycle of important documents.
Can I use SharePoint to manage my policies and procedures?
Definitely! Leveraging SharePoint’s document management system capabilities and collaboration features, it is the perfect solution to help you manage your entire policy lifecycle. Because it’s already part of your Microsoft 365 digital workplace, your users no longer have to collaborate and store their documents in one system and apply necessary metadata and tags for compliance in another.
We tackled what makes SharePoint best suited to solve your policy management frustrations in this blog post, but here’s a high-level overview:
- Single place to collaborate and automate your policy management lifecycle process.
- Always be ready for auditing.
- Automate policy reviews and approvals.
- Keep your documents well organised.
- Maintain access control and security.
- Native integration to Microsoft 365 tools and services.
What is iWorkplace?
iWorkplace is a set of tools available through Professional Advantage that are designed to help you simplify managing digital workspaces and get the most from Microsoft SharePoint and Teams. Developed by New Zealand’s Information Leadership, these ready-made tools make achieving your data protection and compliance requirements at scale easier, more cost-effective, and more user-friendly.
With iWorkplace and Professional Advantage as your partner implementor, you can say goodbye to:
- Siloed, difficult-to-use records management systems that your users resist adopting.
- Sprawling teams and channels that make navigating and finding content challenging.
- Difficult and costly to maintain on-premises records management systems.
Any large organisation can use iWorkplace especially those with heavy regulatory and data compliance requirements particularly in the finance, councils or government administration, healthcare, education, not-for-profit and other similar industries.
Contact us at 1800 126 499 to learn more about iWorkplace.
How does iWorkplace help with my business’ information protection and compliance needs?
There are three main points on how iWorkplace can help you meet your organisation’s information protection and compliance needs.
- Conform to information protection and compliance standards easily.
- Auto provisioning of folders with metadata automatically applied, making a Microsoft Team’s library fully compliant.
- Get access to developed retention and disposal schemas.
- Leverage existing Microsoft 365 security capabilities for building retention policies, sensitivity labels, etc.
- Improve productivity by achieving strong user adoption.
- Simplify user experience with only one place to go to file things.
- Uses native Microsoft SharePoint Online user interface.
- Avoid double handling of information between siloed systems.
- Easier for Record Keepers who are mostly not SharePoint Administrators.
- Provide instant access to audits and content control reports.
- Lower total client cost of ownership.
- Up to 80% time reduction in rolling out your content taxonomy.
- Low-cost licensing: does not require Microsoft 365 E5 licenses.
- Considerably cheaper solution cost versus other alternatives.
- Self-sufficiency higher, so much easier to administer.
Contact us at 1800 126 499 or sign up here to learn more about how your organisation can further benefit from an information protection and compliance solution with iWorkplace.
How do I protect data in SharePoint?
Traditional security tools such as firewalls and anti-virus are no longer enough to keep your data safe against advanced and persistent cyber threats, but you can take these actions to protect your data in SharePoint.
- Prevent data loss.
Prevent accidental sharing of confidential information to the wrong people. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies can identify personally identifiable information across Microsoft 365 including SharePoint, emails, and OneDrive content, preventing the accidental sharing of sensitive information. You can easily set this up on your existing Microsoft 365 Enterprise plan subscription without paying extra fees.
- Classify and label documents.
Depending on the sensitivity of your content, you can classify and label documents with persistent protection regardless of whom the document was shared with or where it is stored. Azure Information Protection (AIP) is a tool in the Microsoft Security stack that provides administrators with the capability to define how content is protected using automatic or recommended classification.
- Detect breaches before they cause damage.
Much of the content being shared to and from SharePoint environments is via email communications, so having the ability to protect against malware or unsafe links used for phishing attacks becomes a basic necessity for any IT administrator. Microsoft 365 Threat and Endpoint Protection can identify and block malicious files that may otherwise end up in online libraries such as SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams. Coupled with Cloud App Security, you have insight into the threats being targeted at your business and users in Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.
- Gain visibility and control of data in the cloud.
If your business is not yet in the cloud, your employees will be to some degree, even more so if they are working remotely or are frequently mobile. The use of Dropbox or other file sharing apps can compromise your data’s security if there is no control over what they are sharing or storing in the cloud. With Cloud App Security, you get visibility on what cloud apps are being used within your organisation and can identify the potential risks that it can bring based on up to sixty factors.
- Protect data on the go.
User credentials often get compromised and result in a security breach in your SharePoint environment and other apps when your users lose their mobile device or laptop. Protect your corporate data while allowing your users to stay productive on to go with Microsoft Intune. With it in place, you can enforce security policies, configure device settings, manage applications, and protect corporate data on both company-owned and personal devices.
Contact us at 1800 126 499 or sign up here to learn how we can help secure your SharePoint environment.
How long is a typical SharePoint implementation?
SharePoint implementations can be completed in as little as 10 days for out of the box functionalities or months for more complex or bespoke requirements. You may contact us at 1800 126 499 or firstname.lastname@example.org to consult with us for free to determine how long yours would take.
For custom SharePoint approach and implementation, you can sign up for our 10-day SharePoint & Teams Analyse & Design Workshop. The workshop will help you to jumpstart a modern communication portal and team collaboration hub based on specific priorities and features that you want included in your SharePoint environment.
Is there not-for-profit licensing for SharePoint?
SharePoint can be purchased as part of your Microsoft 365 software bundle or as a stand alone plan. Both plans do not have NFP pricing. You can, however, take advantage of Microsoft’s NFP offers. Eligible NFPs can get Microsoft 365 Business Premium free for up to 10 licenses and discounted per user per month for additional users.
Check this site for eligibility requirements. You can then proceed to registering your NFP here to gain access to the benefits. Professional Advantage also provides discounted consulting rate for eligible NFPs.
How do I assess if I’m ready to upgrade to the latest SharePoint on-premises version?
The key to determining your readiness is to do your homework first. Plan the upgrade with your users early on and perform an audit of your existing environment. Determine which sites or files to retain or plan to build on your SharePoint farm. You can also read these additional resources to help you better prepare for your SharePoint upgrade project:
- SharePoint implementation fails to avoid.
- How to migrate your file shares and why you should.
- Renovating your SharePoint Information Architecture.
If you still need further guidance, please don’t hesitate to reach out at 1800 126 499 or email us at email@example.com.
What do I need to prepare in advance before a migration or an upgrade?
First and foremost, understand your primary purpose as it will dictate the vision for the project. Learn the new platform’s capabilities as well so you’ll know what’s possible before you begin. More about the key things you need to prepare for in advance in this infographic.
How long does it take to migrate or upgrade my SharePoint environment?
The timeframe to complete a migration or upgrade project largely depends on the amount of content you intend to put into your new environment. The sooner you start discussing with experienced SharePoint consultants about your requirements, timeframe and budget, the better.
Can I still follow the folder format in my file share when I migrate my files to SharePoint?
While SharePoint can accommodate your folder structure similar to your file share, we think it’s no longer needed. SharePoint has a powerful search capability that simplifies the way you organise and categorise your files. It does most notably through the use of metadata. Tagging your files in a consistent way will make it easier to find them for future use, without the need to dig through heaps of folders.
Should I migrate my whole file server to SharePoint as my sole document storage platform?
No, many files are not suitable for storing in a web-based format. Also, the infrastructure cost and admin cost of SharePoint is far greater than a file server. Only migrate documents that benefit from a managed, version controlled collaborative space. Identify active and non-active files and keep the non-active files on cheaper storage in file servers. Index them via the search and/or plug them seamlessly into the web experience using third party add-ons.