If your organization has any scenarios that involve sharing documents or collaborating directly with vendors, clients, or customers, then you are probably emailing those files.
You can reduce those emails sent and manage the versions of the files you are sharing by utilizing the external sharing features of SharePoint Online to share content with people outside your organization who do not have licenses for your Microsoft Office 365 subscription.
This article, along with our upcoming webcast, Collaborating and sharing content with external stakeholders using SharePoint, will describe the external sharing features of SharePoint Online.
I should note that there are two other external sharing/communication options to also consider that this article does not cover. First, is the ability to externally share your calendar and second, is using Lync to connect with external users.
What are the external sharing features of SharePoint?
- The ability to share sites and documents with authenticated users.
Authenticated users are those who are invited to sign in by using a Microsoft account or Office 365 user ID.
- The ability to share sites and documents with guest users.
Guest users, also called anonymous users, don’t need a Microsoft account or Office 365 user ID to access your sites and documents. They access via guest links that you or your employees give to them.
- The ability to turn external sharing on or off globally for an entire SharePoint Online environment (or tenant).
Turning external sharing off at the tenant level means no documents, sites, or site collections can be shared externally.
- The ability to turn external sharing on or off for individual site collections.
This provides you with the ability to secure content on specific site collections that you do not want to be shared.
How to share sites or documents with people outside your organization.
There are 4 ways that you can do this:
- You can share entire sites by inviting external users to sign in to your site using a Microsoft account or Office 365 user ID.
This is a great way to give access to either sites or entire document libraries to your users outside your company.
- You can share individual documents and do not require sign-in by inviting external users to sign in to your site using a Microsoft account or Office 365 user ID.
Typically, non-sensitive information can be shared. Depending on the option you choose when you create the link, the end user can either view it only or update it and provide feedback. The intent is that these individuals do not require frequent, on-going access to your site.
- You can share individual documents and require sign-in by inviting external users to sign in to your site using a Microsoft account or Office 365 user ID.
- You can post or send users a guest link that they can use to view individual documents on your site anonymously.
Review the Microsoft technical reference guide for sharing outside of your organization.
Typically, I suggest to create a separate site and site collection where external sharing is allowed in order to ensure that external sharing is turned off on any other site collection. This will also prevent you from sharing confidential information and also, make administration easier.
Additionally, you can create content organizer rules to publish content from the document’s secured area of your site (ie: Marketing dept. library), to the external sharing enabled site collection.
To find out more about this or other ways that RSM can assist you with your SharePoint needs, contact McGladrey’s technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us. Also, to learn more register for our upcoming webcast on Thursday, February 26th, to understand how Collaborating and sharing content with external stakeholders using SharePoint, can benefit your organization.