With today's reality of remote work and online learning, people need the ability to share content - documents, presentations, photos, videos, lesson plans, you name it - to get work done. And because of this, security around internal and external sharing is more important than ever before. While the ability to share content with colleagues both inside and outside the organisation helps people stay productive and connected, you must protect against risks. Accidental sharing of sensitive information or sharing with unintended recipients can pose a threat to the integrity and privacy of your data, people, and devices. OneDrive helps you define secure, virtual perimeters for sharing content, educate people about your policies for secure collaboration, and monitor how people share to discover and address gaps. In this practical guide, you'll learn about how you can easily manage secure external sharing.
The first things to consider when it comes to external sharing are the hard sharing restrictions for your organisation. Depending on your business or industry, you may have different requirements that you must meet for protecting sensitive information. You should also consider what behaviors you want to prevent entirely when people in your organisation share information. For example, are you worried about users enabling anonymous access to files containing sensitive information, such as financial data, or personally identifiable information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, or health records? Or are you more concerned about leaking company IP? The best first step is to talk with your Security, Legal, or Compliance teams to understand their requirements.
In addition, OneDrive, together with Microsoft 365, includes a robust toolset of combating ransomware, retaining critical data, and meeting litigation requirements - all of which grow more critical as more organisations shift to remote work. If you're in a highly regulated industry like Finance, Energy, or Government, tools such as Information Barriers can help you control risks like insider trading and demonstrate that control for regulators.
Another example of how OneDrive helps you establish these specific boundaries is by enabling you to limit external sharing to specific groups of users. For example, Sales and Marketing may need permission to use Anyone links to share information with a broad number of vendors and customers. One the other hand, you may want to give HR and Finance permission to share information only with external users who authenticate their identities before accessing files. Now, you can add and manage security groups to determine who can share content externally - and who they can share it with. Bottom line, setting up security groups helps reduce the chance that someone who's busy or distracted will accidentally share the wrong information with someone outside your organisation.
Collaboration is absolutely critical for both remote work and online learning. But when people are working, security usually isn't foremost in their minds. The power of OneDrive is that it provides rich capabilities that enable them to share content and collaborate securely by default. In OneDrive, you can set up your organisation's policies so that people who tend to click Share and go about their business have less permissive sharing options - and you can also let people choose more permissive options as needed. You do this by specifying the type of link that's selected by default when people share files in OneDrive: anyone, people only inside the organisation, or specific people. You can also set the permission to either view or edit. This way, employees, teachers, or students can't accidentally share information with anyone outside the organisation or externally share content that is meant for internal use only.
Another great example of helping people be successful is setting up expiration policies. This ensures that external users won't retain access to your content indefinitely, and helps prompt people in your organisations to periodically review who they've given access to their files. You can also easily revoke access that was previously granted.
With long daily to-do lists, people are often trying to get through tasks as quickly as possible and mark them complete. The last thing you want to do is slow them down by preventing them from sharing files. That's why Microsoft built quick reminders and help into the OneDrive UI to remove some of the burden from your IT help desk. So if you've set up your environment for internal sharing only, when someone tries to share a file externally, they immediately see an error message that lets them know external sharing isn't permitted. You can also set up custom help links, so employees can quickly and easily get in-context assistance and direction, such as instructions for singing up for a training course on protecting company information.
Unfortunately, shadow IT can still pose a problem. If some people need to share information or get feedback on a document quickly, they may choose more familiar apps - or an app suggested by a client, to share files. That's why you need to help people see why using unapproved commercial apps can pose a security risk - and what tools you've provided instead to help make their jobs easier. You can also offer training courses for staff or students to complete for them to be added to a group with external sharing permissions. Creating a portal that people can access for further education around the right apps to use and secure sharing policies to follow can also help to reduce risk from information leakage, especially for new hires or students.
Establishing sharing boundaries for your organisation and educating people about your external sharing policies helps you spend less time managing requests and troubleshooting issues, so you can focus on other priorities. Instead, you can monitor OneDrive activity across your organisation or school to see what people are doing. Using the information on the Productivity Score page of the Microsoft 365 Admin Portal, you can spot patterns that alert you to abnormal or suspect usage and adjust sharing and security policies to adapt or address issues. Understanding usage patterns can also help you develop and revise education materials to improve information security, which can help lessen the burden on your security team. You can also review audit logs to detect anomalies, such as people who are sharing or downloading more files than usual, and external sharing reports to help you gauge sharing behaviour and provide insights that you can use to improve best practices and education across the board.
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If there are two words that define the way we've used technology this year, they might just be "remote everything". Our jobs, meetings, schools, social gatherings have all moved online. They are accelerating our digital transformation both professionally and personally. We not only need the right apps to stay productive while working remotely, but we also need the right apps to stay connected with family and friends.
Files are often the starting point for getting work done and staying connected. Memos, presentations, photos, videos - these are the conduit for more fruitful interactions. That's why we're excited to announce new OneDrive features across Microsoft 365 that bring a more connected and flexible files experience to business users, more control to admins, and a more personal touch to everyone at home.
Later this month, Microsoft are rolling out in public preview a new feature called Add to OneDrive that makes it easy to add shared folders directly to your OneDrive.
Shared folders include content that others shared with you through their OneDrive or content that is a part of your shared library in Microsoft Teams or SharePoint.
