RealTime IT News

SyncCast Reveals Microsoft Rights Management

NEW YORK -- SyncCast, a company that has until now specialized in offering secure and integrated digital media delivery and management solutions to entertainment firms like movie studios and music labels, has turned its eye on the enterprise space thanks to Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Rights Management Services (RMS).

RMS is a new ASP.NET service, built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, for Windows Server 2003 Standard, Enterprise, Web and Datacenter editions. It is designed to work with applications to provide policy rights for Web content and sensitive corporate reports.

With Windows RMS, users can control the forwarding, copying and printing of documents, as well as expiration rules for portals, word processing or email documents. The rules can be crafted so that users can designate who can access specific content and what kinds of access rights they have.

Rights and policy are managed by the RMS server component (code-name Tungsten), while clients run a client component that allows users to apply rights with a mouse click. Microsoft released the client component, Microsoft Windows Rights Management Client 1.0, for free download last Thursday.

"We think this is good for companies that have any type of content they want to protect," Ezra Davidson, vice president of Business Development for SyncCast, told internetnews.com at the TechXNY show here Tuesday.

Davidson added, "Often times, the employee who mistakenly releases sensitive company information does so by accident and unintentionally -- such as by forwarding an email. The problem in the past has been that once the information got out, anyone could read it. With out SecureSync Technology, emails and other company communication can only be opened by someone within the company's trusted community. So even if someone got a hold of a sensitive company document, they wouldn't be able to read its contents. This is a sea change in the confidence with which companies communicate."

SyncCast has been dealing with digital rights management for years. Artisan turned to the firm to secure Region 1 access to its Terminator 2: Judgment Day Extreme DVD release. It also secured that studio's Shadows of Motown release.

"We have a lot of experience dealing with studios," Davidson said. "We were contracted to deliver 10 million licenses this year."

Now SyncCast wants to leverage that experience to break open the enterprise market, particularly verticals like healthcare, insurance, legal and government, SyncCast CEO Lance Ware told internetnews.com. It is also looking at specialized departments within organizations, like human resources, finance, and legal. He noted that SyncCast will primarily aim its service at small businesses and businesses that want to establish inter-enterprise communications with trusted partners but don't want to deal with the difficulties of building up complicated licensing exchanges with those partners.

"We expect RMS to be a significant product with wide adoption by enterprises," Ware said. "Our SecureSync services will jump start companies looking to quickly gain the benefits provided by rights management or who would rather not manage the complexities of operating a secure platform."

However, neither Microsoft nor SyncCast are ready to predict what the market for RMS will be. "It's too early to tell," Ware said, noting that SyncCast very much views the space as an early adopter market.

"The sweet spot comes from helping the early adopters to find an advantage in the market," he added.

Still, those early adopters will be limited to firms that run Microsoft Windows shops, or at least give end-users capable of utilizing Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. Microsoft's RMS is designed to integrate with its Office 2003 suite, though it can be used with IE through an RMS plug-in for the browser.

Ware noted that companies with mixed shops can create documents on other platforms and then send those documents to a Windows server for packaging.