What is SharePoint Institute?

written by: Katie Cothran on September 19th, 2014

SharePoint world has traditionally focused on the technical, farm administrator position and functions without much consideration for the majority of the SharePoint audience:  Users. SharePoint Institute is a new organization that is an advocate for SharePoint users and is SharePoint Institute“dedicated to the advancement of SharePoint professionals through real-world business application.”  It also gauges knowledge and skills in specific topic areas. Similar to CompTIA’s user certification program, SharePoint Institute has established an industry standard among SharePoint users.

SharePoint Institute currently has four certificates available in:

  • Power User and Site Owner
  • Project Management
  • Business Intelligence
  • Business Process Automation

These certificates can be earned by any SharePoint user who wants to show proficiency in their SharePoint skills and knowledge. Each certificate assessment contains 60 multiple choice questions and takes about two hours to complete. In order to complete one’s certificate, one must take a SharePoint Institute approved training course and pass the certificate assessment by answering at least 80% of the questions correctly.

ASPE-IT offers courses that correlate to each of the four certificates. For example, SharePoint 2013 Boot Camp, which is approved by SharePoint Institute, aligns with the Power User and Site Owner Certificate. In the past 3 months there have been 58 ASPE-IT students who attended the SharePoint 2013 Boot Camp and took the SharePoint Institute Assessment for Power Users. Of those, 90% have received their Power User Certificate.

ASPE-IT also offers SharePoint 2013 for Project Managers, SharePoint 2013 for Business Intelligence and SharePoint 2013 Business Process Automation, which align with the SharePoint Institute Certificates of the same names.

If you are interested in earning your SharePoint Institute credentials, please contact the ASPE-IT customer service team at customerservice@aspeinc.com or call 1-877-800-5221 and ask for your training advisor.


SharePoint 2013 Information Management Policy – Use Case 1

written by: Tom Robbins on September 17th, 2014

In my continuing discussion around Information Management Policy in SharePoint 2013 I want to give an example of a real-world use case and then detail how to implement the policy.

This first example is designed to explain how to create Information Management Policy at the Site Collection level to give an organization a way to manage different retention schedules across the information stored within the Site Collection.  Specifically, the division whose sites are contained within the “PMO” site collection has 2 distinct information retention processes that they want to implement.  First, there is a policy for certain documents that states the document should be retained and after 1 year, all previous draft versions should be deleted.  Secondly, after 5 years, the document should be permanently deleted.  This is a requirement of IT Policy 14.19B.  These two processes can be implemented by creating Information Management Policy at the Site Collection level and then applying the policy across documents within the Site Collection.

The steps to accomplish this are detailed below:

  1. At the Site Collection access Site Settings > Site Collection Administration > Content Type Policy Templates


  2. Under Policies, select “Create” and specify the policy information as shown below:

    Click to continue »


Web Seminar Recap: What is DevOps? A Colorful Introduction

written by: Tegan Smith on September 9th, 2014

For decades, application developers and IT operations people have been set up in armed camps, often at odds with each other and unable to trace sources of frustration to their root cause. The business suffers while non-technical people wonder “what everyone in IT is doing.”

DevOps is a grassroots movement sweeping IT and project shops across the western world. Like any buzzword, there’s no exact definition and lots of misconception. However, the underlying forces and reasons behind the DevOps movement are clear. It’s an exciting and heady brew of corporate culture shifts, IT worker empowerment, amazing new tools, cloud computing capabilities, and movement towards a new vision of enterprise IT capability which is unified, agile, and oriented around the needs of the business. Properly understood, this movement reveals a world where it’s possible to deploy code faster and more effectively than ever – continuously, with an ethic of non-stop quality improvement and value for the business.

In this one-hour presentation, presenter Chris Knotts took attendees on a tour of the DevOps movement and explained the massive potential that lies behind it. This seminar, What is DevOps? A Colorful Introduction, was held on September 2nd, 2014 at Noon EST. Missed this seminar? Catch up by downloading the slides here.


The Information Security Management Dilemma

written by: Chris Knotts on September 4th, 2014

If you’re in charge of your company’s information security or data protection, it’s an interesting time to lay awake in bed at night, to say the least. We guess that only about one in ten security owners are resting easy. On one hand, from a technical standpoint we face lot of the same old problems. On the other hand, things feel really different. Technical problems are one thing – it’s the circumstances surrounding information security management that have drastically changed in the last few years.

Threats are far more common. Hackers have organized into professional business units. We’re not talking about bored teenage kids hacking from the basement. No – today’s hacker works with a team. There are millions, if not billions, of dollars being made on black market clearinghouses that sell stolen credit card numbers and personally identifying information. Nation states sponsor agency-level attackers who dragnet corporate secrets, patents, and intellectual property by the truckload. Every day we hear about another high profile data breech from a Fortune company.

So, in large companies, in every IT organization, we find a Security Manager, a CISO, or some other security ownership role who is responsible for preventing their employer from being the next high-profile victim. They have some authority and perhaps even some staff, and certainly there is some excellent technology to work with. So with these dedicated roles and assets in place, why are massive data breeches and security failures so rampant?

