AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Nov. 4, 2003 — — Microsoft Corp. today announced public availability of Windows® Rights Management Services (RMS), information protection technology for Windows Server (TM) 2003 that helps enterprises and organizations safeguard their sensitive digital information from unauthorized use. RMS allows information workers to distribute information within their organizations and define how and under what circumstances it can be used, such as when it expires and who can open, modify, print and forward it. The ability to express and enforce document-level protection will allow organizations to internally share information more broadly, with less risk of inadvertent or intentional misuse.
"Our customers have told us they need help protecting sensitive information from accidental and intentional distribution to unauthorized recipients," said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Business Unit at Microsoft. "We are very excited about the release of Rights Management Services because it enables a new level of persistent protection for important information created by organizations and businesses that will address a key customer need and create opportunities for our development partners."
RMS was developed with large organizations and enterprises in mind because they produce volumes of sensitive information and have specialized departments such as human resources, finance and legal that require a high level of confidentiality. In addition, RMS is well-suited for adoption by midsize enterprises and vertical sectors such as finance, legal, government and healthcare. For example, healthcare companies create a wide variety of sensitive information and documentation -- such as patient records, research and development plans, and clinical trial results -- that can be safeguarded by RMS.
"The Windows Rights Management Services infrastructure built on Windows Server 2003 provides Merck with a means to control the distribution of our mission-critical information with persistent usage policies," said Jim King, manager of the Technology R & D Group in the Clinical Data Program at Merck & Co. "Furthermore, it provides an infrastructure that lets us expire Microsoft Office System documents while managing distribution, thereby helping to ensure that we maintain information relevance and appropriate access."
Customers need to protect a wide variety of information types in multiple formats, and as a result RMS was designed as a platform technology that can be utilized by any Windows-based application. Microsoft has been working closely with independent software vendors, application service providers and systems integrators to develop RMS-enabled applications and hosted solutions. Using the RMS client and server software development kits (SDKs), developers and ISVs can create new products or integrate rights management into existing applications. Windows Rights Management Services is an ASP.NET Web service built on the Microsoft® .NET Framework that can interoperate with business processes via Web services.
RMS partners include Avanade, EDS, GigaMedia Ltd., Omniva Inc., Reciprocal, SecureAttachment and SyncCast LLC. In addition, the new Microsoft Office System includes four RMS-enabled applications: Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003, Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003 and Microsoft Office Excel 2003.
"EDS as an enterprise partner with Microsoft is using the Windows RMS technology for its own internal staff. As companies increasingly share more and more data throughout their organizations, it becomes more difficult to protect sensitive information," said Robb Rasmussen, vice president of Global Alliances at EDS. "In addition to using the technology for EDS, we are incorporating it into a number of our offerings in order to provide to clients the functionality they require. RMS allows clients to take advantage of the asset protection in the Microsoft suite while minimizing risk and saving money."
To provide the flexibility to meet customers' deployment requirements, Microsoft is developing a hardware appliance that will enable customers to manage RMS operational services without connectivity to the Internet. Microsoft is working with Rainbow Technologies, a leading security solutions company, to complete the design and development of this deployment solution component. The appliance will enable client machines to be activated as part of the RMS trusted environment from within the network perimeter, providing a flexible deployment technology to fit the way an organization works.
Windows Rights Management Services components are available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/ , and more information about the technology can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/rms/ .
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