Understanding the Difference Between OneDrive and SharePoint

February 29, 2024

OneDrive and SharePoint are two popular Microsoft products that offer cloud-based storage and collaboration features.

While both platforms serve the purpose of storing and sharing files in the cloud that you can access from the same Microsoft 365 account, they serve different purposes.

In this article, we will explain the main differences between OneDrive and SharePoint, and when to use each of them.

OneDrive: Personalized Cloud Storage

OneDrive is a cloud storage service that lets you save your files to the cloud and access them from any device, such as your PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

You can also share your files with specific people and co-edit them in real time using Microsoft 365 apps, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

OneDrive is mainly for personal or individual use. Your OneDrive files are private unless you share them with others, which is particularly useful if you haven’t created a team yet.

You can also sync your files across your devices using the OneDrive app, and access them offline if needed.

OneDrive key features

1.     File storage and access

  • Cloud storage: Store your files in the cloud for access from anywhere, on any device.
  • Mobile app: Access and manage your files on the go with the OneDrive mobile app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
  • Offline access: Make files available offline on your devices for access even without an internet connection.

2.     Collaboration and sharing

  • File sharing: Easily share files and folders with others through links or invitations.
  • Real-time co-authoring: Work on documents simultaneously with others in real-time.
  • Version history: Access previous versions of files to restore older content or see how a file has evolved.

3.     File management and organization

  • File syncing: Automatically sync files between your devices and the cloud for seamless updates.
  • Files On-Demand: View and interact with OneDrive files directly from your device without downloading them all, saving storage space.
  • Search and organization: Easily search for files and organize them with folders and tags.

4.     Security and backup

  • Encryption: Your files are encrypted at rest and in transit for added security.
  • Ransomware protection: OneDrive helps protect your files from ransomware attacks.
  • Recycle bin: Restore accidentally deleted files from the recycle bin for up to 30 days.

When to use OneDrive?

You should use OneDrive when you are working on a file by yourself or with a few people, and you want to save your files to the cloud and access them from any device.

You can also share your files with specific people and co-edit them in real-time using Microsoft 365 apps.

For example, you can use OneDrive to:

  • Storing your personal files. You can keep your photos, videos, music, documents, and other files in OneDrive, and organize them.
  • Backing up your important files. You can use OneDrive to protect your files from accidental loss, theft, or damage. OneDrive automatically saves your files to the cloud, and you can access them from any device.
  • Working on a file with others. You can use OneDrive to share your files with specific people and co-edit them in real-time using Microsoft 365 apps. You can also chat with your co-editors, leave comments and track changes.
  • Sharing a file with anyone. You can use OneDrive to share your file with anyone, even if they don’t have a Microsoft account. You can do this by creating a link that anyone can use to access your file.
  • Sending a large file as an attachment. You can use OneDrive to attach a file from your cloud storage to your email in Outlook. The file will be automatically uploaded to OneDrive and a link will be inserted in your email.

SharePoint: Collaborative Workspaces

SharePoint, on the other hand, is a comprehensive collaboration platform tailored for teams and organizations.

It serves as a centralized hub for storing, organizing, sharing, and managing content, fostering seamless collaboration and knowledge sharing within a company.

SharePoint offers robust features for document management, version control, workflow automation, and team collaboration. It allows users to create intranet sites, team sites, and communication sites, each tailored to specific organizational needs.

SharePoint's integration with Microsoft 365 applications enables teams to co-author documents, manage projects, and coordinate tasks efficiently.

SharePoint Key Features

1.     Collaboration

  • File storage and sharing: Securely store, share, and collaborate on files and folders with team members.
  • Co-authoring: Work on documents simultaneously with others in real-time, eliminating version conflicts.
  • Communication sites: Create intranet sites to share news, announcements, and other organizational information.
  • Team sites: Facilitate project collaboration with dedicated sites for specific teams or projects.

2.     Content management

  • Document libraries: Organize and manage documents in centralized locations with version control and metadata capabilities.
  • Lists: Create customizable lists to track tasks, events, contacts, and other types of information.
  • Content approval workflows: Automate content approval processes and ensure consistent quality control.
  • Search: Conduct full-text searches across content within SharePoint sites and libraries.

3.     Business process automation

  • Power Automate: Create automated workflows to streamline repetitive tasks and processes.
  • Forms: Design and deploy electronic forms for data collection and approval processes.
  • Business intelligence: Utilize data visualizations and analytics tools to gain insights from SharePoint data.

4.     Additional features

  • Mobile access: Access SharePoint sites and content from mobile devices.
  • Security and permissions: Control access to information with granular permission settings.
  • Customization: Extend SharePoint functionality with add-ins and integrations with other Microsoft products.

When to use SharePoint?

You should use SharePoint when you are working on a file with a larger team or organization, and you want to create shared libraries or sites to store and manage files for your team, project, or department. You can also create pages, news, lists, and apps to communicate and collaborate with your team members. You can also use more advanced features for document management, such as versioning, workflows, and permissions.

For example, you can use SharePoint to:

  • Create a team site for your department or project. A team site is a website that you can use to store and organize files, news, events, tasks, and other information related to your team or project.
  • Create a communication site for your organization. A communication site is a website that you can use to publish and share information with a large audience, such as your entire organization or external stakeholders.
  • Create a hub site to connect and manage multiple related sites. A hub site is a website that you can use to link and organize multiple sites that share a common theme or purpose, such as different teams or projects within the same organization.
  • Create a custom app or solution using SharePoint Framework, Power Apps, Power Automate, or other tools. SharePoint Framework is a development tool that you can use to build and deploy web parts and extensions for SharePoint.
  • Integrate SharePoint with other Microsoft 365 services, such as Teams, Planner, Yammer, Stream, etc. SharePoint is integrated with other Microsoft 365 services, which means that you can access and use SharePoint content and features from other apps, and vice versa.

Both are powerful

OneDrive and SharePoint are both powerful cloud services that can help you store, access, and share your files online.

However, they have different purposes and features that suit different needs.

OneDrive is ideal for personal or individual use, or for small-scale collaboration with a few people. SharePoint is better for team or organizational use, or for large-scale collaboration with many people.

You can use either or both of them, depending on your situation and goals.

If you want to learn more about OneDrive and SharePoint or need help with setting up and using them, you can contact us at AXO Technologies, we can help you choose the best plan for your needs, configure and customize your cloud site, and provide training and support for your staff.

We can also help you integrate OneDrive and SharePoint with other Microsoft and third-party services, such as Teams, Outlook, Power BI, and Yammer.

Contact AXO Technologies right now.

AXO Technologies Sdn Bhd (1276407-U) is an innovative and thoughtful IT consulting firm based in Selangor, Malaysia. We help organizations solve their IT challenges by leveraging technology in their business process.

With our certified professional team, we strive to provide a better understanding and relationship with our customers.
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