Top 7 Practices for Secure Guest Sharing in Microsoft 365


The business world is one big community. For an organization to thrive, it must be connected in a network with others. Having said that, you also have to collaborate with groups and individuals outside of your own organization at some point.

While email has been our primary tool for years, productive collaboration with external parties such as vendors, customers, and partners has been enhanced through platforms such as SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams.

But it can give you a bad feeling to let external users into your own environment. What if they have malicious intentions and end up gaining access to your highly sensitive files?

Luckily, with Microsoft 365 services, you can configure your environment to control the actions, identities, and access permissions of your guests, allowing you to better manage the guests in your tenant.

Today, we’re sharing the seven top most steps to make guest sharing in Microsoft 365 more secure:

  1. Set up multi-factor authentication

Knowing your guests’ identities is crucial if you want to ensure the right people have access to the right information. However, identities can be stolen. Establishing a second factor of authentication for your guests not only reduces the likelihood of compromised accounts but also prevents unauthorized persons from gaining access to your files and sites in the event a guest account is compromised.

  1. Manage guest access reviews

A common problem with external sharing is when to remove a guest once the project term has ended.

Guest access reviews can help you get a regular view of user access to different teams and groups. This way you can be sure that guests won’t be able to access your files and sites any longer than necessary.

To make things easier, Microsoft recommends creating a dynamic group in Azure AD that contains all of your guests and then creating an access review for that group.

  1. Configure session timeouts

Another way to ensure the right person has access to your sites and files, and that your guests are the right people, is to implement regular authentication. This will make Microsoft 365 even more secure.

By configuring session timeouts for your guests, you can monitor whether the device and identity accessing your data are secure. In conjunction with multi-factor authentication, a stronger identity policy is put in place to protect your environment from unauthorized access.

  1. Set up web-only access

Microsft 365 services also make it secure by applying a policy that allows guest users to access your files and documents only through a web browser, you can reduce the risk of your data being altered without your knowledge. How to secure the authentication of files shared with people outside your organization.

Microsoft’s Azure AD Conditional Access Policy helps you achieve this.

  1. Use sensitivity labels

By setting up security labels based on your sensitive information types, you can manage content specific to your organization.

You can then establish policies on how to monitor and control these sensitivity flags using Azure AD Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Setting up DLP can prevent the risky sharing of sensitive files because it uses deep content analysis to detect sensitive items.

In addition, the use of third-party tools that can help you better protect your sensitive data by providing an overview of how it is used by users alerts you to a potential compromise and act on the data to proactively detect and respond to malicious activity.

  1. Create a managed guest environment

If your partner organization uses Azure Active Directory, you can create a managed guest environment where users can self-register with an extranet site or team and gain access through an approval workflow.

Microsoft 365 services are also made secure by creating an extranet site, you have an easier way to share collaboration resources while effectively managing user access without putting a heavy burden on your IT department.

Cloud governance can also be leveraged for this purpose if you want more secure and automated approval workflows and policy configurations.

  1. Manage “Everyone” links

Although it’s extremely advisable to change the default setting for sharing links to ” People in your organization ” or existing guests, some companies prefer the default setting of ” Everyone “. For such cases, additional settings are available to help you better manage your Everyone links and reduce the risk of unauthorized sharing:

Set expiration dates

By setting an expiration date on your  Everyone links, you can ensure that forgotten and unmonitored guests no longer have access to sensitive documents that may be subject to retention policies.

Set View Only as the default permission

Instead of the default  Edit permissions for  Everyone links, you can change the setting to  View-only permissions. This allows you to allow unauthenticated sharing while preventing unauthenticated people from modifying your organization’s content.

If you want people to edit your document, you can use the link type to grant editing permission to specific people.

Closing Thoughts

The key to creating an effective guest-sharing environment in Microsoft 365 services, is to understand that security is just as important as collaboration. As an IT leader, it’s critical that you use the tools and resources at your disposal to mitigate the risk associated with guest users without sacrificing collaboration and security.

Al Rafay Consulting is one of the most trustworthy teams of developers who have practical information in providing Microsoft 365 services to make it secure. Through a thorough understanding of Microsoft capabilities and the use of effective third-party tools such as PI and cloud governance, internal and external collaboration risks are mitigated through proactive security measures.

Also Read: A Guide To Choosing A College Admission Letter Writing Service.


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