How can the "Request Files" feature on OneDrive be useful into your organization and why does this feature improve your security?

This new feature of OneDrive rolled out during last December and can be really useful to create a target folder and allow external people of your organization to deposit some files safely (for your organization).

How can this feature be better than sharing a folder with each other?

Share folder

Without the "Request files" feature, to allow someone else to deposit/drop/upload something on your OneDrive, you have to share a folder. Sharing a folder with the native feature means:

  • Allow user(s) to see the content of this folder
  • Allow user(s) to edit the content of this folder (if you want them to be able to drop files)
  • The recipients have to have at least a Live ID account
Allow editing when sharing folder to allow upload files on your OneDrive

If you share this same folder with several users to let them upload files, all of them will have the exact same rights and will be able to access the content of the each other... is this really what you want? 🧐

One solution consists in creating each time a shared folder to avoid this kind of use case...

Request files

Now, you have an alternative since December 2019 to allow someone to drop files on your OneDrive (this feature is not available on SharePoint sites); you can create a "Request files"! 😮

Before explaining to you the benefits of this feature, I will show you how to use it.

Prerequisites

The external sharing for Anyone has to be enabled on your Tenant.

To enable it, go to your Microsoft 365 Central Admin ⟩ SharePoint ⟩ from the left navigation, under Policies, click on Sharing link.

External Sharing level on Microsoft 365 Tenant
Note: to allow OneDrive at the most permissive sharing, SharePoint has to be set up at the same level too.

Once configured, click on Save.

Note: for more security and to avoid infinite external sharing links, set up a link expiration in day is recommended.
Define an expiration option for anyone links of sharing

For more information about external sharing, find below the link of Microsoft docs:

Turn external sharing on or off - SharePoint Online
Learn how to change your SharePoint sharing settings.

Create a file request

Here, the steps to create a Request files:

  1. From your OneDrive, create or use an existing folder
  2. Select the folder for which you want to perform a Request files
  3. From the Command Bar or the Contextual Menu (click on ellipsis), click on Request Files
Button actions to create a Request files
Note: multiple selection is not supported
  1. A modal dialog appears; specify a description of what kind of files is expected (for a projet, a procedure, etc.) and click Next
Enter a description to precise the purpose of your request files
  1. Your Request files is ready now; you can use and share the provided link (via mail for example) and/or share it directly by specifying the mail addresses of the recipients
Send your request files
Warning: if you specify recipient(s), the behavior will not be the same for the user that performs the upload (see Upload files as recipient part)
Confirmation of request files sent

You will find the procedure and more on the following Microsoft support:

Create a file request
This feature is currently rolling out and should be fully available by the end of December.

Upload files as recipient

As a recipient, if the invitation was sent directly via OneDrive, you should receive an email like this one:

Request files email
  1. Click on the button Upload Files or use the link that was shared to you; that will open your favorite browser at this page:
First page link of request files
  1. Select file(s) to be uploaded; the next behavior changes in accordance with the invitation with recipient(s) (left screenshot) or with no recipient specified (right screenshot)
  1. Click on Upload

Result from the requester side

As a requester, each time someone uploads file(s) via the link Request Files, an email is sent for notification.

Note: even if several files were uploaded, only the first one is mentioned into the mail

Here, the request folder with the uploaded files:

Request folder with files

Some notes about the behavior of the uploaded files:

  • If the Request files link has no recipient, each file is identified by a prefix which was inserted into the file name like: FirstName_LastName_File name.ext
  • If the Request files link has no recipient, the Created By, Modified By and Activity are identified by Guest Contributor
  • If the request files link has recipient(s), each file is identified by a prefix which was inserted into the file name like: Full Name_File name.ext
  • If the request files link has recipient(s), the Created By, Modified By and Activity are identified by an user name who uploaded the files

Benefits

  • The people who have the link can not see the content of the folder and can not edit, download or delete something
  • A specific activity is dedicated to the dropped files
  • Each document has a prefix to identify easily who were uploading the files
  • The user profile is "anonymous" (wihout Live ID or Office 365 account) and if the shared link had no recipient specified, Create By and Modified By are identified by Guest Contributor
  • Like a sharing link, the Request files link expires automatically in accordance with the expiration option defined on the Tenant
  • A better user experience to drop some files easily and safety

Point to consider

Although this feature brings a lot of benefits, there are a few things to consider:

  • Anyone who knows that the link can upload files into your OneDrive without having himself a OneDrive account
  • Even if the recipient has a OneDrive account and is connected to his account, he can change the first name and last name
  • The prerequisites impact the sharing behavior of the whole Tenant
  • Once a request files was created, the permissions inheritance stopped. If the link is deleted, it is necessary to consider restoring the permissions inheritance
Restore inheritance after sharing or copying a link OneDrive/SharePoint Online
What are the side effect when you are sharing/generate an access link of SharePoint item? Restore permissions inheritance after sharing file or folder to someone else who is internal or either external of your company on Office 365

More link(s):

OneDrive Roadmap Roundup- November 2019
As we wrap up an exciting quarter filled with innovations and announcements, we have some great features to share with you. Here is the latest and greatest that landed in production in the month of November 2019. Save for Later Request files Language localization for OneDrive emails Save for …

Hoping this post will help you 😉