UPDATE: Microsoft slated to launch Rights Management solution

Microsoft Corp. on Friday announced that it will release Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) for Windows Server 2003 later this year.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company said the platform-based product interacts with applications to provide “persistent” policy rights for Web content and all types of sensitive corporate documents.

The reason that RMS is being announced now, according to Kevin Hunter, Microsoft Canada’s Mississauga, Ont.-based senior marketing manager, is due to the imminent release of Office 11 (Microsoft Office 2003). Hunter said the solution is a security management service that works with both server and client technology.

By putting persistent protections in the documents themselves, Microsoft said the RMS solution enables enterprises to secure data that otherwise might be deliberately or inadvertently leaked. For example, an RMS-enabled e-mail communication or document can restrict the ability to print, forward, and edit for online information, information portals, and benefits/payroll intranet sites.

“The idea is that if there’s an e-mail, for example, that you would like to forward to someone else you can then put some restrictions on what they can then do with it,” Hunter said.

Pricing has yet to be determined and the offering will not support older versions of MS products, including Windows XP. RMS will be available as an add-on module, Microsoft said, and will be built in future editions of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Outlook and Excel. Beta code for Windows Rights Management Services will be widely available in the second quarter of 2003.

Built on Microsoft’s .Net Framework, the RMS offering functions as an ASP.Net Web service and uses the XrML (Extensible Rights Markup Language) digital content standard. Microsoft said it plans to release two software development kits in the second quarter of 2003 to assist developers in building RMS capabilities into Windows client and intra-enterprise type applications.

More information about Windows Rights Management Services can be found at www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/rm/.

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