With Add to OneDrive, not only can you bring all your shared content into one place, but you can also work with the shared content with the same power and flexibility as if they are files you own. This means that the added content can be synced, shared, and collaborated on and that it retains all existing security and compliance policies. The public preview rollout will be enabled in your tenants by default with the option for admins to opt out if the choose.
Add to OneDrive is just one of several features that makes your files experience more connected, flexible, secure, and personal. Read on to learn about others.
Teams sharing integration - Microsoft 365 should feel the same no matter which app you're in. This is especially true for Teams, which has become central to our remote work lives. To extend this familiarity to files, soon Microsoft are rolling out the same file sharing and access control experience in Teams that business users like yourself already know from other Microsoft 365 apps, including OneDrive, Outlook, or Office. Soon, when you go to share a file from within Teams, you'll have the option to create sharing links that provide access to anyone, people within your organisation, people with existing access, or specific people including those in a private or group chat.
Synced metadata support - Metadata adds structure and compliance to your files. Currently shared libraries with mandatory metadata synchronizes as read-only. In the next few weeks Microsoft are rolling out an update to the OneDrive sync app supporting read and write sync for shared libraries that contain required metadata. This will enable business users to edit content in their synced libraries while working form their desktops.
Move and keep sharing - Your files should move as your workflow does. As a document moves through its life cycle - from creation to review to final - it needs to relocate to shared cloud libraries that reach a broader group of collaborators. But it needs to do so without affecting the original group's access. Later this summer, business users can do exactly that in OneDrive by choosing to keep sharing with collaborators when they more their files. This means all business users who had original access to a file will be re-added to it if that file changes shared library locations. Those users will now receive a new link maintaining the same permissions they had before and receive a notification about the move.
100 GB file updates - Last week Microsoft have increased the upload file size limit from 15 GB to 100 GB in OneDrive and SharePoint for everyone! This is especially helpful for business users that work in predominately large file types, like 3D, CAD, and media files. Previously released differential sync will help expedite the upload process for large files by only syncing the parts that changed instead of the entire file.
Comment notifications - Notifications can keep you on track - but they can also be distracting. To help you stay productive when you need to focus, later this year, Microsoft are adding the option to turn off comment notifications for individual files. Doing so will only affect that file, not entire files library.
Address bar sharing - If you access or work on file in a browser, you'll soon be able to share links copied from your browser address bar with your internal colleagues (if admin-enabled). These URLs will respect all sharing policies, empowering natural and easy collaboration within your organisation.
Sync admin reports - Strong reporting leads to strong auditing and monitoring. As an admin, you can better assist your users if you know what's happening in their environments. Sync admin reports allow you to do just that by providing visibility and insights on adoption and health of the OneDrive sync app across your organisation. Use this new dashboard to check sync app versions, sync status, and top sync errors on individual devices. You can even monitor deployment progress of Known Folder Move, which Microsoft recommend implementing to help redirect your users known folders (Desktop, Documents and Pictures) on Windows to OneDrive. Help-desk resources can also leverage these reports to support users with their sync.
Enhanced file protection and governance - Microsoft recently announced the general availability of several features that strengthen file protection and governance in OneDrive and SharePoint. These include Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels with protection, automatic classification with sensitivity labels, sensitivity labels for SharePoint sites, and information barriers. Additionally, admins will soon be able to implement automatic expiration of external access, multi-factor authentication policies,, like prompting one-time pass codes (OTP), as well as extending continuous access evaluations to OneDrive and SharePoint.
Streamlined admin experience - Microsoft have expanded the OneDrive toolkit to streamline the admin experience, including new options for easily migrating content to OneDrive. There are also several enhancements on the horizon. Later this year, all OneDrive admin capabilities, including controls for sharing, access, sync, and storage, will be available in the SharePoint admin center, consolidating admin tools in one place. This will unlock several enhancements in reporting, WCAG 2.1 accessibility support, Global Reader support, error messaging and performance.
This summer Microsoft are also releasing a new option to set mandatory expiration dates for external collaborators that can be extended or revoked based on user discretion.
Our work and personal lives have become increasingly intertwined as this super-charged digital transformation takes hold. We're not just managing work documents online these days - we're also sharing family photos, schedules, planning documents, roommate expense spreadsheets, and much, much more. And just like we expect seamless sharing and collaboration on the job, now more than ever, we need it in our personal lives.
Family and group sharing - Microsoft are making it easier to stay connected with family and group sharing in OneDrive. This new consumer feature, available on OneDrive for the web, lets you pre-define a group of people from your personal life and then easily share files, photos, videos, and albums with that group. Groups can be family, friends, your kids' sports league, your sports league, old college buddies, new game night pals - anyone you want to stay connected with.
To share files to your group, select the file or folder you want to share in OneDrive, click Share, and then type and select the name of the group. All members of the group need a Microsoft account, and each will need to accept your invitation to the group to access it.
Family and group sharing is included in all free and paid OneDrive consumer plans and will begin rolling out soon on OneDrive for the web, with general availability expected by the end of July. It will become available on the mobile app, sync client, Mac, and directly from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint by the end of this year.
Dark Mode for the web - Following its releases for iOS and Android, Microsoft are soon bringing Dark Mode to OneDrive for the web across commercial and personal accounts. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, Dark Mode also reduces eye strain and improves your device's battery life.
Better collaboration with friends and family - Newly released features like OneDrive's file detail pane and activity feed let you see your file activity and comments in single view, so you can quickly get back into the flow of what you and your friends and family are working in together.
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