SharePoint Sites For External Users


Hi I'm trying to come up with the best method of sharing data with our clients.  I did think about having individual document libraries for each client and trying to set up different permission groups so that Client A didn't see Client B's document library and so on.


Then I wondered whether it would be best to have an "External" Site Collection, with subsites for each client that we want to share documents with.  I figured this would be easier to manage permissions and perhaps stop users being added to the wrong group and inadvertently seeing another clients documents.  


Ideally, I'd like to just be able to go to a document library, and share it with the relevant people but that doesn't seem to be possible.


I imagine that other people have implemented this so I would love to hear the approach they've taken.  


Thanks in advance...



7 Replies
Well, if you ask my opinion about best approach here I would say that you have to choose between two approaches:
(1) Create a subsite for each client under a kind of Extranet site collection
(2) Create a complete site collection for each client you have

Microsoft is pushing nowadays the pattern to create site collections when designing and building solutions on top of SPO
"Ideally, I'd like to just be able to go to a document library, and share it with the relevant people but that doesn't seem to be possible."

What's keeping you from doing that method? Cause I mean technically you could have a folder for each client, and you share the folder with them.

Create separate external site collection for each company, Create security groups with company name and external in the name of the group, make sure external sites collections are separate from internal by adding different theming.



If you have project sites where data needs to be shared with external users Microsoft Teams can be a good platform to use.




best response confirmed by John Condron (Contributor)

For my customers, I usually create a Group for each of their clients.

In this way, apart from the site collection (with its team site and document library), you also have automatically a conversation space, a calendar and a notebook, which could be very useful.

Subsequently, you can add Planner and Teams, if needed.

This is the trend today...

Hi Salvatore, I've just put together the same set up after some playing around. I think you're right about all of the additional things being useful. Thanks to all for their suggestions!

Don't mix clients in the same site collection/office group, this can quickly lead to embarassing/legal problems. 

SPO has the Site Policies which allow you close down projects/sites, these can easily be leveraged with client specific site collections.

If you have projects with many firms involved, then you can have separate document libraries as needed to separate the sensitive content, but this will get tricky if you are using Office Groups. You may want to create a permissions matrix to make sure it gets implemented to meet your requirements

I always go separate site collection/group per client just cleaner from a security perspective. Sure you can plop them all into one, but the risk of potential access issues is just higher if all lumped into one.