Cloud-based storage and file management are both valuable solutions for businesses. If your business is not yet using cloud storage, it’s probably time to start thinking about it. Two of the most popular Cloud services are both from Microsoft: SharePoint and OneDrive. While they appear similar in the service, they actually have some distinct differences.
We spoke with a Microsoft Partner based in London regarding the key distinctions between SharePoint and OneDrive. TechQuarters, an IT support company that has been working with Microsoft for more than a decade, helped us take a deep dive into what each product is best suited for.
At its core, OneDrive is an online file storage platform; it is primarily designed for individual usage – this means that each Microsoft account holder has their own OneDrive account – due to single sign-on, their OneDrive account is integrated with their Microsoft account. There is a Personal version of OneDrive, and there is a Business version of OneDrive.
OneDrive for Business allocates 1 terabyte of storage for each user. The main purpose of OneDrive for Business is to replace individual users’ internal PC storage. It is well-known that using a computer’s internal drive can slow the PC down; what is more, if your computer crashes and all your files are on the hard drive, your work will be lost. By using OneDrive, you ensure your files are safe from hardware malfunctions, and you lessen the burden on your PC’s internal drive.
OneDrive can be accessed from within the Windows File Explorer, web browsers, and other Office 365 apps – such as Word, Excel, Teams, etc.
There are several advantages to using OneDrive. In a business it can be leveraged in a number of ways on a daily basis – below are some examples:
- Cloud Storage – Removes reliance on the local PC storage
- Multi-platform – accessible from all modern browsers, computers, and smartphones. Your files can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection
- Office 365 Integration – save documents, spreadsheets, and presentations directly to OneDrive. Attach OneDrive files to emails and Teams messages.
- Easy file-sharing – share files with colleagues directly from OneDrive, or attach OneDrive files to emails.
- Enhanced security – OneDrive for Business is protected by the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security suite.
While it is largely perceived as another Cloud storage solution, SharePoint is actually a Cloud collaboration tool. SharePoint is designed solely for businesses – there is no personal version – and it is an incredibly diverse solution. SharePoint can be configured to fulfil a wide range of purposes in a business, and this is where its strength lies. It can be used to create online document management and storage environments; or it can be used as an office Intranet, for sharing resources and apps, and even for publishing content to websites.
Unlike OneDrive for Business, SharePoint is built for teams. You can create sites – which are basically workspaces for hosting files, documents, and other resources for teams and projects; or as a centralised space for sharing information.
The primary strength of SharePoint is it’s configurable; it can be used to fulfil all kinds of organisational tasks. Below are some examples of SharePoint’s advantages:
- Intranet – can be used as the organisation’s internal website.
- Document management and collaboration – a team can store all their resources centrally within a site, and work on them simultaneously.
- Office 365 Integration – the Microsoft Office applications can be opened and used within SharePoint.
- Multi-platform – SharePoint is accessible from all modern web browsers, and there are SharePoint apps for all modern smartphones.
- Enhanced security – SharePoint is protected by the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite.
In conclusion, it is not necessarily useful to compare OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. Although they are both Cloud-based solutions for storing files, they have vastly different applications. In reality, they are best utilized alongside each other, so that they can fill whatever gaps are left by each other.