What is SharePoint Compliance?

Implementing compliance in SharePoint involves setting up various features and configurations to ensure that the content stored in SharePoint aligns with your organization’s policies and regulatory requirements. Here are some key steps and considerations for implementing compliance in SharePoint:

  1. Understanding Compliance Requirements: The first step is to identify and understand the compliance requirements relevant to your organization. This might include industry-specific regulations (e.g., HIPAA, GDPR), internal policies, or legal requirements.
  2. Information Architecture: Design and create a well-structured information architecture in SharePoint. This involves planning site collections, subsites, libraries, and folders with clear permissions and access controls.
  3. Metadata and Content Types: Define metadata and content types to tag and classify documents and files properly. This ensures that content is organized, and it becomes easier to enforce compliance rules.
  4. Document Versioning: Enable versioning for document libraries. This allows you to track changes made to documents and revert to previous versions if necessary, which can be important for compliance audits.
  5. Document Retention and Deletion Policies: Set up retention and deletion policies to automatically manage the lifecycle of content. This ensures that content is retained for the required period and disposed of appropriately.
  6. Information Rights Management (IRM): IRM helps protect sensitive information by applying restrictions on who can view, edit, print, or forward specific documents. This is essential for maintaining data privacy and compliance.
  7. Auditing and Reporting: Enable auditing to track user activities and actions within SharePoint. Regularly review audit logs to detect and respond to any suspicious or non-compliant activities.
  8. Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Implement DLP policies to prevent sensitive information from being shared or leaked outside the organization. DLP policies can help maintain compliance with data protection regulations.
  9. Secure External Sharing: Control external sharing settings to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive content when sharing with external users.
  10. Legal Holds: Implement legal holds to preserve content relevant to any ongoing litigation or investigation. This prevents the content from being modified or deleted during the legal process.
  11. Compliance Center: If available in your SharePoint version, use the Compliance Center to manage and enforce compliance policies centrally.
  12. Training and User Awareness: Ensure that employees and users are aware of the compliance policies and best practices. Conduct regular training sessions to promote compliance awareness.
  13. Third-Party Compliance Tools: Consider using third-party compliance tools or add-ons that integrate with SharePoint to provide additional features and functionalities for compliance management.
  14. Periodic Compliance Reviews: Conduct periodic compliance reviews and audits to verify that SharePoint is aligned with the organization’s compliance requirements and to address any potential gaps.

It’s important to note that SharePoint’s compliance capabilities might vary depending on the version and licensing level of SharePoint your organization is using. Therefore, ensure that you are using the appropriate version and have the necessary licenses to access compliance features.