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Introducing External Collaboration for Confluence

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We’re excited to introduce external collaboration for Confluence, now available in early access. It is available to preview for Confluence Cloud Premium and Enterprise customers. (If you're not on Premium or Enterprise, you can start a 30-day Premium trial for free!)

Confluence is your home where knowledge and collaboration meet, but we know that for some customers collaboration doesn’t end with just your internal team. Certain projects and documents require input from external users — people like clients, vendors and contractors who only need access to specific spaces and users, but not your entire Confluence site or people directory.

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With external collaboration for Confluence, you’ll be able to grant “external” users secure access to only specified spaces by inviting them as guests.

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Guests only have access to spaces where they’re explicitly invited. You can grant guests access in space permissions or in the new Guest Access section in Global Permissions.

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This means you can add guests to relevant documents without having to lock down the rest of your site. In Confluence global permissions, you’ll also see a summary of all the spaces where a guest or guest group has access, so you can rest assured that they’ll only see content and user information in the spaces where they’ve been explicitly granted access.

Guest users are restricted from certain features like the people directory, user search, and mentions, which could potentially expose them to sensitive user information. 

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Finally, your team will always know when guests are present with clear markers and notifications in the product experience to visually distinguish them from internal users.

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Are you on Confluence Cloud Premium or Enterprise and working with external users today?

Want to try out External Collaboration? Join our early access program!

How to Sign-Up

Step 1Sign-up with our Qualtrics form - be sure to tick our feedback agreement so we know how to make it the best feature possible!

Step 2: Join our private Community group here. Feel free to share with any member of your team who will be working with external collaborators.

Step 3: Follow instructions to connect.

You will receive an email from us confirming that you have been provisioned into the external collaboration early access program. Once you receive this email, follow the how-to guides posted in our Community Group to securely collaborate with external users.

Step 4: You are good to go!

Once you are in, please feel free to post any questions or comments in our Community Group or alternatively, email us at externalcollabEAP@atlassian.com.

We’re very excited to to be delivering this early access program and hearing your valuable feedback!

Questions and Giving Feedback

For queries regarding external collaboration, terms and conditions, or your eligibility for early access, please email us at externalcollabEAP@atlassian.com, or comment below.

30 comments

What's the fee for adding a guest user?

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Is there a limit to the number of Guest users you can invite?

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Does adding guest go against your monthly active user (MAU) count to determine our monthly licensing fee?

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We currently do this through the use of Space Permissions for Groups or Individuals.  How is this better than that?

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I think the difference from the current Space Permissions is that guests are blocked by default, and with regular users, they have access to everything by default.

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when this feature is live, will the feature be available only to confluence premium?

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I am already sharing a Confluence Space with a client. What is the difference here, will client team members need to create separate accounts to access via Guest permissions?

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Mykenna Cepek Community Leader Jun 28, 2021

There are a number of known visibility problems which existing Space Permissions haven't addressed. Just a few examples:

  • Visibility concerns are not restricted only to viewing a page. Page titles can be revealed in the "Recently Updated" macros and the new Confluence home page "Feed" section. New page notifications are another potential "leak". See CONFCLOUD-45397
     
  • Pages created from Templates may be exposed to overly broad permissions. See CONFCLOUD-30812
     
  • Even user visibility can be a concern (e.g. segmenting different customers apart from each other in a single instance). See CONFCLOUD-1882

I see that '1882 includes a comment referring to the upcoming External Collaborations feature (the other two don't).

I hope Atlassian has generalized this solution in a way that can also benefit Jira. Managing this same kind of problem in Jira via Permission Scheme was a complicated mess.

And I appreciate this coming solution in Confluence. We recently simplified our permissions (organization-wide) which resulted in removing this type of capability. It will be nice to offer it again for our users and clients.

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Does this work if you have Atlassian Access implemented? ie currently only users with my company domain email are permitted access to our cloud instance. But can we invite guests to specific pages that do not have the company domain email?

Thanks in advance.

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Is it possible to invit an email domain ? 

mook4k I'm New Here Jun 29, 2021

Can guests access it like a blog without email?

