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Microsoft devs Windows Rights Management Services

Tool to plug corporate leaks

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Microsoft outlined plans on Friday (Dec 22) to develop technology which controls what users can do with sensitive business documents.

a href="http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/rm" target="_blank">Windows Rights Management Services (otherwise known as RMS (...RMS??? ed), a new technology for Windows Server 2003, will restrict the ability of recipients to print or forward confidential files, including financial reports, legal and planning documents. Just the thing to prevent embarrassing leaks then, at least in theory.

Stuart Okin, chief security officer of Microsoft UK, tells us that Windows Rights Management Services is essentially an intranet-based application, and the technology is still very much in development. At first, the system will be useful only for guarding Office 2003 files; but this will expand to cover broader range of Web content and sensitive corporate documents.

Using Windows Rights Management Services, applications such as information portals, word processors or email clients can be built so that users can designate both who has access to specific content and what kind of access rights they can have. The server manages rights and policy, while clients running RMS-enabled applications allow users to apply rights to content.

For example, Windows Rights Management Services can be used to control forwarding, copying and printing, or to set up time-based expiration rules. In addition, enterprises can enforce policy using centrally delivered templates to automate the process.

RMS technology uses XrML (Extensible Rights Markup Language), an emerging standard for the expression of rights on digital content. Microsoft will release two software development kits in the second quarter of 2003 to enable developers to begin to build rights management capabilities into intranet and Windows client applications.

Beta code for Windows Rights Management Services will be broadly available in the second quarter of 2003, Microsoft promises. ®

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