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Why Excel on the Server?
The same problem holds true if the spreadsheet is placed on a file-share or document-management
system. Each user opens a local copy of the spreadsheet, which he or she can then modify, making it out of
sync with the sanctioned version.
Another problem that is exists when sharing spreadsheets this way is security. The spreadsheet may
contain certain areas that its author does not want to share broadly (for example, the author may be interested
in sharing the aggregated summary and not the detailed data on a different sheet in the workbook). In
fact, in many cases, the actual model represented in the workbook and the formulas that comprise it are
considered proprietary or a trade-secret that the spreadsheet author would like to protect. When all the
recipients receive a copy of the entire spreadsheet file, it is practically impossible to guarantee that these
elements will remain secured.
Figure 1-2
Controlling Spreadsheet Distribution
Distributing a workbook broadly may require additional control and management. The author may need
to have the workbook reviewed and approved prior to it being made available broadly. Notifications may
need to be sent out to all those tracking updates to the workbook. And after the spreadsheet has been
distributed, there may be a need for an audit log to track who saw the spreadsheet, which version they saw,
and who changed it. These types of requirements may be part of internal procedures, or mandated by
external industry and government regulations. In addition, the workbook life cycle is not over when it is
distributed. There may be records-management or document-retention policies that need to be enforced.
For example, automatic backups and snapshots may need to be retained for archival purposes.
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