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The year's top SharePoint administration tips

The end of the year gives us a chance to review and compile the best SharePoint administration advice.

The prevalence of SharePoint use across organizations isn't happening without reason. It's a tool that has proven...

effective at making collaboration a reality and not simply a cute phrase or an abstract goal -- while giving productivity an extra boost. And because workers actually use SharePoint, managing those deployments can become a messy and complicated process for those in the IT shop.

Solving some of those SharePoint headaches is a job we take seriously here at, and we were busy in 2012 doling out suggestions for the weary IT crew. The end of the year gives us a chance to review and compile the best of that SharePoint administration advice.

Effective SharePoint tagging

An orderly SharePoint deployment requires an effective tagging taxonomy. Creating that, as contributor Brien Posey points out, can be a daunting task. A taxonomy needs to be broad enough to handle any situation, but it needs to be simple enough so that it is useful. "There are different philosophies regarding the best way to make sure SharePoint tags do an effective job of helping users to find the information they are looking for. My recommendation is to use managed terms, but not enterprise keywords," Posey writes.

Using custom scopes

A useful SharePoint deployment means lots of people are working on lots of data. This can sometimes make the task of quickly finding a particular item difficult. One of our SharePoint administration tips proposes that the problem be solved through the use of custom search scopes. "Search scopes define which subset of the data will be searched," Posey writes. "By default, SharePoint searches all sites, but users can just as easily do a People search or search on a specific SharePoint site. In addition, an administrator has the ability to create custom search scopes that help users further target their searches."

Because workers actually use SharePoint, managing those deployments can become a messy and complicated process for those in the IT shop.

Protecting SharePoint data

And what about keeping all that SharePoint data from leaking? One technique to consider is the use of Information Rights Management (IRM). Even though it's a Windows feature, IRM can be useful in SharePoint 2010 to create policies that will, for example, protect certain documents from being copied, modified or printed. It is even possible to disable the copy function so a user can't paste protected data into a new document.

Backing up SharePoint

SharePoint 2010 allows you to back up an entire server as part of a way to safeguard SharePoint's object and site database. "Such backups don't always help if you're trying to restore a very specific part of the SharePoint installation," writes contributor Serdar Yegulalp, who goes on explain in detail how to get granular with backup techniques.

Database upgrade hiccups

Service Pack upgrades typically go smoothly, except when they don't. Microsoft's Service Pack 1, for instance, requires an upgrade to the underlying database. This process doesn't happen automatically, and administrators have reported problems. Posey offers a step-by-step guide to work through Service Pack 1's obstacles.

Beyond document sharing

Your organization is using SharePoint, but how effectively? SharePoint 2010 offers plenty of useful, sometimes overlooked capabilities. One of our best SharePoint administration tips gives a rundown of some of the underappreciated features, looking at such things as document versioning, indexing and moving Exchange public folder data.

Dig Deeper on SharePoint administration and troubleshooting