Maximum SharePoint Efficiency with Minimal Effort

When Jigoro Kanō established the martial arts style Judo in 1882, he did so after several years of training under various other methodologies. Ju (“pliancy”) and Do (“the way”) roughly translate into “the gentle way.” The revolutionary aspect of his new form of martial arts was kuzushi, or off-balancing, a way of using an opponent’s weight to leverage the execution of one’s technique. In this evolution, Kanō found his motto: “The maximum efficiency with minimal effort.”Working meeting

The leveraging of existing assets to accomplish sophisticated results with minimal effort has its place within technology implementations, and Microsoft SharePoint certainly lends enough weight to the equation to gain a significant amount of leverage in your execution. Leveraging that weight effectively is the key to successful execution in SharePoint, and that’s one of the many reasons I’m so enthusiastic about our Prizm Content Connect platform when it’s integrated with SharePoint, a scenario that’s…

Quick: Installation is simple and leverages existing SharePoint security mechanisms to establish Digital Rights Management (DRM) and quickly allow access to over 300 different file formats, all from a single interface and without any software to install on users’ systems. Watch this video to see how to install Prizm Content Connect in five minutes: Installing Prizm Content Connect on SharePoint 2010.

Efficient: Everyone from SharePoint Administrators to Web Experience Designers working in SharePoint Designer to Developers working in Visual Studio can take advantage of the features provided in the Prizm Content Connect platform. Check out this tutorial to learn how to Use SharePoint Designer 2010 to Create a Document Viewer.

Evolving: Accusoft brings 20 years of imaging and document SDK experience to bear in the Prizm Content Connect product. The product roadmap is rich with feature enhancements and will continue to grow alongside your SharePoint implementation.

Prizm Content Connect for SharePoint is available in a fully functional evaluation download from

In what other ways is the weight of SharePoint leveraged for maximum efficiency with minimal effort in your company?



Limiting Security Risks with a Document Viewer

Are there security advantages to an alternate viewer, for example Prizm Content Connect or Prizm Cloud Connect?

Security is on everyone’s mind these days, and if it isn’t it should be.  It is certainly on Oracle’s mind as they have had a lot of Java vulnerabilities reported in the last few months. Microsoft also released their largest ever Patch Tuesday to address 57 different vulnerabilities in some of their top products.  Both of these companies are top tier vendors and have millions of installed applications.  Having that kind of install base makes them prime targets.  A reasonable question then might be “Are there security advantages if I went with someone else?”  I’ll explore this question in relation to PDF and document viewers.
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The first thing to realize about a “PDF vulnerability” or a “Word vulnerability” is that this is actually shorthand for “A vulnerability in application X when acting on files of type Y” where Y happens to be a PDF or Word document.  An in-the-wild exploit that uses a PDF vulnerability must target a specific application, usually Adobe Acrobat Reader, and usually it targets a specific version.  This means that if you are viewing a malicious PDF targeted at Adobe Acrobat Reader with Prizm Content Connect, or Prizm Cloud Connect then this file will most likely fail to render instead of running malicious code.  This is not a new idea, this is Security through Minority.  This is the idea that an attacker has limited time and is trying to extract maximum value out of that time and so they will target the most widespread applications.  While this might be true in the general case, it might not be true in the targeted case.  The number one prediction from Kaspersky Lab’s Security Bulletin 2012 is that targeted attacks and cyber-espionage are on the rise, so it’s something to consider.

The next thing to think about is where the file is parsed and rendered.  Where is code executing that the attacker can influence?  In client based viewers the file is parsed and rendered on the client machine.  This means that each machine needs to follow security best practices.  Each machine needs to apply the latest security patches.  Is it easy to roll-out company wide updates to a viewer?  With the Prizm Content Connect and Prizm Cloud Connect architecture the file parsing happens on a back-end server.  If you are using our latest HTML5 based viewer only a PNG file is sent to the client.  This means that you can focus your security efforts on the back-end server.  A back-end server can reduce its attack surface by running with very limited accounts and having very few applications installed.  It gives you a single place to add monitoring and auditing of activity.   It is much easier to manage security updates and hardening for a single machine than for the 100s or 1,000s of client machines your organization might have.  Especially when you consider the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

As with any security policy it is not always easy to see what is an advantage or not for a particular organization.  These two aspects are certainly security considerations, can they be turned into security advantages for your organization?


