Microsoft Shuttering Docs.com Office File Sharing Site

Docs.com, Microsoft's public online repository for Office files, will shut down later this year. LinkedIn's SlideShare service will pick up the slack.

Microsoft

Microsoft today announced that it is pulling the plug on Docs.com, the company's sharing and publishing service for Office documents, on Dec. 15.

Site visitors are currently being greeted with a banner alerting them to the impending shutdown. According to an accompanying online advisory, the decision to shutter Docs.com comes after one of Microsoft's biggest buys of 2016.

"Following Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn, SlideShare has joined the Microsoft family, and represents the ideal platform for publishing your Word, PowerPoint, and PDF content with its audience of 70 million professionals, and vast content library," states the June 9 post. Prior to getting snapped up by Microsoft last year, LinkedIn acquired SlideShare in 2012 for nearly $119 million. As its name suggests, the service is best known for enabling users to share presentations online.

"For custom sharing, OneDrive offers additional tools, permission settings, and security to help share and protect your data and content. With the retirement of the Docs.com service, we hope to streamline our offerings in this space and provide you with a more cohesive experience," continued Microsoft.

To ease the transition, Microsoft is offering users an automatic backup option that transfers their files to OneDrive and OneDrive for Business until Dec. 14. After the files are moved, Docs.com will switch to a read-only mode and shared links will be redirected to their new home on OneDrive. Those redirected links are set to expire on May 15, 2018.

Starting today, no new Docs.com accounts can be created. Come Aug. 1, users will no longer be able to publish or edit content on the site.

On June 19, Microsoft will enable Office 365 administrators to migrate the content stored in work or school Docs.com accounts to OneDrive for Business on behalf of their users. Finally, on Dec. 15, Docs.com will no longer be accessible.

The move also arrives after a recent Docs.com security scare.

In March, security researcher Kevin Beaumont discovered that some users had inadvertently uploaded personal identifiable information (PII) to the service. Ordinarily, that isn't a problem for online file storage services with tight security controls. But unbeknownst to some users, Docs.com serves as public file repository.

Docs.com offers two file visibility options, Public and Limited, with a third Organization option reserved for business and education accounts. Files set to Public, the default, show up in search results. In this case, it revealed sensitive information of some users to the internet at large, including passwords and Social Security numbers.

Protecting PII is quickly becoming a top priority for businesses.

In light of the European Union's stringent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is set to take effect as an enforced regulation in May 2018, the IT industry is turning its attention to PII and keeping it safe. In a recent interview, David Jones, senior vice president of Security and Information Governance at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), noted that businesses that fall short of complying with GDPR can rack up hefty fines totaling 4 percent of global revenues.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...