Office 365 Groups: Default Sharing Settings Relaxed

Office365GroupsWhen Office 365 Groups first shipped sharing with External Users was disabled.  Over time that default policy was changed to allow sharing with External Users who were already in your Azure AD.  In other words you could share with External Users IF you had already shared something else in your environment with that External User.  Based on user feedback this default sharing policy is being further relaxed to allow sharing with any Authenticated External User.  Anonymous Guest links will still not be allowed.

This change will apply to all Office Group sites that are created in the future, but will not apply to existing Office Group sites.  To apply the new default to existing Office Group sites use the following PowerShell:

Set-SPOSite -Identity `
     -SharingCapability ExternalUserSharingOnly

You can also revert new Office Group sites back to the more restrictive setting using the following PowerShell:

Set-SPOSite -Identity `
     -SharingCapability ExistingExternalUserSharingOnly

This change will loosen the security settings in Office 365 somewhat, but should also make the experience more predictable since it matches the setting in most other sites that allow External Sharing.  So as long as you are aware of the change it should be a good move.

SharePoint Fest – Denver Wrap-up, Slides, and Demos

My wife and I really enjoyed our visit to Denver last week.  The conference attendees were great and asked a lot of good questions at both of my sessions.  It was a pleasure to feel that I was sharing information that people really wanted to learn about.  It was even more exciting because this was my first chance to present under the logo of my own company.  As you’ve probably seen on my web site I’ve left Blue Chip Consulting and launched my own one man firm under then name Don’t Pa..Panic Consulting.  The Denver conference was just two weeks after deciding to go independent.  So everything looked bright and shiny and new, to go with my new business cards.

The one thing that didn’t go well were the demos in my DLP talk.  Despite checking them the night before, the SharePoint sites I was using for demos refused to load during my talk.  I also tried demoing creating a new custom DLP policy and although that worked perfectly at 6:30 AM, when trying it for my talk PowerShell threw an error saying it couldn’t find the Exchange endpoint on the server.  So I promised to spend some time this week recording the demos and making them available here.  Note: I’m still working on the recordings, but they will be up soon.

I also promised to make my slides available, so I’ve uploaded them here.  They are also available on the SharePoint Fest Denver site for attendees.  If you have any follow-up questions please email me at  You can download a copy of the slides from each talk using the links below:

ECM 104 – OneDrive for Business: How to manage Sharing and Syncing with the Next Gen client

ECM 203 – Protecting your Content: Demystifying Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint

DLP Demos

Demo1: Creating Compliance Policy & eDiscovery Centers

More Soon !

What’s in a Name?

HitchhikersGuideI’ve been using the Don’t Pa..Panic brand for my individual work for almost 20 years now. The common reaction I get to the name is the question; “Oh, are you a Douglas Adams fan too?” I do happen to be a fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (For those of you who don’t get the analogy all I can say is “Read the Book”).  But that’s not where the name comes from.

Actually, it all starts back in the 70’s when I met my wife.  In those days we were idealistic college students who believed firmly in the “Women’s Liberation” movement. So when we got married at the end of college we naturally decided to preserve her family name as a married couple.  So I ended up with a new middle name that is pronounced “Pah-Paa-Neck”.  My wife had already coined the name of the company as a slogan when she ran for an elected position as a freshman. She says her prior use of the name gives her the copyright, but she lets me use it as long as I make her a Vice President in the company.  But that’s OK.  She’s been an incredible partner for over 40 years of marriage so being a VP is a minor concession.

But in addition to being a play on words the name actually means something.  The goal of my consulting company is to help bring sense and order to an otherwise chaotic business climate.  The pace of change keeps accelerating and sometimes its hard for business leaders to know where to go next.  The goal of Don’t Pa..Panic Consulting is to help provide a roadmap to implementing collaboration systems that will transform your company, and to do it all with a level head and a minimum of Panic.

So hang in there, don’t panic, and give me a call.