1. Will this feature be available for hosted versions of Confluence?

2. Do you think you will ever add the ability for external users to be mentioned only on the pages they have been granted access to?  We find mentions to be very helpful when communicating with our clients in Jira. 

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Is there anything available in the future for Stanadard plans?

Like Kfir Wolfson likes this

Hey Everyone! Thank you so much for your interest in external collaboration and all of these great questions! I answered a few of the top questions below, but feel free to join the private community group where we will be sharing more details as the early access program progresses. 

What is the fee for adding a guest user? 

For our first version of external collaboration, it was important to us that these users were truly collaborators, and not just view only readers, so they will use a paid license. We are considering an additional user role for view-only guests in the future, so be sure to give us feedback in the EAP if this your preferred guest type.

 Is there a limit to the number of Guest users you can invite?

There is no limit on the number of guests specifically, but they will count towards your 10,000 user limit per site. 

How is this better than Space Permissions for Groups or Individuals? 

Short answer: More security with less overhead for you and your teams.  

  • External collaboration in Confluence allows you to grant guest users access to individual spaces, without having to set up complicated permissions schemes or lockdown other content.

  • Guests have limited access to your instance. Unlike regular users who have a broad level of access by default, guests only have access to the spaces to which they have been specifically assigned access.

  • Guests also have limited access to user information for your regular “internal” users - no access to people directory, user search, mentions, etc. (note, guests can be mentioned by internal users, but not vice versa)

  • Your internal team is clearly notified in the product and via email when guests are added to a space, and guest users will be visually distinct from internal users so that your team knows when they’re interacting with a guest.

  • You can easily check and manage the spaces where guests have access in the new Guest Access section of Global Permissions — this way you can feel confident and secure about which content these users can see.

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so be sure to give us feedback in the EAP if this your preferred guest type.

What's the EAP? But yes, guest accounts for read-only access is something that I would say would be really useful. 

Read-only access is definitely a security feature I would welcome. 

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This is great! Much needed feature and love that it just fits into the standard permissions structure.

I wonder if it makes sense to assign temporary licenses for guests. I doubt that a high percentage of customers need prolonged collaboration that extends over a year, for example.

It just doesn't make so much sense to me to give the same permanence to licenses for employees and for external users.

Have you considered anything along these lines @hilarydub?

Like Gerri Mills likes this
Mykenna Cepek Community Leader Jul 02, 2021

I had a business request for an external read-only user in our instance just this morning. The need is real.

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I understand that for the preview, guests are limited to Premium/Enterprise accounts.

When generally available, will guests be available for Standard Cloud licenses?

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hilarydub Atlassian Team Jul 06, 2021

Great to get more validation on the read-only user type. To start solving this problem, we are currently running experiments with view-only pages - i.e. anyone with the link can view. 

@Even André Fiskvik EAP is Early Access Program - you can sign up here: https://surveys.atlassian.com/jfe/form/SV_7NUqoJlLNHoQ8aW

@Capi _resolution_ temporary access, or setting expiry dates on user licenses, is our #1 priority improvement on the feature and we're working with our user account "identity" team to get this on the roadmap ASAP - your feedback will help to make our case!

Like Shaziya Tambawala likes this

This could help us migrate from Server to Cloud.  Right now we pay very little for a 10k+/unlimited Server license and have thousands of clients logging in with a custom SSO plugin to *view* documents only.  If you add a way to allow free, read-only access for guests and include SAML support, we could use Confluence as a client-facing documentation system.  We are in a regulated industry and it's not possible for us to make our docs visible to the whole internet; we need a solution where only users of our apps can view our docs.

Like # people like this

Thanks for letting me know @hilarydub.

@John Price, apparently guest users, even if read-only, will occupy licenses. Would this be a deal-breaker for you?  

Guest users occupying licenses would for sure still be a deal-breaker on our end. It means that we will continue rely on "hacks" to share content to users that are not contributing/managing/editing content.

@Capi _resolution_ IMHO, read-only licenses should AT LEAST be very discounted. I could spend time to argue that it should be free. But, I agree that the benefit of securing these documents through an authentication system has a small value that could be assigned so many dollars per month. But occupying full featured licenses for read-only users just doesn't seem fair.

Like # people like this

@Alex Janes I hear you! The license tier could explode.

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