Have you ever needed to share and collaborate with business partners outside of your company? We commonly see organizations using traditional methods of exchanging information using e-mail or consumer-grade repositories like Dropbox to send large files. These systems work, however, this is not the ideal way to collaborate and communicate. The most efficient and secure way to work with external partners is by establishing an extranet site. It's quick and easy to create an extranet site using SharePoint Online.
An extranet site is a secure site, where both internal users and partner users (external contributors) can have shared access to content. The content is kept in one place and can be accessed anywhere using any device.
In Office 365, it's simple to grant access to users and invite partner users to the site. You are able to see if users have accepted the invitation and you can monitor their activity. This includes being able to see what documents were viewed or edited.
Office 365 Extranets: Easier to Set Up than an On-Prem Extranet
In the past, setting up an extranet site in an on-premise environment was time-consuming. It required complex configuration to establish security measures and governance. Most notably, IT would have to grant access inside the corporate firewall. So frankly, IT teams didn't like doing it.
In Office 365, provisioning an extranet is easy. You don't need additional hardware and it's not going to tie up a bunch of resources. Users have the ability to connect directly to a members-only site in SharePoint Online and user partners don't have access to the on-premises environment or any other SharePoint Online sites.
Better control and simple set-up make an Office 365 extranet a practical and more secure solution for collaboration.
Office 365 extranets deliver a highly secure sharing experience with the IT governance and policies that are important to the IT department. IT can control permissions and restrict users from inviting other users to the site. In addition, partner users can be limited to a single site and they will be unable to search or view content that is outside of their site.
Another IT benefit is the ability to track usage. In Office 365, IT can see who is inviting whom and when an external user logs in to access the content.
Extranets allow for collaboration with partner users as if they were part of your organization. An Office 365 extranet allows users to leverage instant messaging features and provides the ability to make Skype calls.
Version control and the ability to co-author documents also are key features of an extranet built-in SharePoint Online. An extranet built-in Office 365 has the ability to improve how users and partner users communicate.
Branding and User Experience
Usability and look and feel are important considerations when building an extranet. The Kiefer team has deep-expertise in building extranets that deliver a quality user experience and an information architecture that meets the needs of all users.
Download the Free Infographic
Be sure to download the free infographic that outlines the benefits of an extranet. If you need support and advice on how to build an extranet, contact the Kiefer team. We can help.