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Tim Colby

By: Tim Colby on March 02, 2023

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SharePoint Vs. OneDrive: Which File Storage Solution Is Best For Your Business?

Workforce Enablement | IT Support

Unsure of the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint? Wondering where to store your files and documents? You are not alone. 

Many people are confused about how to use each of these tools effectively. 

In this article, I’ll explain in simple terms how the two work together to provide convenience, security, and the ability to share documents. 

As manager of the Kelser service desk, I answer questions just like these every day. I’ll explain everything you need to know to use these tools to your advantage

And, don’t worry, I won’t try to convince you to work with our IT firm. I’d rather provide the information you need to be more productive and securely share your documents

What Is SharePoint? 

SharePoint is a cloud-based platform on which companies can create their own internal websites to access, manipulate and share documents and files. What that means in simple terms is that rather than storing information on a physical server like many organizations used to do, the information is now stored in the cloud. 

So, think of this as your company’s repository for all company-related files and documents (the items you would traditionally store on your company server or, in the old days, in a traditional shared file cabinet). 

All of the information is securely stored. You can grant access to certain people who have a business need for the information. You can easily find documents and files, change them, and store the latest version for the next person who needs to see or use them. 

 

HubSpot Video

 

What Is OneDrive? 

OneDrive is a place for you to store files and documents you create that other people don’t need to access

Traditionally these would be items you stored in files on the hard drive of your company device (or in a personal file drawer in your desk). 

With OneDrive, these items are now stored in the cloud. 

Where Should I Store My Documents?

Here’s an easy way to think about your options:

SharePoint

Use this platform to store files and documents that other people will need to access.

What Kinds Of Files Can You Store And Share?

This may go without saying, but I’m frequently asked this question so I’m going to answer it. With cloud-based solutions, you can store a variety of types of files and documents including:

      • PDFs
      • Word Documents
      • PowerPoint Documents
      • Excel
      • Vizio Diagrams or Flowcharts (such as Organizational Charts)
      • Pictures
      • Videos

In general, any file that you can store on your device can be stored in the cloud.

 

OneDrive 

When you create a file or document that only you need to access, save it in OneDrive. Your OneDrive items are synced to SharePoint, but they stay separate and only accessible by you (unless you grant permission to other people to access them).

So basically, SharePoint acts similarly to the physical server that many organizations used to have on-site. Think of your OneDrive application as playing a similar role to your old hard-drive storage on your device. 

The two work together but have different roles.  


Related article: What Are The Pros & Cons Of Cloud Computing? Is It Right For You?


What Are The Advantages? 

There are numerous advantages to cloud-based storage and file-sharing. 

1. Easy Access 

One of the main advantages of storing files and documents in the cloud (in either SharePoint or OneDrive) is that you can access them online or offline from any device, anywhere in the world, at any time

To access items offline, you just need to download them before you lose wifi. 

Let’s walk through an example

Say you have an important presentation to give at a remote location requiring airline travel, but maybe your presentation isn’t quite finished or you want to make last-minute tweaks. 

In the airport, when you have wifi, download the documents you need. You will be able to work on the documents offline on the airplane (without wifi). When you get to your destination and log in to Microsoft, the updates to your file will sync and the latest version will be available on any device.  

2. Automatic Save

Another huge advantage is that when files and documents are stored in the cloud they are automatically saved, which is not the case when you store items on your device’s hard drive. 

So, if for some reason your device implodes, you can easily access anything you’ve stored in the cloud from any existing or replacement device

3. Cost Savings

When compared to the cost of purchasing and maintaining a physical, on-premise server, developing and maintaining cloud-based file and data sharing and storage solutions is much more cost-effective

For one thing, updates are automatically pushed to (or installed on) the cloud-based applications saving your IT team an extraordinary amount of time. 

In addition, if you already have a Microsoft 365 license (or subscription), this capability is included, so you don’t have to pay extra. 

4. Enhanced Security 

People often have the misconception that storing files and documents locally on a physical server is the safest option. I’d argue that with the updates automatically pushed to cloud-based solutions, you are ensured that your items have the latest and most-comprehensive security available.  

As long as you set up Office 365 permissions correctly, use multi-factor authentication (MFA), and have standard 256-bit encryption, your items will be securely stored in the cloud.


Related article: Benefits Of MFA: Security For A Network, Simplicity For Users  


5. Low Maintenance Requirements

I know I’ve already mentioned this a couple of times, but all updates (security, performance, etc.) are automatically pushed to cloud-based technology solutions. This makes cloud-based solutions a low-maintenance option for businesses.

In addition, for SharePoint in particular, your IT team can set up your organization’s website, but you don’t need IT support to maintain it. Anyone can perform the simple maintenance requirements. 

After SharePoint is set up, the only time you’ll need IT support is when you want to make significant technology-based changes to add new capabilities.

Where Do You Go From Here? 

After reading this article, you understand the difference between SharePoint and OneDrive. You understand which option to use for your files and documents based on who needs access. 

You know these tools offer advantages including easy access, automatic backup, cost savings, enhanced safety, and low maintenance requirements. 

At this point, if you already have a subscription to MS 365, you can easily begin using these options for securely storing files and documents.

You will need help from your internal IT staff or an external IT provider to set up SharePoint, but the rest should be easily managed by someone on your staff until you require significant technology-based changes like adding a new capability.

If you don’t have a subscription to MS 365, you may be considering the advantages it offers and the cost.

If you have an internal IT staff, they can help you evaluate whether this might be a good option for your organization. If you don’t, you may want to consider consulting with an external IT provider to weigh your options. 

If you decide to consult with an external IT provider, we encourage you to weigh several options so that you ensure you get a partner that is right for you. Find out 10 of the best questions to ask any IT provider

At Kelser, we provide comprehensive managed IT support services, including SharePoint and OneDrive for companies throughout Connecticut and the surrounding region. But we know that managed IT isn’t the right solution for every organization. 

If you find yourself wondering about managed IT, read this article to learn what’s included and how much it costs

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Prefer to self-assess? Use the cybersecurity checklist to understand where your organization's cybersecurity policy needs improving, learn actions you can take to keep your data secure and help ensure your organization follows the latest cybersecurity best practices. 

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About Tim Colby

Tim Colby manages Kelser Corporation's service desk. He has over 13 years of managed service experience working mainly in industries such as healthcare, finance, and defense. Tim specializes in server and virtualization infrastructure, audit and compliance readiness, and Microsoft 365 messaging and collaboration services.

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