Category Archives: Setup

Manage External Sharing at the Site Collection Level – Office 365 (SharePoint Online)

Office 365 with SharePoint Online allows you to have granular level control of your data and how it’s shared internally and externally. In the previous post, Manage External Sharing at the Tenant Level – Office 365 (SharePoint Online), I showed you the tenant level options; the post below, I will highlight a how to do this at a site collection level.

Please keep in mind that you will need to do your own internal security assessment and fit these settings to your organization.

For more detailed information about all the external sharing scenarios in SharePoint Online, please use the Microsoft KB below.

Login to the Office Admin Center

On the left navigation menu, click Admin Centers

Click SharePoint

  • You need the correct permissions to access SharePoint Admin center and make the changes

Click Site Collections

Select the Site Collection you want to change the sharing on

Click Sharing

Set the Sharing Settings

Sharing Outside your organization – Select the option that meets your security requirements. If you have tenant level settings that are more restrictive than the default options, the lesser options will not be available.

  • Don’t allow sharing outside your organization – Prevents all users for all sites from sharing with external users. This option is typically set when organizations cannot share any content externally.
  • Allow sharing only with the external users that already exist in your organization’s directory – Allow sharing only for external users that are in the organizations directory. External users who do not already exist in your organization’s directory are prevented from accessing data. This is the most secure method to share data externally since the external users accessing the data must reside in the organizations directory. This gives the ability for checks and balances to be put in place because a typical user is not allowed to add external users to the organizations directory. Typically this goes through an approval work flow and is strictly governed.
  • Allow users to invite and share with authenticated external users – External users who have received sharing invitations are required to sign-in with a Microsoft account to access the content. This method is a little less secure than the one above, but it’s more secure than the one below. This gives the ability for external sharing governed by the user sending the links.
  • DEFAULT – Allow sharing to authenticated external users and using anonymous access – Allow site users to share sites with people who sign in as authenticated users, but you also want to allow site users to share documents through the use of anonymous guest links, which do not require invited recipients to sign in. You can also specify, in number of days, when the links will expire. This is the least secure and default option in SharePoint Online.

Additional Settings

  • Limit external sharing using domains – This option gives you granular level control to the domains you want or don’t want to allow sharing with.

Click Save

Disable Access to Exchange Online PowerShell

By default Exchange Online has PowerShell access enabled for all users. The level of access, for the users, is determined by the roles you are assigned in the organization but most security conscious organizations will want to button up and close down access to all users that don’t require it to be enabled.

I will detail a simple method to check access for one account and disable access to that account. For more detailed methods to disable for many accounts, please use this Microsoft KB.

Connect to Exchange Online with PowerShell

View the status of a single user

  1. Get-User <UserIdentity> | Format-Table Name,DisplayName,RemotePowerShellEnabled

View the status of all users

  1. Get-User -ResultSize unlimited | Format-Table Name,DisplayName,RemotePowerShellEnabled

Disable access to a single user

  1. Set-User <UserIdentity> -RemotePowerShellEnabled $false

Modify Recoverable Items Folder – RetainDeletedItemsFor

Once you delete items from Outlook or have retention policies delete the data, it will end up in the Recoverable Items Folder. This post will detail how to check for and modify the time in which that data sits in the Recoverable Items Folder, before it’s purged from Exchange Online.

Chances are if you are reading this you know what the Recoverable Items Folder is and you know why you want to change the default time for the folder. Please be careful and be knowledgeable about how and what you are modifying here.  If you are unsure about the Recoverable Items Folder, please view the Microsoft TechNet article below. Consider this as your warning.


Per Microsoft:

To protect from accidental or malicious deletion and to facilitate discovery efforts commonly undertaken before or during litigation or investigations, Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and Exchange Online use the Recoverable Items folder. The Recoverable Items folder replaces the feature that was known as the dumpster in earlier versions of Exchange. The Recoverable Items folder is used by the following Exchange features:

  • Deleted item retention
  • Single item recovery
  • In-Place Hold
  • Litigation Hold
  • Mailbox audit logging
  • Calendar logging


This BLOG post will walk through the steps of setting the RetainDeletedItemsFor value for both the Mailbox and the Mailbox Plan in Office 365 (Exchange Online). The Microsoft default value for this setting is 14 days. The value is modified with PowerShell connection to Exchange Online. One thing to note is that if you have changed the default value on premise, you will also have to set the same value in Exchange Online as the mailbox you are moving to Exchange Online will get the value from Exchange Online.