You can learn a lot about security failures by studying security management. When we started doing in-depth research on the world of the security manager, right away we found that most security managers fall into two groups. They are:

  1. The talented IT professional who has progressed into management. There is a logical path here. Smart IT folks are the number one talent pool from which information security specialists come. At some point, they begin to specialize in security, and if they do well they eventually grow into a management role and become a security owner. Here’s where we run into trouble – like so many technologists who are good enough at IT to be given management authority, they don’t always prove to have good management skills (at least at first). So the technology component is covered for these folks, but the weakest links in information security aren’t the technology pieces: they are people and processes (or lack thereof). And if you’re not good at management, you don’t have these pieces covered.

  2. The manager who has been placed in charge of information security. Obviously, these folks are a little better at the management role, but they often don’t have technical backgrounds or IT experience, and that’s pretty important. The management professional or business leader often also suffers from an inability to design and maintain effective security processes and policy, not because they don’t appreciate good robust processes, but because they don’t have any experience with the type of technical expertise, IT worker or hardware that make up such important components of this area.

Both groups clearly bring value. But it’s a rare security pro who comes out of the gate good at managing all the ingredients needed for robust protection: the technology, the people, the processes and the interaction between them.

So what to do? Good technologists don’t make good security managers without good management skills. Good managers don’t make good security managers without adequate technical literacy. Both sides of the coin are critical, and the end result of a deficiency in either is inevitably a weakness that can be exploited by ever-watchful hackers on the prowl.

The key, in our view, is all about the right kind of literacy: not just technical literacy or management literacy. We’re talking about literacy of both in an information security context. Managing for security isn’t like other types of management. However, like many other types of management dilemmas, the obstacles boil down to a lack of well-defined business processes which integrate people and technology, and stitch them into alignment with overall management objectives.

That’s a tough situation, but there is good news there. First, because you have to diagnose the illness before you can prescribe the cure. And second, there is a cure, because we’ve made major strides in teaching organizations how to build solid business processes which integrate people with sophisticated technology and complicated business objectives.

But first, you have to understand the dilemma.     


SharePoint 2013 List and Library “Reindex”

written by: Tom Robbins on September 2nd, 2014

When people search for content on your SharePoint sites, what’s in your search index determines what they’ll find. The search index contains information from all documents and pages on your site.

The search index is built up by crawling the content on your SharePoint site. The crawler picks up content and metadata from the documents in the form of crawled properties. To get the content and metadata from the documents into the search index, the crawled properties must be mapped to managed properties. Only managed properties are kept in the index. This means that users can only search on managed properties.

When you have changed a managed property, or when you have changed the mapping of crawled and managed properties, the site must be re-crawled before your changes will be reflected in the search index. Because your changes are made in the search schema, and not to the actual site, the crawler will not automatically re-index the site. To make sure that your changes are crawled and fully re-indexed, you must request a re-indexing of the site. The site content will be re-crawled and re-indexed so that you can start using the managed properties in queries, query rules and display templates.

You can also choose to only re-index a document library or a list. When you have changed a managed property that’s used in a library or list, or changed the mapping of crawled and managed properties, you can specifically request a re-indexing of that library or list only. All of the content in that library or list is marked as changed, and the content is picked up during the next scheduled crawl and re-indexed.

Manually request crawling and re-indexing of a site, a library or a list

In SharePoint Online, content is automatically crawled based on a defined crawl schedule. The crawler picks up content that has changed since the last crawl and updates the index. In some cases, you may want to manually request crawling and full re-indexing of a site, a document library, or a list.

Re-index a site

WARNING    Re-indexing a site can cause a massive load on the search system. Don’t re-index your site unless you’ve made changes that require all items to be re-indexed.

  1. On the site, click Settings > Site Settings.
  2. Under Search, click Search and offline availability.
  3. In the Reindex site section, click Reindex site.
  4. A warning appears, click Reindex site again to confirm. The content will be re-indexed during the next scheduled crawl.

Re-index a document library or a list

  1. On the site, go to the list or library that you want to re-index.
  2. In the ribbon, click the Library tab or the List tab.
  3. In the Library ribbon, choose Library Settings,

In the List ribbon choose List Settings.

  1. On the Settings page, under General Settings, choose Advanced settings.
  2. Scroll down to Reindex Document Library or Reindex List, and click the button. The content will be re-indexed during the next scheduled crawl.


SharePoint 2013 Information Management Policies – Part 2

written by: Tom Robbins on August 29th, 2014

In my first post regarding Information Management Policies, I defined the policies, how they are used, and the different options for applying the policies.  In this post I will discuss defining policies at the Site Collection level which can then be used as published policies within the Site Collection.

An organization will first determine what policies need to be defined, and then scope of those policies.  In this example, we will define a retention policy which can be used within the Site Collection.

