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Optimizing SharePoint Security

sharepoint security

A Guide to securing SharePoint

Key Takeaways
Effective group management simplifies user access control.
Exercising caution with permissions, especially with the new “Share” feature.
Adjusting external sharing settings to align with organizational security policies.
Leveraging built-in security tools like Microsoft Secure Score for continuous assessment.

In today’s digital-first business landscape, collaborative platforms like Microsoft SharePoint are not merely a convenience but a necessity. They facilitate seamless interaction, information sharing, and collective project management across geographically dispersed teams. However, the enhanced connectivity and accessibility come with a set of security challenges. The vast amount of sensitive data handled and shared on SharePoint makes it a potential target for unauthorized access and data breaches.

Microsoft has continually evolved SharePoint to incorporate robust security features, aiming to create a secure and reliable collaborative environment. Despite these advancements, the onus is on organizations to implement and adhere to security best practices to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their data.

The Significance of Group Management

Effective user and access management form the bedrock of a secure SharePoint environment. One of the fundamental aspects of this is understanding and leveraging the capabilities of Active Directory groups and SharePoint groups.

  • Active Directory Groups:
    • They provide a centralized mechanism for managing users and their access rights across various services within an organization.
    • Facilitates easier control and auditing of user permissions, thus enhancing security posture.
  • SharePoint Groups:
    • These are specific to SharePoint sites, allowing for precise control over who has access to what within a particular site.
    • They provide a simplified mechanism for managing user permissions at the site level, thus reducing the administrative burden​1​.

Incorporating security groups into SharePoint groups is a recommended best practice. It not only streamlines the management of user access but also provides a structured approach to managing permissions, which in turn enhances the overall security posture.

  • Key Advantages:
    1. Streamlined User Access Management: By organizing users into specific groups, administrators can easily manage permissions, thus reducing the likelihood of unauthorized access.
    2. Reduced Administrative Overhead: With a structured approach to user management, administrative tasks become less cumbersome and time-consuming.
    3. Enhanced Security Posture: Effective group management minimizes the attack surface by ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive resources.
Cloud Storage Manager Charts Tab
Cloud Storage Manager Charts Tab

Delving Into Permission Control

SharePoint’s permission system is robust, providing granular control over who can access what. However, this complexity can be a double-edged sword if not managed correctly. The introduction of the “Share” permission feature in SharePoint Online adds another layer to this complexity, demanding a well-thought-out approach to permission management.

Understanding the “Share” Permission Feature

The “Share” permission feature is a significant addition to SharePoint Online, allowing users to share content easily with others. However, this ease of sharing can lead to potential security risks if not managed correctly.

  • Security Implications:
    • Unrestricted sharing can lead to unauthorized access, especially if sensitive information is shared inadvertently​1​.
    • The ability to share content outside the organization can potentially lead to data leakage if not monitored and controlled.

Avoiding Over-Permissioning

Granting excessive permissions is a common mistake that can have serious security implications.

  • Best Practices:
    • Assign permissions based on the principle of least privilege, ensuring individuals have just enough access to perform their tasks.
    • Regular reviews and audits of permissions to ensure they remain accurate and up-to-date​2​.
Key Takeaways
Understanding and managing permissions effectively curtail security risks.
Regular audits of permissions ensure that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive resources.

External Sharing and Its Governance

External sharing is a powerful feature in SharePoint, enabling collaboration with individuals outside the organization. However, it’s crucial to have governance policies in place to control and monitor external sharing.

Taming External Sharing Settings

The default settings in SharePoint are geared towards ease of sharing, which might not align with an organization’s security policies.

  • Recommended Settings:
    • Disable external sharing for sites that host sensitive information.
    • Use domain whitelisting to control which external domains users can share content with​3​.
Cloud Storage Manager Overview Tab
Cloud Storage Manager Overview Tab

Harnessing Built-in Security Tools

Microsoft provides a plethora of built-in tools to help organizations bolster their SharePoint security. One such tool is the Microsoft Secure Score, which provides actionable recommendations to improve security.

Navigating Microsoft Secure Score

Microsoft Secure Score is a dynamic tool that assesses your organization’s security posture based on your configurations and behaviors.

  • Key Features:
    • Provides a security score that reflects the current security posture.
    • Offers recommendations to enhance security based on identified gaps​1​.

Other Security Tools

Mention other built-in security tools and features in SharePoint that aid in monitoring and enhancing the security posture.

Reflecting on Smikar’s Insights

Your blog post on SharePoint best practices provides a wealth of information on optimizing SharePoint for better security and user experience. Reflecting on these insights can offer readers a well-rounded understanding of SharePoint security best practices.

  • Microsoft SharePoint Best Practices:
    • Brief overview of the key takeaways from Smikar’s post on enhancing SharePoint’s user experience and document management efficiency​2​.
Key Takeaways
Employing best practices in SharePoint fosters a secure and efficient collaborative environment.
Utilizing built-in tools and adhering to recommended settings significantly boosts SharePoint security.


Security in SharePoint is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a well-thought-out strategy and adherence to best practices. The practices discussed in this article, combined with insights from Smikar, provide a roadmap to optimizing SharePoint security, thus fostering a secure and efficient collaborative environment.

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