SharePoint Fest – DC Wrap-up and Slides

SPFDC17PortalBadgev2I continue to feel honored that SharePoint Fest invites me to present at their conferences.  The most recent even was in DC a couple weeks ago.  The attendees were great and both of my talks were well received. As always I really enjoyed the conference and the discussions I had with attendees and the other presenters. This is one of the few times each year that I get to see a lot of my friends who live all over the world.  The next conference is in Denver in June.  I hope to see you there.

I had lots of attendees at both sessions who asked for the slides so I’ve uploaded them here.  They are also available on the SharePoint Fest DC site.  If you have any follow-up questions please email me at  You can download a copy of the slides from each talk using the links below:

BV 202 – SharePoint 2016: What’s New and Why should I Upgrade?

ECM 104 – Protecting your Content: Demystifying Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint 2016

When Implementing SharePoint: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail – Pt.2

plan-to-fail1Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
I’ve seen this scenario – the failure to plan – play out at many companies, especially when implementing or upgrading SharePoint environments.
Implementing or upgrading a product like SharePoint, that is designed to empower information workers to do things for themselves, requires detailed planning.
Because empowerment​ does not come from a “one size fits all” product or solution.
SharePoint can be used to tailor a solution and deliver business value to an organizations’ technical environment. But that kind of tailoring requires careful planning. Otherwise, an organization will end up with a product that is implemented well, but does not fulfill the strategic goals they’ve set for the business.
In my first post of this series, we evaluated the reasons why organizations do not spend enough time planning before implementing SharePoint. (Read part 1)  In part two of this series, we’ll identify at some of the planning tasks that are overlooked when planning a new SharePoint implementation.


Governance helps you determine how SharePoint will be used to make your organization better. There must be a shared vision and the appropriate controls in place to make that happen.


  1. Develop a shared strategic vision ​
  2. ​​Reach a consensus on how SharePoint will be used

Key Questions

  • Is our corporate culture comfortable with a self-service model?
  • What will we control using Policies versus customization of SharePoint?
  • What business needs will SharePoint address?
  • How will policy decisions be communicated, updated, and enforced?


How SharePoint security is implemented must be done in accordance with corporate culture. If not, content won’t be available to the people that need it or won’t it be secured.


  1. Decide whether or not security administration will be centralized or delegated

​​Key Questions

  • Do business users just manage the content or actually own the content they produce?
  • ​Which is more important: timely access to content or guaranteed security?
  • Will training be provided for users who need to manage their own content?


If information architecture isn’t planned, content will go in, but it won’t be efficiently used after it is first stored. A good organizational methodology is critical to your success.


  1. Plan how content will be organized in order to make it easy to find

Key Question​

  • How will we implement a structure for organizing content?
  • How can users surface content that is important to them?


Upfront planning will result in a physical system that maximizes performance while minimizing costs. It must also be flexible and grow as usage increases.


  1. A​chieve a balance between cost and performance

Key Questions

  • What services will we use and where will they be located?
  • How important is search in our environment?

High Availability (“HA”)/Disaster Recovery (“DR”)

In most organizations, SharePoint becomes a mission critical application when it is implemented well. A service that can’t be depended upon can be worse than one that is poorly implemented.


  1. Build an environment that can be depended upon as a critical application.

Key Questions

  • How much downtime can we tolerate?
  • How much data can we afford to lose?
  • How much will HA and DR cost?


SharePoint focuses on providing a self-service environment. But, having the right staff in place to maintain the system is still a critical factor to your success.


  1. Plan adequate staffing to support implementation of the other planning decisions.

Key Questions

  • Centralized security will require more staff for versus delegated security
  • How will our information architecture be maintained and enhanced over time?
  • What level of patches and fixes will be applied? All Cumulative Updates or just Service Packs?


Even if you build the perfect system, people won’t be able to effectively use it without the appropriate training. You must develop a communications and training plan.


  1. Increase user adoption and satisfaction

Key Questions

  • Develop and leverage local champions to increase knowledge and acceptance.
  • What is the right level of training and communications for your organization?

Spending some time planning will lead to a successful implementation that can transform the way your company collaborates and shares information. And that’s what you started your project for in the first place, right?