Apply Information Rights Management to a list or library

You can use Information Rights Management (IRM) with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 sites to help control and protect files that are downloaded from lists or libraries.



What is Information Rights Management?

Information Rights Management (IRM) enables you to limit the actions that users can take on files that have been downloaded from SharePoint lists or libraries. IRM encrypts the downloaded files and limits the set of users and programs that are allowed to decrypt these files. IRM can also limit the rights of the users who are allowed to read files so that they cannot take actions such as print copies of the files or copy text from them.

You can use IRM on lists or libraries to limit the dissemination of sensitive content. For example, if you are creating a document library to share information about upcoming products with selected marketing representatives, you can use IRM to prevent these individuals from sharing this content with other employees in the company.

On an Office SharePoint Server 2007 site, you apply IRM to an entire list or library, rather than to individual files. This makes it easier to ensure a consistent level of protection for an entire set of documents or files. IRM can thus help your organization to enforce corporate policies that govern the control and dissemination of confidential or proprietary information.

How IRM can help protect content

IRM helps to protect restricted content in the following ways:

  • Helps to prevent an authorized viewer from copying, modifying, printing, faxing, or copying and pasting the content for unauthorized use
  • Helps to prevent an authorized viewer from copying the content by using the Print Screen feature in Microsoft Windows
  • Helps to prevent an unauthorized viewer from viewing the content if it is sent in e-mail after it is downloaded from the server
  • Restricts access to content to a specified period of time, after which users must confirm their credentials and download the content again
  • Helps to enforce corporate policies that govern the use and dissemination of content within your organization

How IRM cannot help protect content

IRM cannot protect restricted content from the following:

  • Erasure, theft, capture, or transmission by malicious programs such as Trojan horses, keystroke loggers, and certain types of spyware
  • Loss or corruption because of the actions of computer viruses
  • Manual copying or retyping of content from the display on a screen
  • Digital or film photography of content that is displayed on a screen
  • Copying through the use of third-party screen-capture programs
  • Copying of content metadata (column values) through use of third-party screen-capture programs or copy-and-paste action

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How IRM works for SharePoint lists and libraries

IRM protection is applied to files at the list or library level. When you enable IRM for a list or library, you can protect any file type in that list or library for which a protector is installed on all front-end Web servers. A protector is a program that controls the encryption and decryption of rights-managed files of a specific file format.

Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes protectors for the following file types:

  • Microsoft Office InfoPath forms
  • The 97-2003 file formats for the following Microsoft Office programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • The Office Open XML Formats for Microsoft Office Word 2007 , Microsoft Office Excel 2007, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007
  • The XML Paper Specification (XPS) format

If your organization plans to use IRM to protect any other file types in addition to those listed above, your server administrator must install protectors for these additional file formats.

When IRM is enabled for a library, rights management applies to all of the files in that library. When IRM is enabled for a list, rights management applies only to files that are attached to list items, not the actual list items.

When people download files in an IRM-enabled list or library, the files are encrypted so that only authorized people can view them. Each rights-managed file also contains an issuance license that imposes restrictions on the people who view the file. Typical restrictions include making a file read-only, disabling the copying of text, preventing people from saving a local copy, and preventing people from printing the file. Client programs that can read IRM-supported file types use the issuance license within the rights-managed file to enforce these restrictions. This is how a rights-managed file retains its protection even after it is downloaded from the server.

The types of restrictions that are applied to a file when it is downloaded from a list or library are based on the individual user's permissions on the Office SharePoint Server site that contains the file. The following table explains how the permissions on Office SharePoint Server 2007 sites correspond to IRM permissions.

Office SharePoint Server 2007 permissions IRM permissions
Manage Permissions, Manage Web Site Full control (as defined by the client program): This permission generally allows a user to read, edit, copy, save, and modify permissions of rights-managed content.
Edit Items, Manage Lists, Add and Customize Pages Edit, Copy, and Save: A user can print a file only if the Allow users to print documents check box is selected on the Information Rights Management Settings page for the list or library.
View Items Read: A user can read the document, but cannot copy or modify its content. A user can print only if the Allow users to print documents check box is selected on the Information Rights Management Settings page for the list or library.
Other No other permissions correspond directly to IRM permissions.

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Apply IRM to a list or library

Before IRM can be enabled for lists and libraries, the Microsoft Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) Client with Service Pack 2 must be installed on every front-end Web server for your SharePoint site. In addition, Information Rights Management needs to be enabled in Central Administration for your site. Additionally, a server administrator must install protectors on all front-end Web servers for every file type that the people in your organization want to protect by using IRM.

To apply IRM to a list or library, you must have at least the Design permission level for that list or library.

  1. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

If the name of your list or library does not appear, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your list or library.

On the Settings menu Settings menu, click List Settings, or click the settings for the type of library that you are opening.

For example, in a document library, click Document Library Settings.

  1. Under Permissions and Management, click Information Rights Management.

 Note   If the Information Rights Management link does not appear, IRM might not be enabled for your site. Contact your server administrator to see if it is possible to enable IRM for your site. The Information Rights Management link does not appear for picture libraries.

  1. On the Information Rights Management Settings page, select the Restrict permission to documents in this library on download check box to apply restricted permission to documents that are downloaded from this list or library.
  2. Under Permission policy title, type a descriptive name for the policy that you can use later to differentiate this policy from other policies.

For example, you can type Company Confidential if you are applying restricted permission to a list or library that will contain company documents that are confidential.

  1. Under Permission policy description, type a description that will appear to people who use this list or library that explains how they should handle the documents in this list or library.

For example, you can type Discuss the contents of this document only with other employees if you want to restrict access to the information in these documents to internal employees.

  1. To apply additional restrictions to the documents in this list or library, do any of the following.
To Do this
Allow people to print documents from this list or library. Select the Allow users to print documents check box.
Allow people with at least the View Items permission to run embedded code or macros on a document.

Select the Allow users to access content programmatically check box.

 Note   If you select this option users could run code to extract the contents of a document.

Require that people verify their credentials at specific intervals.

Select this option if you want to restrict access to content to a specified period of time. If you select this option, people's issuance licenses to access the content will expire after the specified number of days, and people will be required to return to the server to verify their credentials and download a new copy.

Select the Users must verify their credentials every check box, and then specify the number of days for which you want the document to be viewable.

Prevent people from uploading documents that do not support IRM to this list or library.

If you select this option, people will not be able to upload any of the following file types:

  • File types that do not have corresponding IRM protectors installed on all of the front-end Web servers.
  • File types that Office SharePoint Server 2007 cannot decrypt.
  • File types that are IRM protected in another program.
Select the Do not allow users to upload documents that do not support IRM check box.
Remove restricted permissions from this list or library on a specific date. Select the Stop restricting permissions to documents in this library on check box, and then enter the date that you want.
  1. After you finish selecting the options that you want, click OK.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Server 2007