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MySite HR Issues

  Asked By: Edmond    Date: Nov 16    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 3091

Discomforting news, but I need your guidence. We are through about week 2 of our SharePoint Portal 2003 launch. Everything has gone smooth, we have a nice big farm with 12 divisional portals for each business unit. We have shared services, MySite, search, etc.. Everybody is in love...

Everybody except HR that is. They are questioning controls, best practices, and asking if we can "disable"/"remove" the MySite from the infrastructure. They have valid concerns about a user posting up dirty pictures, or jokes, or innapropriate material.

I realize that this is redundant and from the technical aspect is "out there" if you will. The users participating in collaborate websites could just as easily put this stuff up on their team site, list, image lib, doc lib, etc. etc. Or even email, copy machines, faxes could just as easily be used for being a "baddie". But the specific target in the crosshairs now is the MySite. (poor guy..)

So I am almost 99% sure that we WILL NOT be disabling or removing MySites. However, I need to build a business case with "Best Practices", recommendations, and controls available to at least get our hands around this. This hopefully will be enough to save the mysite.

Has ANYONE else fought this battle? Things I would ask assistance with:

- 3rd party tools to monitor usage, content (Ie. swear words, etc.etc)
- Can the MySites even be removed at all? Would we need to rebuild our entire portal?
- They are mostly concerned about the "Public" (profile pages) of users. If these are removed will it disable the "people" aspect of our portal?
- Any whitepapers, documentation on "Best practices for managing MySite implementation usage" would be fantastic.

please someone.. help save our friendly neighborhood "MySite" and share your experiences..



17 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered By: Chadd Hahn     Answered On: Nov 16

My view is that the MySie functionality allows a work area for people to “live” in

i.e. the point behind the portal  is to stop people living and working in separate disparate applications but to allow them to work from one location accessing all the things they need.

If you take this away you severely diminish the usefulness of the portal …. Yes the collaboration is good and is a large part of the solution but an equally large part of the solution is when you are working solo ……. Most people spend time doing work, not in meetings ….. most people spend time doing work, not necessarily on team sites – for example sales people, pre-sales, technical people etc

So, a large amount of thought should be given to disabling this feature – It can be turned off, but you would need to delete the sites already created as, obviously, they exist ! You wouldn’t need to rebuild your portal, just delete the sites

I’m not sure you can disable the “public” profile – I think his is built into the system but maybe someone else will have a different view

Typically though, the answer is to have a policy and then to enforce it. As you say, people can quite easily create their own sub site to use as a personal are and do this and publish what they want. Equally they could put pornographic posters on the walls or e-mail dirty jokes around. The answer is that the majority don’t but the minority may do but this doesn’t mean you cancel a whole system … you get users to agree to the policy and then monitor usage.

I haven’t heard of any tools to do this …… nor to prevent profanity being entered in the first place. Perhaps you can set up a system whereby people can express concern with particular entries ? The problem with the public my site is that he user is the owner of the my site and so wouldn’t even be subject to controls for approving content as they would be able to approve content as that sites administrator !

The only thing I can think of for you is to download a standard profanity list and then write a script to look for those words (maybe embedding this in a web part) … but then again, this wouldn’t stop anyone from making humorous but clean observations about the HR department)

Anyway, that’s just my thoughts on the matter …. Perhaps someone else will have more practical help for you

Answer #2    Answered By: Laura Walker     Answered On: Nov 16

My take on this is that anyone can create a My Site via a team site just by creating their own site and calling it “Bill’s Site” or “Joe’s site”. While the functionality is different, the user’s won’t care. They’ll still have their own My Site. Hence, my mantra is “embrace, manage and train”. In SharePoint technology, your deployment should be based on these three principles: Manage, Embrace and Train.

Your HR department, like many, is looking for the *software* to manage the users rather than information security policies + your managers managing your users. It’s so easy to ask the software to manage people instead of having people manage people.

Turning off My Sites might make them feel better, but it won’t do anything to solve your real problem, which is the potential that some people will make bad choices and do something stupid. There is nothing in the world that developers can do to guard against two things: 1) unwise choices and 2)untrustworthy people. If a user or an administrator makes an unwise choice or if they have access to information that they disseminate to the wrong parties, there is *nothing* developers can put into the code to guard against this. Nothing. Nada. Not one blessed thing. Even if you use rights management, I can still manually copy the information and disseminate it. In the end, users and administrators must be trained on how the software works to ensure they use it properly and they must be trustworthy people who can use the software appropriately. If either or both of these elements are not true, then you have a much larger problem than My Sites in SharePoint.

Answer #3    Answered By: Titus Sweet     Answered On: Nov 16

You bring up several points that I hope will make the upper-decision clear. In reading your word, it became very clear to me that one must do what is best for their Organization and that my position should not change with regards to the MySite. I believe mainly it is an "educational" issue and paranoia expressed by our HR department because this technology is so new to them that sometimes it's easy to miss the basic "blocking" and "tackling" principles of managing people.

I will share this with our IT / Marketing management team when this issue is brought to the decision room; and I wishfully hope that it will guide them in educating and explaining to our HR team that we should not kill the MySite.

Answer #4    Answered By: Jagdish Joshi     Answered On: Nov 16

I can see MySites being useful in a highly collaborative environment
(like a development shop), where the staff is composed of subject
matter experts and the knowledge is short-term.

Most organizations, though, are organized by department and/or
division. In such an organization, information should be linked to
the job function - not the individual. This allows knowledge to
survive staff moves and departures.

I disagree with the MySites concept in most cases. We're turning it
off in our municipal government implementation.