Going Native with eDiscovery

A preference for native file formats in eDiscovery – the electronic exchange of information in the discovery process in litigation – is now nearly the norm, despite some resistance in years past. When electronically stored information (ESI) is preserved throughout the discovery process in its native format, all potentially relevant information – including searchable text, annotations, and metadata – is preserved as well, and is readily available to sharp legal eyes and to the growing array of eDiscovery analysis tools.

Of those tools, one of the most talked-about today is predictive coding, the application of artificial intelligence and workflow processes to keyword search, filter, and sample eDiscovery content to identify what’s most relevant to the case, in order to make the process quicker and less labor-intensive. Critics say predictive coding amounts to replacing a lawyer’s experienced eyes and judgment with inferior programming, while proponents argue that it’s not only faster (hence cheaper), but also less likely to miss something small and important, when applied smartly. Although the jury is still out and challenges remain, recent word from federal and state benches points to growing acceptance of predictive coding, especially in cases involving thousands or millions of pages of discovery.native_edisco_300

The more complete and searchable a document file is, the more useful it becomes to predictive coding, and thus more valuable to the case. A native format document makes any searchable text, indexing, annotations, metadata and other original information available to the predictive coding engine’s expert electronic eye.

But even when predictive coding is used, litigators need to be able to view and print discovery documents, and often to annotate and redact them as well. And that’s when native formats become a problem. When dozens of available native file formats require dozens of applications to display them – Microsoft Word for Word docs, Adobe Reader for PDFs, AutoCAD for blueprints, a photo app for pictures, and on and on – legal teams must stock a complex and often expensive array of programs for viewing. And litigators must not only have all those applications on hand, but also be trained in using them – not only for viewing, but also for annotating and redacting – and must waste costly time switching among programs.

OrcaTec, an Atlanta-based eDiscovery software provider, addresses the native file format dilemma in its Document Decisioning Suite in part by embedding Accusoft’s Prizm Content Connect viewer. Because the viewer displays and prints more than 300 file types, OrcaTec’s users can perform all of their document review within the same viewer, and use one familiar set of tools for annotation and redaction. Read more about OrcaTec’s approach to enhancing its document viewer and browser-based redaction to make native files available to litigators.

Although eDiscovery is here to stay and its predictive coding component seems poised to follow, questions remain about the defensibility of predictive-coding-based discovery. The American Bar Association seems to take an optimistic, wait-and-see view of the technology while cautioning practitioners to perform tests to ensure that the results of predictive coding are complete, accurate, and appropriate in scope. Ultimately such testing – amplified by the success or failure of predictive coding results in court in coming years – will not only determine the fate of the technology, but will also help law firms learn how to compare among eDiscovery tools and select the best ones for their practices.

You may also be interested in reading “5 Keys to Selecting an eDiscovery Viewer.” This whitepaper discusses the importance of viewing in an eDiscovery solution and focuses on 5 keys for selecting the viewer that meets your eDiscovery requirements.


A Cloud Document Viewer Makes Everybody Happy

It’s hard to imagine any single item that could please a web developer, an IT infrastructure manager, and an end user all at once. Ice cream or a good joke excepted, anything that makes one of these people happy usually makes at least one of the others miserable.