View the current MailboxPlan settings in Exchange Online

Get-MailboxPlan |ft Name,RetainDeletedItemsFor


View the current setting per mailbox in Exchange Online

Get-Mailbox -Identity User.Name | fl Identity,RetainDeletedItemsFor


View the current setting all Mailboxes in Exchange Online

Get-Mailbox | fl Identity,RetainDeletedItemsFor

Note that some of the names have been blacked out for security purposes. Yes, people try to hack the users in my blog posts, even though I only use them once and they are deleted after.


Changing the Default Values

The value can be changed per mailbox or for the whole mailbox plan. Per mailbox is just as it sounds, it’s only for that one mailbox. Per mailbox plan will catch all the newly created mailboxes (including those migrated). It’s important to note that if you modify the setting after mailboxes have been created or migrated to Exchange Online, you will have to modify the value on those mailboxes as well as the mailbox plan. Basically after modifying the mailbox plan, all new mailboxes will get the new setting, while existing mailboxes will have to be updated.


The default value is set to 14 days. The max value that you can set is 30 days.


Change the current setting for the MailboxPlan in Exchange Online

Get-MailboxPlan | Set-MailboxPlan -RetainDeletedItemsFor XX

The screen shot below shows the command to change the setting, followed by the command to verify.


Change the current setting per mailbox

Set-Mailbox –Identity -RetainDeletedItemsFor XX

The screen shot below shows the command to change the setting, followed by the command to verify.


Thanks for visiting and reading my posts. I am always looking for more ideas. Please comment or email me with what you would like to see.

Kelsey Epps Office365 MVP

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Office 365 Shadow Tenants – Sorry, you can’t add here because it’s already in use

Sorry, you can’t add here because it’s already in use. If you own the domain and want to manage it, you have a couple of options.


This issue has come up a number of times with my clients. We are unable to add and verify production domains to a production tenant, because someone in the orgainization has used the company email address and signed up for a trail PowerBI (etc..) accounts. Because of the way that Office 365 is setup, when you sign up for those trials, a shadow tenant is created and your domain is locked (unverified) to that tenant. In my example, I have opened a trail for PowerBI, using an email address ( that hasn’t been registered with my production Office 365 tenant. Now, when I try to add the domain ( to my production Office 365 tenant, I get the error below (in red and screen shot). This is because the shadow tenant that was created for PowerBI trial is using that domain.

In order to resolve this, you will need to do an admin takeover of the shadow tenant and then release the domain so that it can be registered to your Office 365 tenant. This involves you opening another trial to PowerBI, taking admin ownership and verifying the domain in the shadow tenant, removing the domain from the shadow tenant and then adding and verifying it into your tenant.


Sorry, you can’t add here because it’s already in use. If you own the domain and want to manage it, you have a couple of options.



Follow these instructions to remove the domain from the Shadow tenant and add it to your production tenant.


Navigate to


Enter your email address (that includes that domain that you can’t add to your Office 365 tenant). My example is


Click ‘Use it free’


A confirmation email will be sent to your account. Click the link to verify the email address.



Enter your First Name, Last Name and a password. Click Start


The PowerBI setup process will kick off and your account will be added to the Shadow Tenant


Click the Office 365 waffle (app launcher)

Click the Admin Icon



This will take you to the admin take over webpage

Click ‘Yes, I want to be the admin’


Add the verification TXT record to your external DNS. Mine happens to be hosted on GoDaddy, so there are instructions for GoDaddy on the page.



Once the TXT record is added to public DNS, give it some time for replication. This is generally completed within 30 minutes, but can take up to 72 hours.

Click ‘Okay, I’ve added the record’


The process will now go out and verify that the TXT record supplied is added to public DNS. Once completed, your account will be added as the admin for the shadow tenant.


Click ‘Go to the Office 365 homepage’ or login to with your account.

