Extranet for Partners with Office 365

Huomautus: Office 365 SharePoint Hybrid Extranet Site feature is currently a First Release feature.

Using Office 365 as an Extranet solution

What is a SharePoint Extranet? An extranet site in SharePoint is a site that organizations create to let external users have access to relevant content and to collaborate with them. Extranet sites allow a way for partners to securely do business with your organization. The content for your partner is kept in one place and they have only the content and access they need. They don’t need to email the documents back and forth or use some tools that are not sanctioned by IT.

Traditionally, deploying a SharePoint on-premises extranet site involves complex configuration to establish security measures and governance, including granting access inside the corporate firewall, and expensive initial and on-going cost.

But with O365 SharePoint Hybrid extranet, partners connect directly to a members-only site in Office 365, without access to the corporate on-premises environment or any other Office 365 site. Office 365 Extranet sites can be accessed anywhere.

Following diagram depicts Contoso Ltd, a company whose core of their business is collaboration with partners and vendors.

Office 365:n ekstranet-esimerkki

Business to Business collaboration

Some example of industry verticals where business-to-business (B2B) collaboration is key to their business success include:

  • Automobile

  • Rakennusala

  • Retail

  • Energia-ala

Why use Office 365 for Partner facing Extranet sites?

Grow.     As your business grows, so does the number of partners you collaborate with. Office 365 gives you the flexibility to expand your number of extranet sites and the contents within a site.

Realize your value quickly.    Time to value for standing up an extranet site is short.

Lower costs.    It helps lower costs for initial investment and on-going maintenance in comparison to typical on-premises deployment.

Secure sharing.    It provides a secure sharing experience with the IT governance and policies that you require.

Reporting.    It provides reporting and auditing of which external user accesses what in your organization tenant.

Security.    Office 365 SharePoint Hybrid Extranet offers secure collaboration with partners with enriched IT control. For example,

  • To ensure partners facing sites are protected from accidental sharing, tenant administrators and/or site owners can enable site-owners only sharing capability and prevent site users from bringing new users to that site.

  • External partner users don’t have access to any other site and they cannot search for or view any content or users outside of their site. They are restricted to their site only.

  • Restrict the partner users to accept the invitations only with the email address to which the invitation is sent to. External partner users to use their corporate Office 365 Organization Account or Microsoft account to access a site that was created solely for them.

Time-to-value and Cost savings.   Office 365 SharePoint Hybrid extranet offers great and short time to value. It eliminates the need for creating a costly on-premises extranet sites as no additional hardware is required and it greatly reduces the resource and labor costs. Your IT department can focus on more important tasks than creating and maintaining extranet infrastructure.

Governance and Auditing   . One of the key IT benefits is to be able to audit and see who is inviting whom, when does an external user logs in to access the content, etc., O365 SharePoint Online offers visibility into the access of your content by external partner users.

Compare Office 365 Hybrid Extranet with a traditional SharePoint On-premises Extranet

Office 365 Hybrid Extranet   

SharePoint "on-premises" Extranet   

Firewall access required to external users



Complex network and infrastructure configuration required



Security hardening

Managed through Office 365 configurations

Manually configured by IT staff

IT Labor intensive



Ongoing maintenance needed



Additional hardware needed



Managing external partner users locally managed or cloud managed


Locally managed only

Controlling sharing experience for extranet sites

Part of Office 365 sites functionality

Often requires custom solutions/apps

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