CSD introduces external sharing in OneDrive for Business

Students and Staff can now share their documents with external collaborators via Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business.

In 2019, Computing Services (CSD) launched a host of Office 365 products for the University, including OneDrive for Business, a central file repository that allows you to work on a document from any device in any location.

Up until recently, University OneDrive for Business accounts allowed file sharing and document collaboration with University members only.

However, CSD has now enhanced this offering by enabling external sharing on this platform.

What is external sharing?

External sharing allows you to share a file with a named person by inviting them via their email address to either view or edit your file. This person need not be a University member; all you need is their email address.

This functionality enhances collaborative work undertaken by staff and students with external bodies such as research facilities, partners in industry and the private sector, to name a few.

Remember: You still have the control to grant, manage and remove permissions to your data in OneDrive and Office 365. You still need to follow your subject specific research policy and rules on data storage and sharing. Research Data Management and Ethics guidance takes precedence when it comes to data storage.

How do I share my files with external collaborators?

The process is not very different from how one currently shares documents within OneDrive for Business. The major difference is now you have more options when choosing your collaborators. Here’s an easy how-to guide to assist.

It’s important to remember that this new functionality does not allow you to make a document available to anyone who has the link – you must specify who you want to give access to. It’s also good practice to follow the principle of “Share, don’t Send” – you always have the option to share a link to view and edit a document rather than attaching it in an email.

How can I keep track of who has access to my files and folders?

Notifications are enabled that will alert you when the following happens:

  • Another user invites external users to shared files
  • An external user accepts an invitation to access their files

Additionally, when reviewing your files in OneDrive for Business, you will see the farthest column on the right-hand side shows which folders and files are shared and which are private. Clicking on this notification will reveal who has access to your file.

Responsible sharing

CSD offers a wealth of advice on information security, and one of their top tips is to save your files to University supported IT storage, which includes OneDrive for Business. Always keep in mind how your files are created, stored, shared and disposed of. If you’re unsure of the appropriate security measures needed for your work, consult the Information Protection Guide for assistance.

I need help…

CSD wants all University students to take full advantage of this collaborative technology. Visit the CSD self-service portal where you can browse our knowledge articles or request support. LinkedIn Learning, which is freely available to all University members, offers training material to help you get the most out of all the apps in the Office 365 suite.