Once logged into the Office 365 Admin Portal, click Users -> Active Users

This will show you all the people that have opened trail accounts of PowerBI


In order to remove the domain, so that we can register it in the main tenant, you need to edit the users and change the UPN to the domain (in my example – This is required because none of the users can have the domain in use, if we want to remove the domain from this tenant. It’s recommended that you update all the users and then your admin account.

Double click a user and change the UPN to the address

Click Save


You may receive a warning. Click Yes

Repeat for all the users

Let your users know they still have their trial accounts, but the user name is now changed. This will allow them to remove their data.


Edit your admin account the same way

Click Yes to the warning

Click OK and sign out of the shadow tenant

Sign back in with the new user name (


Click Domains and select the domain you want to remove (this is the domain that you want to add to your production tenant)


With the domain selected, click ‘Remove domain’

Click Yes

The domain will be removed from the shadow tenant and is not free to add to your tenant (give the process some replication time across the Microsoft backend servers).

Logout of the shadow tenant


Login to your production tenant where you were getting the error adding the domain with your admin account and try to add the domain again. This time it should work without giving you the error. Please note that you will have to verify ownership again by adding the TXT record into public DNS.


Login to the production tenant –

Navigate to domains

+ Add domain


Click ‘Let’s get started ->’


Add the newly released domain from the shadow tenant

Click Next


Verify domain ownership. Since I use GoDaddy, the process will allow me to sign into my GoDaddy account and verify, or use a TXT record in public DNS. Since I am lazy, I will just sign into GoDaddy and let automation rule my life. 😉


Success (and I forgot to screen shot the page before clicking next) … The domain is now verified and added to your production tenant. Step through the rest of the steps and now when viewing the domains in the production tenant, you will see it there and verified.



Thanks for visiting and reading my posts. I am always looking for more ideas. Please comment or email me with what you would like to see.

Kelsey Epps Office365 MVP

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Adding a Domain to Office 365 that is Registered with GoDaddy

Adding a domain to Office 365 is really easy. To make the process even more wasy, the web page walk you through it. For this post, I am addding a domain to Office 365 that is managed at GoDaddy


Open the Microsoft Online Portal

Click Domains

Click + Add Domain


The add a domain in Office 365 Window will popup.

Click Let’s get started to allow the webpage to discover your domain registrar


Enter the domain you want added to Office 365

Click Next


Domain ownership needs to be verified. In this case, it was discovered that the domain is registered at GoDaddy.

If you want the web page to do all the steps, sign in with your GoDaddy account

If you want to verify the domain manually, then click ‘use a TXT record to verify you own this domain’


Sign in to your GoDaddy account


To confirm Office 365 access to your domain at GoDaddy, click Accept


The domain is verified

Click Next


At this point, you have the option to convert all the UPNs on the users to

You can skip this if you wish, see below.


Click Update selected users to update the users, or click skip this step if you wish not to update the UPN


The next step in the process allows you to add more users, or you can skip the step.


Update DNS records. Be really careful here. If you have a production domain and you are using it for production email or other services, then changing DNS can cause some havoc if you are not ready to flip the services to Office 365. In my case, this is a test domain and I have no production users on it.

Click Next


Click Next

Keep in mind that I want the web page to change my DNS records, so I am leaving the Outlook and Lync checked.


Here is a screen shot of my DNS records before the webpage makes it’s changes to DNS


Here is a screen shot of the DNS records that the web page added, to enable services on Office 365



Done, the domain is added and now active for Office 365 use.

Click Finish


Thanks for visiting and reading my posts. I am always looking for more ideas. Please comment or email me with what you would like to see.

Kelsey Epps Office365 MVP

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Setup and Enable Office 365 Message Encryption

thThe process to setup and enable Office 365 Message Encryption is really easy. There are three main steps that need to be followed

  1. Activate Azure Rights Management
  2. Setup Azure Rights Management for Exchange Online
  3. Setup transport rules to enforce message encryption in Exchange Online


The following Microsoft TechNet article details the process, I have a step-by-step below.


