February 11, 2024
Master of External Sharing with Office 365 and SharePoint Online
In today’s digital age, collaboration is the key to success for any organization. Office 365 and SharePoint Online provide robust external sharing capabilities, enabling seamless collaboration with external partners, suppliers and customers. However, with great power comes great responsibility, especially when it comes to managing and securing remote access and shared content. In this blog, we explore best practices for managing external sharing within Office 365 and SharePoint Online, focusing on effective governance strategies.
Understanding External Users
External users in Office 365 and SharePoint Online are individuals outside your organization with whom you share files, documents and sites. These users can be authenticated external users, who must log in with an account, or anonymous users, who can access via a link without authentication. Identifying and managing these users is essential to maintaining security and compliance.
Governance of External Sharing
Effective governance of external sharing requires clear policies and guidelines that define how content is shared and accessed by external users. This includes:
- Restrict Access: Limit access to only the required information. Consider using separate site collections for collaboration with external users to prevent unintended sharing of sensitive information.
- Domain restrictions: Set sharing restrictions with specific domains to ensure that only trusted external organizations can access your content.
- Verification Requirements: Ensure that external users undergo an adequate level of verification before accessing content. This may include restricting access to users with specific e-mail addresses or requiring two-factor authentication.
- Link expiration: Set expiration dates for shared links, especially anonymous links, to limit access to information to a specific time period.
- Monitoring and Reporting: Implement monitoring and reporting of remote users and their activities to identify unauthorized access or inappropriate sharing of information.
The Role of Governance Solutions
For organizations looking for an integrated approach to managing external sharing, governance solutions such as those from ALTA-ICT provide a comprehensive platform for managing, monitoring and securing external access and sharing within Office 365 and SharePoint Online. These solutions enable organizations to:
- Get a detailed overview of who has access to what, when and how.
- Manage and restrict external users’ access based on policies and compliance requirements.
- Detect unusual or suspicious activity and respond quickly to mitigate potential threats.
These solutions also offer a range of advanced features to strengthen the governance of external sharing:
- Detection of all external users in the tenant: Identify and manage all external parties accessing your resources.
- Insight into external users’ permissions: Get complete transparency into what access rights external users have within your Office 365 environment.
- Localization of externally shared content: Quickly find out what content has been shared with external parties and manage it effectively.
- Listing of all content shared through various links: Obtain a listing of content shared through anonymous links, company links and links shared with specific individuals.
- Removal of all partial links and remote users from your tenant: Ensure a clean slate by eliminating unwanted or high-risk access points.
- Prevent suspicious actions by guest users with audit reports: Monitor the activities of remote users and intervene before security incidents occur.
While the ability to share externally in Office 365 and SharePoint Online enables companies to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, it is critical that these capabilities be managed with a strong focus on governance and security. By following the aforementioned best practices and investing in a robust governance solution, organizations can reap the benefits of external sharing while protecting their data and meeting compliance requirements.
For organizations that need help developing and implementing effective governance strategies for external sharing, ALTA-ICT’s team is ready to help. With extensive expertise in Office 365 and SharePoint Online, ALTA-ICT can provide personalized solutions tailored to your organization’s unique needs. Contact ALTA-ICT for an introductory discussion and find out how we can support you in managing external sharing securely and effectively so you can collaborate with external partners with confidence.
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