Seeking Advice: Ensuring Long-Term Stability of Permanent External Shared Links in SharePoint

Jennifer Watkins 20 Reputation points
2024-04-30T19:09:20.54+00:00

Introduction:

Hello Microsoft Community,

I hope everyone is having a great day. First and foremost, I want to apologize for the length of this post. I understand it's a bit extensive, but I want to ensure I provide all the necessary context for the issue at hand.

I'm reaching out today because my team and I rely on SharePoint for collaboration, particularly with our clients. As part of our workflow, we create permanent external shared links within SharePoint for each of our clients. These links serve as a gateway to access folders and documents specific to the client, and they remain unchanged throughout our entire engagement with them.

While this setup has proven effective for our collaboration needs, we've encountered a concern regarding the long-term stability and reliability of these external shared links. It's crucial for us to ensure that these links remain accessible to our clients without any interruptions or issues, as they are a cornerstone of our communication and collaboration process.

I also want to mention that I am currently in the process of expanding my SharePoint skills. I have been on sabbatical for the last three years, and this new job is heavily cloud-based, which is a shift for me as I am more accustomed to working with Active Directory and on-premises domain servers. Any guidance or insights from the community would be greatly appreciated as I navigate this transition.

Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.

Error Message:

We've recently encountered the following error message when attempting to access one of our shared links:

We're sorry, but m__@xxoffice.com can't be found in the netorgft*SharePoint Directory. Please try again later, while we try to automatically fix this for you.

Technical detail-

Correlation ID: AD610DA1–3094–4000–E624–90EB525035B0

URL: HTTPS://netorgft###.sharepoint.com/:f/:s/X_____Sharepoint/abcde... (I modified this link to mask our site)

User: m__@xxoffice.com

Issue type: User not in directory

Setup of the External Shared Link:

When setting up the shared link for this specific client, we created a dedicated folder within our single SharePoint site for the client's documents. Then we followed the simple process of sharing via email from within Windows Explorer (the specific folder library is typically linked into their OneDrive). We typically give them edit permissions, but we do not add a user account for them anywhere in our SharePoint site.

Exploring Better Initiatives for Shared Folders:

I'm proactively seeking ways to improve the stability, security, and manageability of our shared folders in SharePoint, and avoid future errors or failures. This includes exploring alternative methods and best practices. I've come across information on B2B user accounts and briefly read about the potential integration of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) with SharePoint to streamline user management and authentication processes.

My goal is to help maintain solid links for our clients while mitigating potential risks and challenges associated with external sharing.

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Accepted answer
  1. Haoyan Xue_MSFT 20,431 Reputation points Microsoft Vendor
    2024-05-01T07:00:58.1266667+00:00

    Hi @Jennifer Watkins ,

    It seems this is not a common issue per my test. However, we can work together to narrow down and resolve the situation. So, Please kindly provide more information below to let us work further.

    1.SharePoint mentions an automatic fix attempt. Wait for some time and try accessing the link again. If the issue persists, proceed with manual troubleshooting.

    2.Verify that the user account “m__@xxoffice.com” exists in your SharePoint environment(m365 admin center). When internal users share internal contents with external users, such as documents from the SharePoint libraries, Office 365 will automatically create accounts for these external users like :yourMicrosoftaccount#EXT#@yourdomain.com.

    User's image

    3.Check the permissions for the shared link. Ensure that the user “m__@xxoffice.com” has appropriate permissions to access the shared content. Permissions can be set at the site, library, or folder level.

    4.Check if there are any issues with the user’s account (e.g., account status, password expiration).

    5.The correlation ID (AD610DA1–3094–4000–E624–90EB525035B0) is a unique identifier for the error. You can use this ID to search SharePoint logs. But this requires higher privileges, I suggest you can create a new service request in M365 admin center as an admin, and more professional will help you.(Microsoft 365 admin center ->> Support ->> Help & support)

    Hope the information can help you. And if there have any unclear or misunderstanding, please feel free to post back and we’ll continue to help you all the time!


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  1. Shubhansh Singh 10 Reputation points
    2024-05-01T09:34:44.83+00:00

    Hi Jennifer,

    I am an independent enthusiast.

    It is wonderful to see that you have taken the path towards data protection and confidentiality.

    I totally appreciate your initiatives on this journey!

    My suggestion is lesser on technical hurdle and more focused on fundamental approach.

    I am posting this to give you a broader picture in the direction of Data Protection.

    You can use service like Information Barrier which allows you to set boundaries carefully to your data internally and externally. This could require add-on licensing but it's worth a try.

    Please do proper planning before implementation and do progressive-staged implementation.

    Once you are done with it you will get the idea of the reference architecture for your organization in terms of data flow,

    but plus point to it is that, you will have a Strong SOP in hand which backs data protection and confidentiality. It's a highly recommended service for Finance, Medical & Legal industries.

    Reference: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/purview/information-barriers-sharepoint?bc=%2FSharePoint%2Ftoc.json&toc=%2FSharePoint%2Ftoc.json

    I wish you the very best!!! on the journey of security.

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