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How to Securely Share Files in Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive offers file sharing and synchronized cloud storage between devices. As a secure cloud alternative to traditional file storage, OneDrive users not only free up storage space on their machines, but collaboration on project files is more convenient - and secure - than ever.

What is OneDrive?

OneDrive is an application made for file sharing between users, and synchronizes between your device and the cloud. Its file sharing functionality enables collaboration on shared files, and its synchronized cloud storage both securely backs up your files and enables you to free up disk space on your machine.

How to Access OneDrive

If your computer is on Windows 10 or you’ve installed Office 2016, then OneDrive for Business is already on your computer! If this is the case, you can go to the search bar in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen and search “OneDrive” to open it for the first time and log in.

If not, copy/paste the link below into your web browser and click on the file that downloads automatically to install OneDrive. After that, follow the instruction above to open the application: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?linkid=844652

How to Sync your Personal OneDrive Folder

Upon opening OneDrive for the first time, it will ask you to sign in. After signing in, opening OneDrive will take you to your synchronized user folder, as shown below:

This is your synchronized OneDrive folder! For easy access, you can pin it to the quick access tab on the left as shown below:

How to Sync your Organization’s Files

If your organization uses Sharepoint, then you can use OneDrive to sync your organization’s files with your desktop for easier access. Log into SharePoint and use the ‘sync’ options for each folder that you’d like to access on your desktop:

This will create separate folders in your file explorer where you can access and modify these files:

How to Share Files/Folders in OneDrive

To share files/folders from your desktop, begin by right-clicking on the item and select “Share” as shown below:

Click on the first box in the window below to configure your sharing settings:

To share files with external users, select “Specific people.” If the recipient(s) do not need to edit the file, then un-check the “Allow editing box” shown below. Assigning the lowest possible level of access limits the damage of any potential unauthorized access.

  • NOTE: each link created can only be assigned one level of permissions (allow or disallow editing). To assign multiple users different permissions, multiple links will have to be created/shared.

Some organizations allow setting expiration dates, passwords, and blocking downloads. If possible, use all 3:

  • The expiration date will prevent user error in revoking access after sharing.
  • Passwords provide an extra layer of security (but only if shared separately from the link).
  • Blocking downloads ensures that the file is not shared with additional users.

To share the file/folder, the “Send” button below will create an email directly from Microsoft with the link to your indicated recipients, while copying the link will allow you to send it any way you prefer.

How to Revoke/Change Access

Once the external user no longer needs access to the shared file, revoke their access by right-clicking on the file/folder and selecting “Share” again. This time, select the three dots in the upper righthand corner and click on “Manage Access.”

This window contains the links that have been shared for this file/folder. To revoke a user’s access to a link, click on the dropdown arrow next to their name, then the ‘X.’

If the link itself is no longer needed, access should be revoked to prevent unauthorized use. To do so, select the three dots next to the link, then select the ‘X’ icon next to the link.

Access levels for each link can also be modified from this “Manage Access” window, with the dropdown.

If you have any questions about OneDrive or your organizations existing technology solutions, we're happy to help at 614-212-1111 or [email protected], download the free how-to PDF or our how-to video for a detailed step by step for sharing secure files within OneDrive.

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