Office 365 Message Encryption Mail Flow



Activate Azure Rights Management for Office 365 Message Encryption


Login to Microsoft Online Portal with a Global Admin Account

Open the App Launcher (waffle)

Select Admin


Select SERVICE SETTINGS from the left pane

Click Rights Management


From within RIGHTS MANAGEMENT click Manage



You’ll be redirected to the management page

Click Activate

Click Activate again on the popup asking if you are sure you want to activate Rights Management



Set up Azure Rights Management for Office 365 Message Encryption


Connect to Exchange Online with PowerShell

Open PowerShell as Administrator

Enter the following commands to connect and import the session

  • Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned


  • $cred = Get-Credential


  • $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $cred -Authentication Basic –AllowRedirection


  • Import-PSSession $Session



Verify your IRM isn’t configured already

  • Get-IRMConfiguration


Configure RMS with the online key-sharing location for Exchange Online with PowerShell (locations below). For my example I am using North America, but the table below shows all the locations



RMS key sharing location

North America
European Union
South America
Office 365 for Government


Import the Trusted Publishing Domain (TPD) from RMS Online

  • Import-RMSTrustedPublishingDomain -RMSOnline -name “RMS Online”


Verify successful setup of IRM in Exchange Online

  • Test-IRMConfiguration –sender


Disable IRM templates in OWA and Outlook

  • Set-IRMConfiguration -ClientAccessServerEnabled $false


Enable IRM for Office 365 Message Encryption

  • Set-IRMConfiguration -InternalLicensingEnabled $true

*Note – You shouldn’t see that warning, but if you do it’s safe to ignore. I got it because I ran the command and forgot to grab the screen shot before clearing the screen, thus I had to run the command again.


View the IRM Configuration

  • Get-IRMConfiguration


Create Transport Rules to Encrypt Messages

Open the Office 365 Admin Portal (

Open Exchange Admin Center


Click Mail Flow



Click the + and create your transport rule. I have created two simple rules.

This rule will encrypt anything that is sent external with an attachment larger than 1MB

This rule will encrypt the email if the word ‘Encrypt’ is in the subject line of the email. This will give the users (once trained) the flexibility to encrypt emails they deem sensitive.


Make sure the rules are active and test



Testing that the transport rule apply Office 365 Message Encryption

Testing Transport Rule 1


Testing Transport Rule 2



When the user gets the email, this is how its presented to them

 One thing to note is that after you go through the setup process, it may take some time to replicate across the Microsoft back end servers. So if you test and it doesn’t work, give it some more time. I have see this process take up to 2 hours to replicate.


Thanks for visiting and reading my posts. I am always looking for more ideas. Please comment or email me with what you would like to see.

Kelsey Epps Office365 MVP

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Office365 – Creating a New Shared Mailbox

Creating a shared mailbox is simple with Office 365. Follow the step-by-step below, for the simplified process.

Per Microsoft – 

Shared mailboxes make it easy for a specific group of people to monitor and send email from a common account, like public email addresses, such as or When a person in the group replies to a message sent to the shared mailbox, the email appears to be from the shared mailbox, not from the individual user. 

Shared mailboxes are a great way to handle customer email queries because several people in your organization can share the responsibility of monitoring the mailbox and responding to queries. Your customer queries get quicker answers, and related emails are all stored in one mailbox. 

A shared mailbox doesn’t have its own user name and password. You can’t log into a shared mailbox directly using Outlook or Outlook Web App. You must first be granted permissions to the shared mailbox, and then you access it using Outlook or Outlook Web App. You don’t need to assign licenses to shared mailboxes, except when they are over their storage quota of 10 gigabytes (GB).


Sign in to Office 365

Click the waffle and select Admin


Expand Admin

Select Exchange

Select Recipients

Select Shared


Click +


Enter Display Name

Enter Email Address (this value must be unique) – Drop down the list to select the email domain.

Select the User(s) that has permissions to send mail from the shared mailbox. This can be changed later with advanced options

Enter Alias

Click Save


Once the shared mailbox is created, select it and click the pencil to edit the properties. Advanced settings are available.


Thanks for visiting and reading my posts. I am always looking for more ideas. Please comment or email me with what you would like to see.

Kelsey Epps Office365 MVP

Email Me Follow me on Twitter Connect with me on LinkedIN