what is Information Rights Management in sharepoint 2013 and it should be enable in every document library that saves documents in an organisation?

How to open IRM protected document example any word file shared outside of organisation?


Information Rights Management (IRM) enables you to limit the actions that users can take on files that have been downloaded from lists or libraries

You can use Information Rights Management (IRM) to help control and protect files that are downloaded from lists or libraries by doing the following

  • Allow specific people to print documents from this list or library
  • Allow people with at least the View Items permission to run embedded code or macros on a document.
  • Prevent people from uploading documents that do not support IRM to this list or library.
  • Allow group protection so that users can share with members of the same group.

IRM cannot protect restricted content from the following:

  • Erasure, theft, capture, or transmission by malicious programs such as Trojan horses, keystroke loggers, and certain types of spyware

  • Loss or corruption because of the actions of computer viruses

  • Manual copying or retyping of content from the display on a screen

  • Digital or film photography of content that is displayed on a screen

  • Copying through the use of third-party screen-capture programs

  • Copying of content metadata (column values) through the use of third-party screen-capture programs or copy-and-paste action.

Regarding your question How to open IRM protected document example any word file shared outside of organisation?

It depends on the IRM protection and user permission for example :

  • When people download files in an IRM-enabled list or library, the files are encrypted so that only authorized people can view them.

  • Each rights-managed file also contains an issuance license that imposes restrictions on the people who view the file.

  • Typical restrictions include making a file read-only, disabling the copying of text, preventing people from saving a local copy, and preventing people from printing the file.

  • Client programs that can read IRM-supported file types use the issuance license within the rights-managed file to enforce these restrictions. This is how a rights-managed file retains its protection even after it is downloaded from the server.

See more here


IRM is not a byproduct of SharePoint itself, it is an infrastructure by Microsoft to protect documents as you say and it is hosted and works outside of SharePoint. When IRM is in action it is irrelevant if the file is sent via email or stays in SP or is in shared drives. IRM gives peculiar characteristics to the file itself, not the location. It is applied inside the MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PP, emails in outlook etc)

Maybe you mean "Information Management Policy Settings" which is a setting in every document library?

To be able to open a document outside the org, you still need valid credentials (your user Id and pw in that company).

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