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Summary: Office 365 offers various collaboration features for efficient data sharing, but it can present security challenges, especially with SharePoint Online. This article explores effective data sharing methods while addressing common security concerns. It covers the basics of file sharing, internal and external sharing, and essential security measures. Additionally, it recommends Kernel Office 365 Backup & Restore for data protection and backup.

Office 365 offers numerous collaboration features that empower you to seamlessly share documents with colleagues, solicit feedback on your work, and distribute links for easy content access. However, the integration of SharePoint Online with Azure AD, Exchange Online, and OneDrive can introduce some complexity into the sharing process.

In this discussion, we’ll explore effective data sharing within Office 365 applications, all while addressing common security concerns specifically related to SharePoint Online.

Office 365 File Sharing Tools

Office 365 offers two primary file sharing tools: SharePoint Online and OneDrive. These versatile tools facilitate the sharing of documents, images, videos, spreadsheets, and more. Additionally, they are interconnected, enhancing the overall file sharing experience.

To simplify, think of SharePoint Online as the user-friendly front-end interface, while OneDrive functions as the robust backend storage. For example, when you share a link from your OneDrive folder, it essentially connects to SharePoint Online behind the scenes.

Now, let’s delve into the functionality of both these tools, which might seem a bit complex to users. To make it clearer, we’ve outlined their functionalities point-by-point.

  • Can easily be accessed by any user with an internet connection
  • Includes Cloud Storage for your team
  • Managed by Azure AD permissions and file-sharing policies
SharePoint Online
  • Easily accessible to any user with an internet connection
  • Included with a sharing and collaboration platform
  • Managed by Azure AD permissions and system properties

Furthermore, Microsoft’s Teams functionality within Office 365 is gradually becoming an integral component for many organizations, and Microsoft is committed to ongoing enhancements.

Now, you know about the file-sharing applications in Office 365, it’s time to learn the basics of file sharing.

Basics of File Sharing in Office 365

When it comes to sharing files in Office 365, there are a few methods involved in it, such as:

  • Finding the files or data – If you have installed the entire MS Office 365 applications on your system, then the OneDrive application will be available in the Windows Explorer, where you can easily locate the files that you want to share. However, you can also use the OneDrive site to gain the same information.
  • Co-authoring files – Co-authoring a file requires permission from the admin to edit the files. If the administrator has given you permission, then you can easily co-author a file.
  • Updating and syncing the files – It is one of the easiest tasks in Office 365. When you save a file in Office 365, it will automatically sync to the server. Similarly, if you upload a file in your local OneDrive folder on your system, it will be synced and uploaded to the server.
Sharing Files in Office 365

Within Office 365, data sharing can occur both internally and externally, each requiring distinct steps. In this article, we will delve into the procedures for sharing files both within your organization and with external parties.

Internal File Sharing

Internal file sharing involves the sharing of data among users within a single network, all operating within the same Azure Active Directory domain. To grasp the process of sharing files internally, follow these steps:

  • First of all, you will have to save the data to your Teams folder in order to share them internally.
  • After that, you can send the sharing links to users to access the files.
  • To share the data with users, select the specific people with whom you want to share the files. You can also choose the entire company employees to share the files.
  • If you want your employees to edit the data, then click the Allow Editing button.
  • You can also block employees from downloading the files to ensure that there are no extra copies of that file.
  • Now, click Copy Link and send it to the users with whom you want to share it.

That’s how you can easily share files internally with other team members or company employees.

External File Sharing

Sharing internal data externally can pose significant risks to an organization, and it is generally not advisable unless it’s absolutely necessary. Therefore, before sharing internal data with external parties, it’s imperative to configure external sharing settings within Office 365.

  • Configuring external data sharing in Office 365 –To configure and activate external sharing in Office 365 applications such as SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Office 365 Groups, you must enable guest access. Additionally, you need to assign guest access rights to facilitate collaboration with external users and your team members.
  • Sharing Files Externally in SharePoint Online – SharePoint Online provides four different options to share files externally, which includes:
    1. No external sharing, which prevent internal users from sharing data externally.
    2. Authenticated for New and existing users, which allow sharing data with all users that are authenticated to any Office 365 account.
    3. Authenticated for Existing Guests, which would enable sharing data with Azure AD members only.
    4. Anonymous Sharing – data can be shared with anyone via a link.

    Sharing files externally in Office 365 is nearly identical to sharing data internally. The key distinction lies in the need for precautionary measures when sharing externally to safeguard your organization’s data.

Some of the preventive measures you should focus on while sharing data externally in Office 365 includes:

  • Enable multi-factor authentication
  • Enforce least privileged access to SharePoint Online
  • Classify sensitive data that is in SharePoint Online
  • Prevent data downloading to unmanaged devices
  • Limit and audit external sharing
  • Monitor SharePoint Online activities of external users

These security measures will assist in safeguarding your data during external sharing. Another crucial aspect to bear in mind when sharing data externally is the importance of maintaining a continuous data backup.

Performing daily backup of Office 365 data is essential to handle potential challenges that may arise during external data sharing in organizations. For reliable data backup, consider using the Kernel Office 365 backup & restore tool, specifically designed to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. This software offers a range of features, including selective data backup, multiple file saving options, and data export to various formats, ensuring comprehensive data protection.


File sharing, particularly external sharing, can be a complex challenge for many organizations. Administrators must proactively implement security measures to protect their data effectively. In this article, we have explored strategies for secure data sharing within Office 365, both internally and externally, prioritizing data security.