Microsoft yesterday unveiled its Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) information protection technology for Windows Server 2003.
Delegates at the RSA Security Conference were shown the first demonstration of Windows RMS, which is available for immediate download.
A .Net web service, the software controls access to data by either allowing the IT manager or the user to define who sees what information.
If necessary the software disables email forwarding, copy and paste functions and even the Print Screen button. Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2003 can all be used with RMS.
"The idea is to create the ability to centrally manage data over an intranet," said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Business Unit at Microsoft.
"The software doesn't make policy directly. It's letting customers configure their own infrastructure as they like."
The Redmond giant explained that RMS was developed primarily for large enterprises because they produce volumes of sensitive information and have specialised departments that potentially require a high level of confidentiality.
But the company claimed that RMS is also well suited for adoption by midsized enterprises, and vertical sectors such as finance, legal, government and healthcare.
The recently unveiled Microsoft Office System includes four RMS-enabled applications: Office Outlook 2003, Office Word 2003, Office PowerPoint 2003 and Office Excel 2003.
Nash also gave the first demonstration in Europe of Microsoft's Next Generation Computing Base, the digital rights management (DRM) platform formerly known as Palladium.
The demonstration ran on Intel's LeGrande platform which uses a separate processor to handle DRM functions. The Computing Base will be built into the next Microsoft operating system, codenamed Longhorn.
"Palladium will happen. There's enough interest from the enterprise sector to make sure it succeeds," said C. Victor Chang, vice president of technology at RSA Security.
"IT managers are sick of cleaning up messes every week. Many future business plans depend on DRM. These two drivers are going to make this happen."
Windows RMS can be downloaded here.
Additional reporting by Robert Jaques.
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