Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Easier external sharing comes to Office 365

It is amazing what you find when you start fiddling around in your Office 365 console.

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If you login as an administrator and select the option external sharing from the menu on the left you will be greeted by the above screen which contains a number of simply on/off controls for sharing your services in one location.

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Where it gets interesting is when you select the external users from the menu across the top.

As you can see from the above screen, now as an administrator I can see all the external (non-Office 365 tenant licensed users) who have received invitations to access any of the SharePoint (including OneDrive for Business) sites.

This means now as an administrator you can not only see every external user but you can also remove them all from a single location!

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If you now go to the third menu option sites you can see a list of all your site collections and whether they are sharing externally. You can also enable or disable anonymous guest links here.

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I can see in the list of sites that OneDrive for Business (My Sites) that it is configured for Share Invitation as shown.

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If you place a check mark for and hit the details link which appears on the right you can quick turn off external access for the whole site as well as not allow anonymous links as shown above.

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However, here’s the best option in this external sharing option. If you select calendar from the menu across the top you’ll see that you have controls to share calendars via a public URL! YIPEE! Oh, how I have waited for this feature.

There is simply too much to go into on this new feature in this post. I’ll do another one shortly but for all the information you need for setting up external calendar sharing in Office 365 visit:

Share calendars with external users

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The final option allows you to bulk control Lync federation with external contacts as shown above.

Having all the external sharing option in one location for administrators will make life so much easier. Previously having to dig through separate SharePoint sites to manage and control external users and sharing was pain. Having a location for not only all external users but also the ability to centrally manage access will be heaven.

However, by far and away the greatest addition is the ability to now easily share calendars with anyone on the Internet via a public URL is HUGE and now provides parity with many other web based services. Hopefully, that ability will also be available via Outlook if it isn’t already.

I’ll dig more into the public calendaring ability and write that up in another blog post soon.

These changes are GREAT news for Office 365 administrators and provide the functionality many have be asking for. Again, well done Microsoft on bringing these features to the product. All I can say is roll on Office 365.