How to Use Office 365 Security Groups in SharePoint Online

How to Use Office 365 Security Groups in SharePoint Online

The need to securely share documents, calendars and other items within an organization is increasingly important in today’s business environment. The Office 365 suite of products provides a number of ways to securely share information, including the use of security groups.

Security groups are a vital part of any Office 365 deployment. By creating and managing security groups, you can control who has access to what resources in your environment. They are a collection of users with identical levels of access to a given resource.

Here we will show you how to use Office 365 security groups in SharePoint Online.

Office 365 Security Groups and SharePoint Online

There are two types of security groups in Office 365:

Office 365 groups

These are created automatically when you create a new team in Microsoft Teams, or when you add members to a SharePoint Online site. You can also create Office 365 groups manually.

Security-only groups

An Office 365 group is a security group that you can use to manage access to various Office 365 resources, such as SharePoint Online sites, Exchange Online mailboxes, and OneDrive for Business libraries. You can also use Office 365 groups to manage access to non-Office 365 resources, such as file shares and application workloads. Security-only groups cannot be used to manage access to non-Office 365 resources.

When you create a security group in Office 365, you can add members to the group from any of the following locations:

  • The global address list (GAL)
  • A distribution group
  • Another security group
  • SharePoint Online

Adding an Office 365 Group as a Member to SharePoint

When you add members to an Office 365 group or a security-only group from SharePoint Online, the members are added as users, not as contacts. You can use Office 365 groups to manage access to SharePoint Online sites in two ways:

  • By adding the Office 365 group as a member of the SharePoint Online site.
  • By adding the Office 365 group as a reader or contributor to the SharePoint Online site.

To add an Office 365 group as a member of a SharePoint Online site, you must be a member of the SharePoint Online site.

  • Navigate to the SharePoint Online site where you want to add the Office 365 group.
  • Click on Site Actions, and then click Edit in Browser.
  • In the left navigation panel, click People and Groups.
  • On the People and Groups page, click New and then click Office 365 Group.
  • In the Add Office 365 Group dialog box, enter the name of the Office 365 group that you want to add as a member/reader or contributor of the SharePoint Online site. You can also select specific permissions.
  • Click Save.

Specific Tools and Features

In SharePoint Online, you can use a number of tools and features to manage security groups. These include:

The Security Groups Tool

You can use the Security Groups tool to manage security groups in your environment. The tool is located in the Office 365 admin center. In the left navigation panel, click on More Features. Under the Users and Permissions section, click on Security Groups. On the Security Groups page, you can view a list of all security groups in your environment. You can also create new groups, edit existing groups, and delete groups.

The Group Settings Page

The Group Settings page is where you can manage the settings for an Office 365 group. To access the Group Settings page, login to the admin center and then click on Admin Centers > SharePoint. On the Group Settings page, you can manage the following settings for an Office 365 group:

  • Group name
  • Group description
  • Group owner
  • Membership approval
  • Who can view members?
  • Who can view this group’s membership?

The Grant Permissions Dialog Box

The Grant Permissions dialog box is used to grant permissions to an Office 365 group. Here you can select the permissions that you want to grant to the Office 365 group. You can also select whether or not you want to allow members of the group to have access to sites and content that they do not have permission to.

Benefits of Using Office 365 Security Groups in SharePoint Online

Improved security

By using Office 365 security groups, you can more easily control who has access to your SharePoint Online sites. This can help to improve the security of your environment.

Easier administration

Using Office 365 security groups can simplify the administration of your SharePoint Online environment. You can more easily add and remove users from groups, and you can more easily control what permissions each group has.

Greater flexibility

With Office 365 security groups, you have greater flexibility in how you manage access to your SharePoint Online sites. You can add and remove users from groups as needed, and you can grant different levels of permission to different groups.

Improved collaboration

Office 365 security groups can improve collaboration by allowing you to more easily control who has access to your SharePoint Online sites. This can allow users to work together more effectively and can help to reduce the risk of data leaks.

Tips and Best Practices

Add users to groups judiciously

When adding users to groups, be sure to add only those users who need access to the resources that the group provides. Adding too many users to a group can result in decreased security and increased administration overhead.

Remove users from groups when they no longer need access

When a user no longer needs access to the resources provided by a group, be sure to remove them from the group. This will help to keep your environment secure and will reduce the amount of administration required.

Use different groups for different purposes

When creating groups, be sure to create a group for each distinct purpose. For example, you may want to create a group for all users who need access to a particular site, and another group for all users who need access to a particular document library. This will help to keep your environment organized.

Final Thoughts

Using Office 365 security groups in SharePoint Online can improve security, simplify administration, and improve collaboration. When used correctly, they can be a powerful tool for managing access to your SharePoint Online environment. It’s important to remember that, like any tool, they should be used carefully and thoughtfully to ensure that you are getting the most out of them.

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