Monday, April 1, 2013

SharePoint Online External Users Update


Several months ago I wrote a blog on SharePoint Online Partner Access ( It was the first release and it worked pretty well. With the new SharePoint Online there have been a few improvements and changes that are worth noting.

If you are not familiar with SharePoint Online, there is a solution for Partner support. You can read about it my old blog. The ability to use SharePoint for external is nothing new and has been done many organizations with SharePoint on-premise. For SharePoint 2013 on-premise additional information is here ( End of day the organization must deploy SharePoint in your DMZ, secure and then manage user access. External users are typically stored in LDAP directories, Forms Based Authentication could be used, sometimes a custom authentication provider maybe written or even users are managed in AD. This is a great solution but the implementation and management can be costly to an organization.

SharePoint Online is a great solution to reduce those costs. SharePoint is securely managed and highly available in Office 365. No more management of infrastructure in your DMZ.

Another great thing about using SharePoint Online in general with external partners it the corporate control you can. This is important because I have seen situations far too many times where organizations quickly jump to use free document sharing solutions. These solutions present real challenges to enterprise organizations because they typically do not provide enterprise solutions for eDiscovery, legal hold, put on retention, etc. Nor can they be managed by your corporate Active Directory and policies that you need to manage centrally. With SharePoint Online, you can do this.

New Features and Improvements

As I mentioned at the top of this article there are some improvements to the Partner Solution that is now available with the new SharePoint Online.

Additionally this is a really good article for you to read - Discusses many questions you should ask yourself on how you plan to share data externally and what controls you would like to put in place.

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