Now that you have all of your documents under SharePoint, it is time to share them. If you are still confused about the different sharing options, this article – “Sharing Links in SharePoint Online” will walk you through some of the more important concepts.
You have four main options when it comes to sharing artifacts stored in SharePoint Online:
If you are working with an external party and want to provide them access to certain documents, the important point is to define whether you want the recipients to be able to re-share/forward the document to which you are providing them access.
If you don’t mind them being able to forward or don’t want them to go through an authentication process, then you would create an anonymous link. However, if you need them to authenticate and verify their respective identities, you should use the “Specific People” option to create guest user access.
For IT pros, providing guest users access to SharePoint Online allows you to keep track of access via auditing and reports.
From the end users’s perspective, you are limited by your company’s sharing policies, which could go as far as preventing sharing to specific domains. Policies can also determine the lifespan of sharing links; links can be set for specific durations and will automatically expire after the decided date. Once again, this is controlled by your SharePoint administrator panel. By default, shared links expire after 30 days but they can be set to an unlimited number of days.
It is important to note that files/folders are the only artifacts that will permit anonymous links. If you planned to share an entire site or document library, you will need to provide a valid recipient email address so that Microsoft Office 365 can deliver the access link.
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