Microsoft Unveils Rights Management Client

Microsoft Tuesday unveiled the first component of the Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) strategy it detailed in February, designed to help enterprises better control who has access to which documents, and when.

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.

That client component, the Microsoft Windows Rights Management Client 1.0, is what Microsoft posted for free download Tuesday.

Both the server component and an RMS add-on for Internet Explorer (intended for users that don’t have a full RMS client), are expected to debut later
this year.

The client software released Tuesday will be required for each user who will be creating or viewing rights-protected content, Microsoft said, and
is available to all licensees of Microsoft Windows 98, second edition, and
later. Further, to run an RMS shop, enterprises need Windows Server Active
Directory and a SQL Server database (to store configuration data) on the
server side, and RMS-enabled applications on the client side.

Office 2003, slated to ship in October, will be the first RMS-enabled
application available from Microsoft. The software giant said Office 2003
Professional Edition will be required for creating rights-protected Office
documents, spreadsheets, presentations and email messages. Office 2003
Standard Edition will allow users to view rights-protected content, but not
to create it.

As far as licensing goes, Microsoft said organizations seeking to implement
RMS will need a Windows Server 2003 Server License, Windows Server 2003
Client Access Licenses (CALs), and Windows Rights Management Services CALs.
RMS CALs — which can either be applied to a user or a device — go for an
estimated price of $37 each, or about $185 for five CALs.

Microsoft is also offering an RMS External Connector (EC) license, which
will allow organizations to permit an unlimited number of external users to
access a single licensed copy of RMS server software without requiring an
additional CAL for each. The RMS EC license is intended to give
organizations the ability to allow customers or business partners to access
rights-protected information. The RMS EC license goes for an estimated
$18,066. Because users accessing RMS through an external connector license
must also be licensed to access Windows Server 2003, Microsoft noted that
the Windows Server EC license would also be required.

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