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There are many collaboration features in Office 365, which allow you to share your documents with the co-workers, request feedback on the submitted document, publish links to allow others to access the content, etc. SharePoint Online is integrated with Azure AD, Exchange Online, and OneDrive, which makes the sharing process a bit tricky.

Today, we are going to discuss how you can share data in Office 365 applications effectively while addressing some common security issues with SharePoint Online.

Office 365 File Sharing Tools

There are two main file sharing tools in Office 365 – SharePoint Online and OneDrive, both of which can be used to share Docs, Images, Videos, Sheets, etc. Moreover, both these tools are interrelated to each other for providing file sharing functionality.

In simple words, we can say that SharePoint Online works as the front-end interface, whereas OneDrive works as the backend storage. For instance, if a link from the OneDrive folder is shared, the URL will be linked to SharePoint Online.

Now, coming to the functionality of both these tools, it is a bit complicated to understand for users. So, we enlisted their functionality 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

Also, the Teams functionality of Office 365 offered by Microsoft is slowly becoming an integral part of most organizations, and Microsoft is continuously trying to improve it.

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

In Office 365, data can be shared both internally and externally, and the steps for both these processes are different. Here, we will discuss how you can share files, both internally and externally.

Internal File Sharing

Internal file sharing is considered as sharing data with other users in a single network, who are using the same Azure Active Directory domain. To learn how to share files internally, follow the below 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

It’s often very risky for an organization to share its internal data externally, and it is not even recommended to share data with external users unless it is crucial for an organization. So, before sharing external data with anyone, it is crucial to configure external sharing on Office 365.

  • Configuring external data sharing in Office 365 –To configure and enable external sharing in Office 365 applications like SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Office 365 Groups, you will have to enable the guest access. Besides, you will also have to grant guest access rights to allow external users to collaborate with 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 almost similar to sharing data internally. The only difference is that you need to take preventive measures while sharing externally to ensure that your organization’s data is secure.

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 help you protect your data while sharing it externally. But, another crucial thing that you should keep in mind while sharing data externally is taking continuous backup of your data.

Daily backup of Office 365 data will help you deal with difficult situations that often arise in an organization while sharing data externally. To backup your data, you can use Kernel Office 365 backup & restore tool, which is designed for businesses of all sizes. Using this tool, you can easily backup Office 365 mailbox data. The software comes with various features and functions, such as selective data backup, multiple file saving options, export data to various formats, and many more.


File sharing could be a daunting task for most organizations, especially when it comes to external sharing. Most administrators often need to take preventive measures to secure their data as much as possible. In this article, we discussed how you could share data in Office 365 both internally and externally ensuring the security of data.

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