What’s The Difference Between OneDrive and SharePoint?

the difference between onedrive and sharepoint

A Microsoft 365 subscription offers a toolbox of solutions that can sometimes feel overwhelming due to the sheer number of applications available. Among these, SharePoint and OneDrive stand out as Microsoft’s most popular cloud-based storage and collaboration platforms. Though they may seem similar, understanding their unique capabilities can help you choose the right tool for the right task.

Key Differences Between SharePoint and OneDrive

Before we delve into the features of both applications, it’s important to understand their distinct functions.

OneDrive is essentially your personal storage service in the cloud. It’s best for individual work where files are stored privately until you decide to share them. Think of OneDrive as a cloud-based version of “My Documents,” where everything remains private until you choose to share it.

This platform is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office apps like Word and Excel, enabling easy saving and sharing directly from these applications. Every licensed user within Microsoft 365 has their OneDrive account, linked to their user ID.

SharePoint, on the other hand, is designed for more extensive organizational use. It is a central point for document management and storage at the departmental or company level.

When you add or create files in SharePoint, they become instantly visible and accessible to all site members, without the need to manually share each item. This platform allows for sophisticated permission settings and document workflows.

When to Use OneDrive vs. SharePoint

A common question among Microsoft 365 users is: “When should I use OneDrive versus SharePoint?”

OneDrive is ideal for storing personal or individual files. It’s perfect for situations where documents don’t require collaboration yet or when starting work that might eventually evolve into a collaborative effort.

SharePoint, in contrast, should be used for team collaborations where files and documents are worked on and need to be shared collectively. If a document in OneDrive becomes relevant to a project or team, it can easily be moved to SharePoint to enhance collaborative efforts.

How To Use OneDrive and SharePoint

If you’re new to using either OneDrive or SharePoint or just exploring your options, it could be helpful to see some examples of how these applications can be incorporated into your workflow.

OneDrive Use Cases:

Small Business Owner: A small business owner could use OneDrive to store financial documents, employee schedules, and supplier contracts. They share specific folders with their accountant and suppliers to streamline communications and updates.

Freelance Designer: A freelance graphic designer could find OneDrive helpful for storing all their work files. They could sync their working folder across multiple devices, ensuring they can access and present their work to clients whether they’re at home, in a meeting, or traveling.

Non-profit Organization: Volunteers at a non-profit organization might use OneDrive to organize fundraising event plans, donor lists, and promotional materials. The platform allows them to collaborate effectively, even when volunteers work from various global locations.

SharePoint Use Cases:

Manufacturing Process Documentation: A manufacturing firm would use SharePoint to document and manage their manufacturing processes. The platform can host standard operating procedures (SOPs), safety protocols, and training videos. Managers could then create workflows that trigger reviews and updates of documents whenever a process changes, ensuring compliance and consistency.

Construction Company Project Site: A construction company might set up a SharePoint site for a large project. The site could then store architectural plans, contracts, project timelines, and compliance documents. Team members from various departments—engineering, procurement, finance—can access and update documents relevant to their tasks, keeping everyone aligned and informed.

HR Employee Portal: A multinational corporation could utilize SharePoint to build an HR portal that serves as the central hub for all employee-related information, including training materials, policies, and benefits information. The portal could feature customized access permissions to ensure sensitive documents are only accessible to relevant personnel.

Features and Integration

Now that you have a basic understanding of what these tools can be used for, let’s go into a little more detail about the features and integrations of each platform.

OneDrive Features

  • File Storage and Sharing: Offers cloud storage for files, making it easy to share and collaborate on documents.
  • File Syncing: Synchronizes files across devices, allowing access from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Personal Vault: Provides an extra layer of security for sensitive files with two-factor authentication.
  • File Versioning: Keeps older versions of files for a set period, allowing users to revert to previous versions if necessary.
  • Integration: Seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Offline Access: Allows files to be available offline, enabling work without an internet connection.
  • Mobile Apps: Offers mobile applications for accessing and managing files on the go.
  • PC Folder Backup: Automatically backs up Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders on a PC to OneDrive.

SharePoint Features

  • Collaboration: Designed for team collaboration, facilitating document sharing, content management, and team communication.
  • Document Management: Offers robust tools for document storage, retrieval, and management, including permissions and workflow features.
  • Sites and Subsites: Allows the creation of websites and subsites within an organization to manage content and information.
  • Lists and Libraries: Provides structured spaces for storing and organizing information, like lists for data management and libraries for documents.
  • Integration with Microsoft 365: Deep integration with Microsoft 365 suite for enhanced productivity and seamless collaboration.
  • Customization: Supports extensive customization options, including site designs, templates, and third-party apps.
  • Search and Discoverability: Features powerful search tools to find content across an organization quickly.
  • Security and Compliance: Offers advanced security features, including permissions management and compliance tools for various regulations.

Security and Flexibility in Microsoft 365 Plans

Both OneDrive and SharePoint are included in Microsoft 365 subscriptions. These services are integral to the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, providing cloud storage, collaboration, and content management capabilities.

Depending on the subscription plan, users can access varying levels of features and storage capacities for both OneDrive and SharePoint, which are designed to cater to different needs such as personal, small business, or enterprise use.

Both platforms encrypt files in transit and at rest, ensuring high security, and include compliance features to help adhere to regulatory requirements.

Expert Microsoft 365 Support in Rochester, NY

At Just Solutions, we take the trouble out of managing your Microsoft 365 applications. We help seamlessly integrate these applications to ensure everything is set up correctly, allowing you to take full advantage of the tools you’ve invested in.

Whether it’s collaborating on documents or ensuring your business’s data security, our expert team is here to assist. Discover how our support can make file sharing and collaboration easy and secure for your business.