Office 365 – What Is External Sharing?


External sharing, whether in a large or small business can be a very important function especially working with clients, vendors or anyone else that might need access to collaborate from outside the organisation.

Through Office 365 and the rise of the cloud, this process has become extremely easy for end users, but this can also be abided with risks.

This short blog will explain and guide you through the process of how external sharing works!


What Is External Sharing?

External sharing is the act of making content from within your organisation or Office 365 environment available to someone else who is not apart of the organisation, such as a client or vendor.

It can mean very different things though behind the scenes of external sharing. There can be many different dependencies on the sharing such as –¬†is the content shared anonymously or shared to an authenticated external user? We will take a look into the differences between sharing with anonymous and external users.

Sharing With Anonymous Users

Folders or documents are able to be shared externally via an anonymous link. This means that the person who will be accessing the document won’t be able to be identified by the organisation.

With this option chosen, whoever has access to this link will be able to access what is in the document or folders etc. For security reasons, it is highly advisable not to share any sensitive information using this method as it can be accessed by anyone.

As the person sending the anonymous link, you can specify it to either “View Only” or “Editable”. You can even set the expiration date of the link you have provided with the users so the content is only accessible up to the date and time that you have specified.

Sharing With Authenticated External Users

A more secure way of sharing content with external users is through authenticated external users. This method is through email invitation. Users are sent an invite via email and then prompted to sign in using an account which is from a trusted provider, which will then let them access the content.

Once they have authenticated and accepted the invitation, they are then added to your organisations directory and specifically added as an external user. However, they will on have access to the specific elements or content which you specify to their user. If you have shared an entire folder they will be able to access anything in that folder. So make sure there is nothing sensitive or items they shouldn’t have access to.


This short 7 minute video from Peter Kalmstrom from shows you how easy it is to be able to share content from your organisation externally:


I hope you enjoyed this brief blog on external sharing, please take a look at our other exciting blogs on everything Microsoft!


About the author