OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is Microsoft’s cloud storage service. It is offered as an integral part of Office 365 and SharePoint Server and available as a standalone service. This product review will position to product, discuss its top features and mention a few alternative cloud storage services.

Overview

OneDrive for Business is included in all Office 365 plans and allows you to store, share and sync your documents, photos, and other files in the Microsoft cloud. OneDrive for Business runs on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS and can be installed on multiple devices. You can easily share your documents and even collaborate with coworkers on Office documents in real time. OneDrive for Business stores documents secure in the cloud, but it was never meant to be an online business backup service.

Top Features

Here are the top features of OneDrive for Business:

  • Store – There are two ways of uploading your documents to the cloud. The first one is to access OneDrive online and click the Upload icon to copy files or entire folders to a folder in the cloud. The second option is to move or copy files to the OneDrive location within File Explorer. Files will be uploaded to the cloud once there is Internet connectivity.
  • Sync – To sync files with the cloud you need to install the OneDrive for Business Sync app on the devices that you are using. Syncing of files between the cloud and your devices should occur automatically. It can also be triggered through the Sync icon in OneDrive online, or the OneDrive cloud icon in the notification area of your screen.
  • Share – Files or folders can be easily shared with individuals, groups or everyone inside and outside the organization using OneDrive online or File Explorer. Sharing permissions are set to Edit by default, but can be changed to View or revoked at any time. One can also create and share a unique URL to give access to files and shares.
  • Collaborate – Coworkers can simultaneously edit the same document. Conflicts will arise when co-workers are overwriting each other’s changes. In such a scenario OneDrive opens a Resolve Conflict window, which allows either or both copies to be kept.
  • Integrate – OneDrive for Business integrates with other Office 365 services and applications. Outlook sends notifications when documents are shared, Word, Excel and PowerPoint are used for editing office documents and Delve makes it easy for others to discover your documents. You can easily move documents from OneDrive for Business to a SharePoint team site.

Alternatives

Microsoft offers OneDrive as a free product intended for personal use, while OneDrive for Business is intended for business use. Drive, Dropbox, and Box are the best-known alternative cloud storage services, but there are many others. If you need a storage service for personal use, you will probably opt for a free plan and use the amount of free storage as a deciding factor. Cloud storage services aren’t interoperable, so you might want to subscribe to multiple services.

Businesses could procure a stand-alone solution like Dropbox or Drive, or obtain OneDrive for Business or Drive as part of an Office 365 or G Suite plan. In the latter case, the features, benefits and value of the entire suite of applications will need to be considered in making the decision. OneDrive is arguably too similar to Drive to become the deciding factor.

Conclusion

OneDrive for Business stores your important documents secure in the cloud and can sync with multiple devices allowing you to work from anywhere. It facilitates sharing of documents with coworkers and collaborative editing of Office documents in real time. OneDrive for Business integrates with other Office 365 services and applications to offer a superior user experience. OneDrive for Business is bound to be one of the Office 365 applications that delivers great value to your organization.

About Author:

Willy Simons came to Kenya from The Netherlands in 1994. He is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Oakar Services, Esri Eastern Africa and Spatiality. He blogs about business, geospatial technology and cloud computing.