A client ran into an odd issue within SharePoint Online recently. The user was an Owner of the Microsoft Team and wanted to setup alerts on a specific folder within one of the Channels within that team. Being a “SharePoint savvy” user they knew they could setup the alerts for their users via the SharePoint Site Collection used to store the Teams files, however when they attempted to setup alerts for a few of their guest users, they were unable to do so. Fortunately, we have access to this client’s Azure AD Administration which made this was a very quick issue investigation.
A quick glance at the permissions on the SharePoint site showed that the guest users in question did have the appropriate permissions assigned to access the folder, which ruled that out quickly, and was essentially the “aha” moment on our end. The client was certain the issue was related to guests not being able to utilize the alert functionality however we knew that was not the problem, as other guests in their tenant had subscribed to alerts and we see it done frequently. We threw that red herring to the side and jumped right into Azure AD Administration to confirm our suspicions.
As expected, the guest users the client was unable to setup for alerts in SharePoint had not accepted their initial invite and never logged into the client’s Microsoft 365 environment. SharePoint knew who they were because they were granted access, but because they never logged into the tenant the details about those guests were never “confirmed” by the system. This meant that there was no way to setup the SharePoint Alerts for them until they accepted the invitation and logged into the client’s site which is the expected requirement, at least from a technical standpoint.
Ultimately, this is likely a “one-off” scenario, but it emphasizes one of many potential issues with guest access scenarios in Microsoft 365. Thankfully, the user reached out when they did as they were investigating workarounds with Power Automate Flow. A quick email to the guests to accept their invite versus creating unnecessary Flows was a definitive win for everyone involved.