Use information barriers with SharePoint

Information barriers are policies in Microsoft 365 that a compliance admin can configure to prevent users from communicating and collaborating with each other. This is useful if, for example, one division is handling information that shouldn't be shared with specific other divisions, or a division needs to be prevented, or isolated, from collaborating with all users outside of the division. Information barriers are often used in highly regulated industries and those with compliance requirements, such as finance, legal, and government. Learn more about information barriers.

The following image illustrates three segments in an organization: HR, Sales, and Research. An information barrier policy has been defined that blocks communication and collaboration between the Sales and Research segments. These segments are incompatible.

Example of segments in an organization

With SharePoint information barriers, a SharePoint or global admin can associate segments to a site to prevent the site from being shared with or accessed by users outside the segments. Up to 10 compatible segments can be associated with a site. The segments are associated at the site level (previously called site collection level). Segments can't be associated at the Microsoft 365 group level or subsite level.

In the above example, the HR segment is compatible with both Sales and Research. However, because the Sales and Research segments are incompatible, they can't be associated with the same site.

Prerequisites

Use PowerShell to associate segments with a site

  1. Connect to the Security & Compliance Center PowerShell as a global admin.

  2. Run the following command to get the list of segments and their GUIDs.

    Get-OrganizationSegment | ft Name, EXOSegmentID
    
  3. Save the list of segments.

    Name EXOSegmentId
    Sales a9592060-c856-4301-b60f-bf9a04990d4d
    Research 27d20a85-1c1b-4af2-bf45-a41093b5d111
    HR a17efb47-e3c9-4d85-a188-1cd59c83de32
  4. Download the latest SharePoint Online Management Shell.

    Note

    If you installed a previous version of the SharePoint Online Management Shell, go to Add or remove programs and uninstall "SharePoint Online Management Shell."
    On the Download Center page, select your language and then click the Download button. You'll be asked to choose between downloading a x64 and x86 .msi file. Download the x64 file if you're running the 64-bit version of Windows or the x86 file if you're running the 32-bit version. If you don't know, see https://support.microsoft.com/help/13443/windows-which-operating-system. After the file downloads, run it and follow the steps in the Setup Wizard.

  5. Connect to SharePoint Online as a global admin or SharePoint admin in Microsoft 365. To learn how, see Getting started with SharePoint Online Management Shell.

  6. Run the following command:

    Set-Sposite -Identity <site URL> -AddInformationSegment <segment GUID>
    

    Example: Set-SPOSite -Identity https://contoso.sharepoint.com/sites/ResearchTeamSite -AddInformationSegment 27d20a85-1c1b-4af2-bf45-a41093b5d111

An error will appear if you attempt to associate a segment that isn't compatible with the site’s existing segments.

To remove segment from a site, run the following command.

Set-Sposite -Identity <site URL> -RemoveInformationSegment <segment GUID>

Example: Set-SPOSite -Identity https://contoso.sharepoint.com/sites/ResearchTeamSite
-RemoveInformationSegment 27d20a85-1c1b-4af2-bf45-a41093b5d111

Segments associated with Microsoft Teams sites

When a team is created in Microsoft Teams, a SharePoint site is automatically created for the team's files. Within 24 hours, the segments associated with the team's members are automatically associated with the site. SharePoint admins can't change the segments associated with a site when the site is connected to a team. Learn more about information barriers in Teams

View the segments associated with a site

Run the following command in the SharePoint Online Management Shell to return the GUIDs of any segments associated with a site.

Get-SPOSite -Identity <site URL> | Select InformationSegment

Site owners can view the segments associated with a site by selecting Settings Settings icon.> Site information.

Settings icon.

Sharing sites that have segments associated

When a segment is associated with a site:

  • The option to share with "Anyone with the link" is disabled.
  • The site and its content can be shared only with users whose segment matches that of the site. For example, if a site is associated with only HR, the site can be shared with other HR users only (even though HR is compatible with both Sales and Research).
  • New users can be added to the site as site members only if their segment matches that of the site.

When a site has no segments associated:

  • The site and its contents can be shared based on the information barrier policy applied to the user. For example, if a user in HR is allowed to communicate with users in Research, the user will be able to share the site with those users.

Access to sites that have segments associated

For a user to access a SharePoint site that segments associated:

  • The user's segment must match a segment that is associated with the site.

    AND

  • The user must have access permission to the site.

Non-segment users can't access a site that is associated with segments. They will see an error.

Users will see search results from:

  • Sites that have an associated segment that matches the user's segment and the user has access permission to the site.
  • Sites that don't have associated segments if they have access to the site.

Effects of changes to user segments or information barrier policies

If a SharePoint site owner’s segment changes, the user won't be able to access the site if their segment doesn't match any of the segments associated with the site. To allow the user to access the site, a SharePoint admin must associate the user's new segment with the site.

If a compliance administrator changes an existing policy, the change may impact the compatibility of the segments associated with a site. For example, segments that were once compatible may no longer be compatible. A SharePoint admin must change the segments associated with an affected site accordingly.

Any sharing links will only work if a user's new segment or the new information barrier policy still allows the user to access the site.

Not supported

For organizations that have Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo, moving a site that has associated segments isn't supported. Remove any associated segments, move the site, and then reassociate the segments.

See also

Information barriers in OneDrive