Tighten security to please the infrastructure maven, and you’ve made extra work for the developer and possibly compromised the user’s experience. Amp up the user experience and you’ve created bandwidth problems for the infrastructure maven and, again, more work for the web developer. (Everything makes more work for the web developer.)young people

The magnificent, often unrealized potential of the Cloud is that it can solve some problems in ways that make life at least a little easier for all parties. This small miracle happens most often when the problem is small (though nagging nonetheless) and the cloud solution is narrowly scoped to solve that problem and no other.

A cloud-based document viewer that can be embedded in a web page supplies an ideal example. Given a large and growing array of document file types and an imperative to make everything and anything web-accessible, developers wanting to deliver a seamless user experience have no easy solution. They cannot entirely count on users to have software installed that can display anything other than HTML, flat text and a handful of other file types.

Developers can simply require that any document for web publication not already stored in a common format be converted — at the cost of time (compounded by every subsequent change to the document), software licensing and often display quality. Or they can compromise the user experience by publishing files in their native formats and leaving the user to scramble for a program to display them.

A cloud-based document viewer capable of displaying pretty much any document file type in a browser — with nothing required on the client except a browser with Flash or HTML5 — provides users with seamless access to nearly any document in high fidelity, makes little extra coding work for the developer (while erasing other tasks, such as conversion), and takes the infrastructure manager out of the picture altogether. If that solution is free, even more people get happy, like purchasing managers and CIOs.

The wide range of ways one cloud-based viewer is being used illustrates its versatility. One customer uses it to show visitors very large CAD files, while another uses it to display the documents forum users have attached to their messages. A website for a program to curb childhood obesity uses it to display Powerpoint slides of active kids, and a job portal uses it to display uploaded resumes to recruiters.

Those customers are all using Prizm Cloud, Accusoft’s freshly released, cloud-based, embeddable document viewer. It’s not the only such viewer available, but it offers some advantages over the other options. Because it is based on the versatile Prizm Content Connect server-based viewer, it inherits that product’s ability to display more than 300 different file types — far more than competitors — to ensure that users will be able to see almost any document a site can throw at them. And unlike competitors, it does not require that the documents be uploaded anyplace first — the viewer displays them right from the developer’s server, saving the time and trouble of uploading and making any changes to the file immediately available to anyone.

It’s easy to use for web developers — so easy, in fact, that it’s also used by bloggers, WordPress site creators, and other less-technical users. After all, if a thing can make web developers, infrastructure managers and users happy all at once, who can guess how many other people the thing might please?


Highlighting the Hits on HTML5

It’s one of those features that’s so simple and elegant, it’s perfect: Take a word or phrase, find every time it comes up in a document, and highlight every one of those hits, to make them easy to see.

And it’s supremely useful. Lawyers use hit-highlighting when doing eDiscovery and performing other document analysis tasks, lighting up every instance of an important term so they can page through a document and evaluate all the places it comes up. Hit-highlighting is a boon for research, and for finding part numbers, or references to an important date, or every place a significant name comes up in a document.

Hit-highlighting is now up and running in Prizm Content Connect document viewer for HTML5. Using the just-released version 7.3, users can enter a search term when viewing any text-based file (such as a Microsoft Office file, PDF file or RTF document) and get back a hit list and highlighting of every instance of the term in the document being viewed. This powerful feature was already enabled in prior versions of the viewer for Flash-enabled browsers, and now works in the viewer for HTML5 browsers, as well. You can try out the new feature in the HTML5 Viewer Demo.HTML5_Logo_3d

 This is a big leap forward for search functionality in Prizm Content Connect. Without it, the user must navigate the hit list to jump from instance to instance, but can’t really get a sense of the frequency of the term, or the contexts in which it appears in highest or lowest concentration–both of which are essential insights for document analysis and collaboration. Sometimes, exactly where a term occurs is less important than the distribution of its occurrence.

Prizm Content Connect now features this powerful tool in both of its viewers–and that’s just the beginning. Stay tuned for more exciting features that are already on the way…

So, Paperless Office… What Happened?

