In this blog, we will answer questions on how it is possible to block file sharing in OneDrive and Sharepoint, the core  of the Office 365 cloud for companies

  1. Introduction: What are OneDrive and SharePoint? What are their differences?
  2. Compliance and security issues emerging from OneDrive and SharePoint usage
  3. The limitations in the existing solutions, Focus on Information Barriers
  4. How to block specific users and groups from file sharing in OneDrive and SharePoint

A small piece of advice: If you are just interested in blocking specific users and groups in MS OneDrive and SharePoint click here to skip the first part of the article.


Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint are easily confused, while the 2 fulfill the same function of being the cloud storage offered by Microsoft, both have some differences and it’s worth noting them.

OneDrive tends to be used more for personal private documents SharePoint is a central location for managing files for a group of people that can happen within Teams, Yammer, and Outlook or directly in SharePoint as a file management system. SharePoint also can be used for designing sites with or without documents

OneDrive and Sharepoint in Teams

Inside the MS Teams environment, OneDrive and SharePoint play 2 different roles that can be noticed.

OneDrive handles files in personal and group chats or in the Files Tab while SharePoint handles files that are sent in channels, chats, or posted in their respective Files Tab

This difference although technical will play an important role when having to deal with file permissions on these platforms

Compliance and security issues emerging from OneDrive and SharePoint usage

Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems that emerge with OneDrive and SharePoint.

In a simple scenario, let’s suppose we are dealing with 2 teams at the company: HR and Finance

The HR department may be handling documents with sensitive information: Payroll, employees’ private information, medical records, and the like.

Companies are aware of the issues of not controlling Private Information (PI & PII) that can result in regulation breaches or major data leaks. This is why, for example, an organization would ideally like to prevent anyone other than  HR employees from accessing that information.

Another example may be the finance department not being able to share information with a specific team, like the stock research departments (see our article on Finra for more information on this kind of policy) or company policy that does not allow any finance document to be stored in the cloud.

Basically, any information that has to be controlled between a team or more, or any information that can’t leave a specific team represents a serious threat when using OneDrive and SharePoint

The limitations in the existing solutions, Focus on Information Barriers

Once I was told that the definition of a system is that, any good or even a great system can collapse. For example, a building has a specific number of elevators, but if everyone is in need at the same time, that system collapses.

The analogy can be applied to our case in Microsoft Teams, while there are some solutions such as Information Barriers that address blocking people and groups from communicating, it doesn’t completely prevent them from possible threats and risks..

It is important to note, it only takes a matter of seconds for an employee to share OneDrive and SharePoint files externally without the organization being aware 

How to block specific users and groups from file sharing in OneDrive and SharePoint

Companies that are interested in controlling file sharing and access in OneDrive and SharePoint can check at SphereShield for OneDrive SharePoint.

SphereShield works in real-time, meaning it will not allow, for even a second for the shared file to be seen or noted. What is more, its granularity allows for unlimited policies to be set with different employees or groups.

AGAT’s compliance product addresses problems like

-Preventing specific groups (like finance) from uploading files to SharePoint or OneDrive (and MS Teams through SphereShield Ethical Wall for MS Teams).

-Limiting a specific group from sharing with any other group or any specific group.

-Blocking 2 teams from sharing files with each other.

SphereShield for OD & SP contains a governance feature that allows assigning policies to any SharePoint site inside the company. These policies are designed to determine which groups are allowed to be members of which sites.

Eg. prevent the finance group from accessing the SharePoint site of the HR group.

If you would like to learn more about SphereShield contact us today to see a live demo from one of our experts.

User case of blocking groups while still allowing them to meet together.

Exceptions of specific sites allow people to communicate.