Ever been nervous emailing a confidential document or when sharing a file online? This month, Office 365 released a new service to provide one-time access for specific recipients to access files stored on OneDrive for Business. Thinking back to when I’ve sent a one-off tax statement to my accountant on a public email service, this feature is arriving just in time.
Here's the gist of how it works... the file’s owner can specifically invite an outside party to view their file. The recipient can be using any email address and needn’t have a Microsoft account. The outside party receives two emails, one with the link, and a second with a one-time verification code. The recipient has 15 minutes to click the link, type in the code, and view the file. After that, the code times out and access is revoked.
Try it out by following the steps below.
- On any file in OneDrive for Business, select ‘File’ then ‘Share.’
- Click the drop-down and you'll see the settings for sharing the file which include a new option called 'Specific People' (at right).
- Optionally, uncheck the allow editing box if you want the file to be read only, then hit ‘Apply.’
- Next enter the email address to the person you're sending the link to, add an optional message as usual, and hit ‘Send.’
- The recipient will get a link to the file in one email and a second email (below) with an account code that they need to copy and paste to access the file. Since that code only works for 15 minutes, it severely reduces the amount of time that the file is in the open. Another code can be requested by the recipient if they miss the 15-minute window.
This additional layer of secure file sharing capabilities came along with Office 365’s January 2018 updates. It’s the best way yet to ensure that only the appropriate user can see the shared document.