  1. From the top-level site in a Site Collection, Open Settings > Site Settings
  2. Under Site Collection Administration, select Content Type Policy Templates


  3. Click Create
  4. Give your policy a name, administrative description, and policy statement.  It’s important to define the policy statement as this is displayed to your users.
  5. For a retention policy template, click the check box beside Enable Retention
  6. Select Add a retention stage
  7. Select This stage is based off a date property on the item
  8. Set to Created Date + 1 years
  9. Select Move to recycle bin
  10. Click OK

    This policy can now be used when creating Content Types to define a retention policy on those content types.

In my next blog post, we will define a content type using this “Employee Information Policy”.


Web Seminar Recap: Improve your Software Development Processes with TFS 2013

written by: Admin on August 28th, 2014

Team Foundation Server 2013 is an integrated platform for collaborating on software development projects. At its core, it offers robust source control management. But it’s much more than that! TFS offers requirements management, defect management, project management portal, test case management and automation, build automation, reporting, and more.

In this free web seminar, attendees learned how to use TFS 2013 to solve many of the challenges your development teams face. We examined the new source code features including GIT, agile management features, portfolio planning, requirements, task, and bug tracking, automated builds, and more.

This one hour seminar, Improve your Software Development Processes with TFS 2013, was hosted by Bryon Brewer on Thursday, August 21st at Noon EST. Download the slides and recording here.


Web Seminar Recap- Q and A: The Information Security Career Path

written by: Admin on August 28th, 2014

The laws of supply and demand function in the career landscape just like anywhere else in the market. With hacks and attacks happening every day in broad daylight, organizations are scrambling to figure out how to keep up: how to protect themselves, their information, and ultimately the value of shares and public trust.

This has created a strong demand for Information professionals who specialize in security, with a particular need for analysts and managers who can connect technical security resources to the goals and controls of the business. The opportunities are there, but there’s not always a clearly defined path for a security pro who wants to advance. If you want to grow, build your career, and offer greater competency in information security, what does that path look like?

In this one-hour Q and A session, The Information Security Career Path, expert security consulting partners Mike Beevers and Chris Knotts took questions and had a conversation about the practical, real-world possibilities for growing your career and earning power as an information security owner, all while delivering value and protection to your organization.

Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording here.


SharePoint 2013 Information Management Policies – Part 1

written by: Tom Robbins on August 27th, 2014

In an ever increasing litigious world, it is more important than ever for organizations to have clear policies for managing information. It’s no longer an option in your information management system to avoid having clear policies and procedures for how information is regulated. Policies that govern who can access your information, what they can do with the information, the retention periods of records, and the auditability of information must be in place. Regulators and examiners have very specific guidelines about how retention and auditing must be implemented.

SharePoint 2013 provides very useful tools for regulating the creation, interaction, and disposition of content using Information Management Policies. These Information Management Policies are a set of rules that are assigned to content within SharePoint. These rules will define the retention schedule, auditability, and barcodes (Labels were deprecated in 2013).  These policies can be defined for multiple content types within a site collection, a list, a library, or folder (location-based retention policy). Policies can be created at the Site Collection and used within Content Types as well to enforce consistency.  Policies can be deployed across site collections for enterprise-wide policy deployment.

These policies provide a structured way for content owners and administrators to define the relevant retention policies and apply them consistently across all relevant information.  These policies help keep users from having to think about when to apply policies as they are applied automatically once defined.   Management of these policies is not complicated.  The configuration is GUI driven and is included in the SharePoint interface.  The policies configuration is accessed in Permissions and Policies under Information Management Policies in a List or Library.

The following are the types of settings available when defining policy:

  • Retention   The Retention policy feature lets you define retention stages, with an action that happens at the end of each stage. For example, you could define a two-stage retention policy on all documents in a specific library that deletes all previous versions of the document one year after the document is created, and declares the document to be a record five years after the document is created.

    The actions that can occur at the end of a stage include the following:



    • Moving the item to the Recycle Bin
    • Permanently deleting the item
    • Transferring the item to another location
    • Starting a workflow
    • Skipping to the next stage
    • Declaring the item to be a record
    • Deleting all previous drafts of the item
    • Deleting all previous versions of the item

  • Auditing   The Auditing policy feature logs events and operations that are performed on documents and list items. You can configure Auditing to log events such as the following:



    • Editing a document or item
    • Viewing a document or item
    • Checking a document in or out
    • Changing the permissions for a document or item
    • Deleting a document or item
  • Labeling   The label policy feature has been deprecated and should not be used in SharePoint Server 2013.
  • Barcode   The Barcode policy feature enables you to track physical copies of a document by creating a unique identifier value for a document and inserting a bar code image of that value in the document. By default, bar codes are compliant with the common Code 39 standard (ANSI/AIM BC1-1995, Code 39), and you can plug in other bar code providers by using the policies object model.

In the next blog post, I will discuss creating and implementing these policies.


ASPE President Completes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Nominates Partner Global Knowledge

written by: Traci Taylor on August 21st, 2014

ASPE President, David Mantica, completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge nominating team members of training partner, Global Knowledge. Erica Loring, Jenna Doss, Tamara Phillips, Bill Baer and Bob Baer, you have 24 hours!