Answer #5    Answered By: Christop Mcfadden     Answered On: Nov 16

Interesting viewpoint. My take on it is that I see them serving several functions. First, it's a home directory on steroids. Not only can I store my personal documents, but I can also store contact, events and check e-mail. Second, I come from a large company and one of the most common requests is for users to be able to transfer documents and collaborate with others on a one-to-one basis. This becomes difficult when it occurs between people in different departments who might not have a shared common resource. Sharepoint MySites become that shared resource.

Answer #6    Answered By: Victoria Bell     Answered On: Nov 16

Again – you can turn them off and a user can still create a team site called “abc’s site” or “xyz’s site”. Turning off My Sites doesn’t really buy you anything.

Answer #7    Answered By: Cassidy Sharpe     Answered On: Nov 16

My sites is a perfect place to view web part pages to
display your view of the enterprise. For example, you
can have a web part which displays tasks assigned to

I'm sure you have a number of systems (most are
probably standalone) that have entries involving
individuals. Whenever this occurs, a web service can
be developed that retrieves the data that involves you
(or your organization). The web part can then be
developed to retrieve that information.

Also, with My Sites, these Web Parts can be customized
by you. You may want to see your view into System A
data, but could care less about System B's data.

Answer #8    Answered By: Linda Mason     Answered On: Nov 16

Isn't that what 'audiences' are for?

We want to encourage our users to spend time on their division's
site, not their MySite.

Answer #9    Answered By: Hans Weiss     Answered On: Nov 16

Why? Every user has information that is unique to the user that can be helpful to the enterprise. My Sites were designed for 1:many collaboration path. But again, even if it is turned off, as long as I can create a site somewhere in the farm, I can create my own (however crude) site that becomes the equivalent of the My Sites in concept.

Answer #10    Answered By: Alison West     Answered On: Nov 16

I think you can turn off the public view for new sites

Go to portal  site settings – click on manage personal sites and change the default reader site group to a group containing no users (you may have to create a domain group for this)

All new sites will then have no access to the public face – you would, of course, have to change permissions on existing personal sites tho

Answer #11    Answered By: Freddy Heath     Answered On: Nov 16

Have you tried this? I am going to lab it and see the effects..

The $&#%!ty part is that all the MySites are probably build already to all 5000 of our users as its like the first thing they do when they checked out the new portal.

I am lobbying strong to avoid removal of any of this stuff.. but it is helpful to know that it can be done. What I REALLY need is whitepaper, documented business cases, or "best-practice" documents related to HR concerns and management of MySites..

Theorhetically, business-wise, you would think that a "Computer Use" Policy should suffice for this.

I mean, what is to prevent someone from showing up to work naked and offending everyone around them? I mean, you would get diciplined for this I'm sure. I just think this is more of a business policy issue than a "technology" issue.

Nonetheless, our MySites are under seige and I need as much "hard-evidence" and documentation to keep them alive and free...

Answer #12    Answered By: Joanna Dixon     Answered On: Nov 16

I can also have a look on the partner web site for hr docs for you.

Answer #13    Answered By: Damon Garner     Answered On: Nov 16

My lab is playing silly beggars at the moment but I cant see any reason why it wouldn’t work

However, as users are administrators on their own sites they could grant whoever they wanted to to have access to their site and then publish what they wanted – this solution would just force them to have to do that

I also couldn’t find anything on the partner web site – they seem to have re-arranged it all so I’ll phone our TPAM on Monday if I remember and ask if they have anything

Answer #14    Answered By: Sharonda Mcfarland     Answered On: Nov 16

The only difference between a My Site and team site is a template. See my other email. My Sites are thought to be inherently different in that people can do things in My Sites that they can’t do in other sites, which is obviously false.

This is a cultural/management issue, not a technology issue. It needs to be framed in those terms, IMHO.

Answer #15    Answered By: Cory Brooks     Answered On: Nov 16

The point that HR is missing is that MySite is just a site collection.
Anyone with contributor rights could create a sub-site any time they wanted. Or they could create offensive material anywhere they wanted.
This is not solved by turning off my sites.
It is only solved by having an HR policy on what happens if you are offensive (which they probably have) and enforcing it.
Firing someone really high up is very effective!

Answer #16    Answered By: Ruth George     Answered On: Nov 16

What I said was that by default you can hide the public view of my sites using
the default permissions setting but as the users are admins on their my sites
they can just over ride this leaving the company back where they started ......
Needing a policy which they should enforce

Answer #17    Answered By: Damon Garner     Answered On: Nov 16

Your users should work on their departmental team site wheb collaborating within
their department

So, if its hr for example then they may be collaborating on the standard
employment contract terms and conditions and so would use a document workspace
under the team site

Equally a user in hr may want to work on a white paper on current best
prtactices in employmment and she may be authoring this by herself and so this
would not be in a shared area

Also they may want to use the mysite  to access software or services. This cannot
always be done with audiences. For example their outlook inbox. The web part
needs to be pointed at their own inbox and so is best accomodated in a mysite.

Also the mysites provides a white pages for your organisation. Whilst you can
get this from the gal in outlook its not integrated into the users workspace

The point is that sharepoint  can give you one point of access for all your
information needs and by removing mysites you diminish this functionality. Not
only that but they can provide you with an integrated workspace for the things
you do most.

However, some organisations do turn this off but usually where they have the
site structure to support this and where they can provide missing functionality
through other means.

What removing my sites won't do though is prevent anyone from posting any
content to any other site for which they have contributor rights or greater.

If you feel its best to remove them for you then that's fine but I think you
lose a large part of the benefit of the solution if you turn off mysites

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