8 Things You Should Know about OneDrive for Business


We talk to a lot of people who use Office 365, I mean a lot. One thing that continues to amaze (and disappoint) me is the number of people who either a) didn’t know they had OneDrive or b) know they have it and don’t use it.

If you aren't familiar with OneDrive for Business, here's how Microsoft defines it:

"OneDrive for Business is a place where you can store files from your computer into the cloud, and access them from any device, or share them with others. As part of Office 365 or SharePoint Server, OneDrive for Business lets you update and share your files from anywhere and work on Office documents with others at the same time."

Here’s what you need to know (For clarity, we mean the Business Version of OneDrive when we say “OneDrive” in this post. As we've covered in previous posts, Microsoft can be confusing with their naming):

1. You get 1TB of storage.

If you use any of the Office 365 suites (E1 or greater, Business Essentials or greater, or their education/government counterparts) then you get 1TB of storage included.  This is more than enough storage for the average user.

2. OneDrive can replace your local file storage on your PC.

Again, with 1TB, that’s usually more storage than most folks have on their PCs or Macs.  If you get into the practice of saving your files to OneDrive, you can access those files from anywhere.

3. There are apps for iOS, Android, and Windows.

If you get into the habit of saving your files directly to OneDrive, you can then have access to your files no matter where you are or what platform you are on.

4. Version control is awesome.

Just like a SharePoint document library, OneDrive creates versions of your documents as you save them.  This has saved me more than once when I made a mistake and needed to go back to a previous version.

5. You can get one version of the truth.

If you work in a highly collaborative environment, you can share your documents from OneDrive so others can view and/or edit them.  This keeps you from having to email the file and ending up with multiple versions of the same document.  This recently shaved about 3 days’ worth of time off of a contract I was working on.  I shared the document and kept working on it without having to wait for comments back from my colleague.  They show up directly in the document, making both of our lives easier.

6. Sharing files is a cinch.

It’s extremely easy to share files.  You can grant permissions directly or just generate a link for others.  You can also set expiration dates on links so that they become inactive after a period of time. If you using Outlook 2016 you can also easily add OneDrive documents to your emails.  (This is one of my favorite new features!)

7. You can sync files to your desktop.

Thanks to the new OneDrive Next Generation Sync Client, you can finally selectively sync files and folders to your desktop.  This is a feature that Dropbox and Box have had for quite some time and I am excited that Microsoft has finally caught up.  Tip: Know your limits. There are limits to OneDrive, so make sure you know them before syncing your entire computer to it.

8. If you use Dropbox as a group’s document repository, OneDrive is not a replacement solution.

This is probably the number one mistake the people make.  Tons of SMBs use Dropbox as a replacement for a file server. (For the record, I am against this use case, but it does work for some people.)  Lots of departments in larger organizations do the same thing.  (I can get behind this.)  OneDrive cannot replace that use case very well.  While it can work, it usually requires a complete rework of your processes and most people can’t make that change so it doesn’t make sense to even try.  The best use case is to check out SharePoint document libraries. We've covered more about what to store in OneDrive vs what to store in Sharepoint in this post.


Want to try it for yourself? Start a free trial of Office 365 to try OneDrive for Business.

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