Collaborating with people outside your organization

The external sharing capabilities in Microsoft 365 provide an opportunity for people in your organization to collaborate with partners, vendors, customers, and others who don't have an account in your directory. You can share entire teams or sites with people outside your organization, or just individual files.

Collaborating with people outside your organization consists of two major components:

  • Enable sharing - Configure the sharing controls across Azure Active Directory, Teams, Microsoft 365 Groups, and SharePoint to allow the level of sharing that you want for your organization.
  • Enable additional security - While the basic sharing features can be configured to require people outside your organization to authenticate, Microsoft 365 provides many additional security and compliance features to help you protect your data and maintain your governance policies while sharing externally.

Read Set up secure collaboration with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams to learn how external sharing ties in with the overall Microsoft 365 collaboration guidance.

Enable sharing

By default, in Microsoft 365, sharing with people outside your organization is enabled. Many external sharing scenarios work without further configuration. To confirm the settings for a scenario that you're using, or enable a new one, choose from the following options:

  • Collaborate on documents - Learn how to configure Microsoft 365 to allow sharing and collaboration with people outside your organization (both guests and unauthenticated users) on files and folders.
  • Collaborate in a site - Learn how to configure Microsoft 365 to enable sharing SharePoint sites with guests.
  • Collaborate as a team - Learn how to configure Microsoft 365 to enable guest collaboration in Teams.

For a comprehensive look at the guest sharing settings available across Microsoft 365, see Microsoft 365 guest sharing settings reference.

Enable additional security

Once you've enabled the scenario that you want to use for sharing with people outside your organization, consider additional safeguards to help protect your content from accidental or intentional inappropriate sharing.

Collaborate with partner companies

When you're working on a large project that involves many guests from another organization, or if you have an ongoing vendor relationship in which guests are often changing, you can use entitlement management in Azure Active Directory to simplify guest management and allow the partner company to share in that responsibility. See Create a B2B extranet with managed guests for details.

Limit sharing

If some of the sharing features in Microsoft 365 conflict with your governance policies, see Limit sharing in Microsoft 365 to learn about options for limiting sharing.

Intro to file collaboration in Microsoft 365

Plan file collaboration in SharePoint with Microsoft 365