You would think that after 30 years of planning and promises, we’d all have those paperless offices everybody started dreaming about in the ‘70s. But according to new research by the non-profit Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), anything close to paperlessness remains out of reach for many organizations, and lawyers are to blame.

Well, maybe that’s not fair. To be more accurate, AIIM’s study, “Winning the Paper Wars,” published just a few weeks ago, found that the need for physical signatures on documents and concerns over the legal admissibility of electronic documents are the biggest obstacles to adoption of paperless practices. Let’s blame a fear of lawyers rather than the lawyers themselves.

Among the 562 respondents to AIIM’s survey, three-quarters have active business improvement campaigns they could magnify through paper-free processes, but of those companies, only a quarter are following a specific paper-reducing business policy. Nearly half of respondents have made only 5% progress towards updating the usual processes to paper-free adaptations, and nearly one in five reports using even more paper now than in years past.


Many responding companies justify their pulp fetish by citing legal requirements for paper copies and physical signatures. But AIIM’s report labels those barriers largely illusory, as properly collected and formatted eSignatures and electronic documents are admissible in every state.

While the move to mobile devices among the rank and file is reducing paper according to the report, executives, legal counsel and finance staff who are not yet comfortable with electronic signatures and electronic documents are holding back the move to the paper-free office and the cost-savings it can deliver.

Of course, the move to mobile devices is really only a paper-saver to the extent that employees have unfettered electronic access to the business content they need in the field, the report says. We couldn’t help noticing that the power to provide that access is a key benefit of Accusoft’s Prizm Content Connect, which features an HTML5 document viewer that can deliver high-fidelity viewing and collaboration (and yes, E-Sign-compliant eSignatures) for more than 300 different file types to nearly all browsers on mobile devices today.

The report also said the path to paperless business could be smoothed by broader application of mobile document capture–a capability that’s easy to add to any application with Accusoft tools such as the USB Scanner software development kit. Another Accusoft SDK, ImageGear, enables industry-leading optical character recognition (OCR)–long cited as the bridge technology to a paper-free office–with support for more than 100 languages and other advanced features, such as zone-based processing and image pre-processing.

While it’s not among AIIM’s conclusions, maybe that’s the real answer to “Winning the Paper Wars”: Accusoft.


Prizm Content Connect Includes Local File Viewer

There’s a great feature in Prizm Content Connect that not a lot of customers use. The product includes a local file viewer that brings the power of the HTML5 document viewer to files on the user’s desktop. And everyone here at Accusoft uses it, every day.

Why give Prizm Content Connect dominion over the desktop? “Consistency,” says Accusoft President Jack Berlin. “Employees are opening all of these different native programs just to read, or comment on, documents, and each one works differently and requires different experience and training, to say nothing of the cost of unneeded applications.”prizm-local_300

A local file-viewing program based on Prizm Content Connect provides a consistent, reliable, fast user experience across 300 different file types–including Microsoft Office files, PDFs, email messages, CAD/CAM files, image files, and hundreds more–whether the file is on the desktop, in an email attachment, on a shared drive or in cloud storage, Berlin explains. “Where users only need to read, annotate or redact a document but don’t need to edit it, the file doesn’t need to be made available to the native application, and that solves all kinds of problems… What a local viewer does, in effect, is enable a consistent viewing experience the way Dropbox or Google Drive enables a consistent storage experience.”

The viewing experience is not only faster and more consistent through a multi-format local file viewer, but also safer and more secure, Berlin says. Each native application has different security built into it, and some have none at all. When users have native applications just to view files, controlling access is therefore difficult. Because a local file viewer based on Prizm Content Connect can inherit that program’s digital rights management (DRM) features, companies can selectively enable or disable printing, saving, copying, or downloading a document by defined user groups, for far better internal control of intellectual property.

And because the file being viewed is never actually open on the user’s machine, a local file viewer is a great hedge against the spread of viruses or other malicious intrusions.

The local file viewer is earning raves around here. Why not give it a try at your company?