Microsoft SharePoint 2010 has some great capabilities built in for accessing SharePoint from a mobile device. Some mobile browsers are fully supported out of the box, and others are partially supported today, with more support to come in the future. Lately I’ve been researching how we secure access to SharePoint from a mobile device or tablet for a particular customer, and there are several useful blog posts already out there that have been an enormous help. Securing access from a mobile device is becoming a critical part of security planning for SharePoint, as the phenomenon of Bring Your Own Device to work just continues to grow. In this short post, I’d like to highlight those articles and point readers to them as an important resource as they think about how to allow secure access to SharePoint from a mobile device.
With the phenomenon of Bring Your Own Device to work, IT departments no longer have complete control of which devices are being used to access corporate resources. People want to use their own mobile device or tablet in order to get their work done. And, enterprises want to allow this because of the cost savings involved, despite the risks.
In fact, a recent Forrester survey found that 81% of enterprises will support or are interested in supporting the iPad this year. This means that mobile access must be considered when determining how to control access to your sensitive content in SharePoint.
In planning mobile access to your SharePoint 2010 deployment, you should first consult the following article on the Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering Team Blog:
It will introduce the supported mobility scenarios for Office 2010. These mobility scenarios rely on support from SharePoint 2010 mobility, and this post describes how to setup your SharePoint environment so you can take advantage of mobile access.
Securing Access to Various Mobile Browsers
In Microsoft SharePoint 2010 today, you can enable or deny access to SharePoint based on a user’s mobile browser. This allows you to control which types of mobile devices can and cannot access SharePoint. This is configured through a simple customization of Out-Of-Box SharePoint. For the technical folks in the crowd, this is done by adding the appropriate section and user-agent string to the compat.browser file under the Virtual Directories folder for your specific web application.
There is a great blog post on the Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog found here (SharePoint 2010 and Apple iPad) that will guide you step by step on how to configure this.
Redirecting Users to the Full Web Interface on Mobile Browsers
As well, there are circumstances when the SharePoint 2010 mobile web interface is just not sufficient for your needs, either from a content collaboration point of view or from a security point of view. Through some simple code, you can modify the SharePoint redirect for mobile access to present the full web interface as opposed to the more limited mobile interface.
There is a great blog post by Waldek Mastykarz found here (Inconvenient SharePoint 2010 Mobile Redirect) that will walk you through the code and the modifications necessary to make this happen.
Special thanks to the authors of these articles, who spend their time helping the communicate understand how to better share and collaborate securely in Microsoft SharePoint.