What is the Difference Between SharePoint and OneDrive?

Microsoft constantly focuses on growing its platform of product offerings to its customers. You may discover some overlap between certain types of tools they offer. This happens because Microsoft’s portfolio of tools is nothing short of massive.

The good news is that many users can easily find the resources and information they require. However, it does leave some people scratching their heads as they try to remember the differences between tools.

One question that frequently comes up for users of Microsoft products is the distinct differences between Microsoft SharePoint vs Microsoft OneDrive for Business.

It is easy to confuse these products. We want to help clarify some of the key differences between the two.


What is the Difference Between SharePoint and OneDrive?

What is the difference between SharePoint and OneDrive? To understand, we should try to look at the basic definition of each service. Here is the definition of what SharePoint is:

SharePoint by Microsoft is a way to collaborate with employees via an internal website that can be accessed from any computer or mobile phone. SharePoint can store, manage, and distribute files to users with different access levels and permissions.

And the definition of OneDrive:

Save your files and photos to OneDrive and access them from any device, anywhere. Enjoy the freedom to access, edit, and share your files on all your devices. If you lose your device, you won’t lose your files and photos when they’re saved in OneDrive.

You can see here that both services deal with file storage and document management. However, a SharePoint document management system also has features that make it easier for employees to communicate with one another via the program.

It is a great way for companies to foster collaboration and make it easier to spread data throughout the company wherever it needs to go. Both programs allow for the easy retrieval of files across any type of technological device that you may have ready to use at this time.


Features They Have in Common

There are some features that are held in common between OneDrive and SharePoint Online (or SharePoint Server) that you should know about. We are looking at the differences between the two, but it is also useful to understand what they have in common.


Cloud Storage Features

Cloud computing is not only the hot trend of the present but it is viewed as the wave of the future as well. There are billions of cloud-connected devices already, and the latest projections state that the average person on the planet will own 15 connected devices by 2030!

As such, nearly all technology services that are built for today’s world have at least some cloud storage features. Microsoft is well-aware of this fact, and its team members are working hard to make sure that many of its programs (including OneDrive and SharePoint) have cloud-connected capabilities.

Microsoft products are great at getting the information and data that people require out to their various connected devices right when they need them. In fact, Microsoft just continues to get better at this process, and users won’t even see all of the layers of security that the company has put into the work that they do to help keep users safe while using their products.


Powerful Security Features

Speaking of powerful security features, did you know that Microsoft has placed enterprise-level security into both SharePoint and OneDrive?

Both products are designed to be used in a business setting, so it makes sense that Microsoft would want to provide business owners with the powerful type of security that only comes when extra measures have been taken.

One thing that business users have noted about what Microsoft has done for them here is the fact that their data and information are protected even when they are not actively accessing it.

This is known as “encryption at rest”, and it is all about keeping data as secure as possible despite the fact that it is not being actively accessed at this time.

Anything that they can do to provide you with some peace of mind is going to be considered.


Universal Access For Permitted Parties

Anyone who has been given explicit permission to have access to certain data and information within SharePoint or OneDrive will have universal access to it across any device that they may decide to use.

This means that more work can be accomplished on the go. Pull up critical statistics on your phone, your laptop, or any other device that you want to use to gain access to it.

You will be delighted by the fact that you can get the information that you need without having to be in a specific place or use a specific system. It is all right there for you ready to go.


Features That Are Different

SharePoint and OneDrive are also different from one another in a few critical ways. It is also useful to know what these are so you can start to see how each program may be best used within your organization.


Personal Files Vs. Team Collaboration

The personal document storage of business documents that you don’t want other people within your organization to have access to will go into your personal OneDrive. You will be able to pull up OneDrive files for your own review at a later date, but you don’t necessarily have to share them broadly across the entire organization.

A SharePoint document library is where you store documents that you DO want multiple users within the organization to have access to. A SharePoint file may include shared documents that contain information that is relevant to many different parties from all across the company.

Those documents may need to be pulled up by others from time to time.


A Personalized Network on SharePoint

One of the best features of SharePoint is that it may be used to make a company Intranet. This makes it different from OneDrive.

An Intranet is an internal company network that is only accessible to people within the organization. This keeps certain bits of information from getting out into the broader world. It is also useful in the sense that people within the company may communicate with one another more effectively via a system like this instead of using the broader Internet that is available to everyone else.

Getting information across to various people within a large organization is not always the easiest task, but the SharePoint system makes it a lot easier and helps keep private information shielded from public view. That is yet another reason why so many companies have turned to SharePoint to help handle some of their largest challenges from a security point of view.


Does SharePoint Include OneDrive?

You now know a bit more about both SharePoint and OneDrive, and you may be asking yourself if OneDrive is an included feature of SharePoint.

After all, it seems like most of the features that you can find with OneDrive are also available via SharePoint. For the most part, this is true.

However, SharePoint and OneDrive are still individual products, and SharePoint does NOT contain OneDrive.

Both products are included in the Microsoft 365 system, so you can count on receiving both of these programs if you get a computer that is capable of hosting Office Online, and you should consider this as a major upside for looking at potentially getting a program like this.

After all, there are a lot of interesting things that you can do with both programs, and you may want to ensure that you have access to both of them if you are getting serious about ramping up your business into the future.


When Should I Use SharePoint Or Teams or OneDrive?

Choosing the proper service to use to accomplish a specific task in business is not always as straightforward as it may at first seem.

There are instances when people freeze up and are uncertain if they should try to use SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, or OneDrive. We have a few short explanations of when each service is most appropriate to use based on the circumstances that you currently find yourself in.


Using SharePoint

There are plenty of reasons to use SharePoint. Many point to the ability to share files and publish files as two of the main reasons.

They realize that it may prove useful to them from the perspective of being able to get large chunks of information out to the very people who need to see it right now. This is a big reason why SharePoint has become the go-to for so many business operators.

They understand the real value that they get from using a program like this. They want to maximize their chances of accomplishing tasks.

SharePoint has advantages over Teams in that most Teams chats are narrowed down to a handful of users who truly need to be in those chats.

However, SharePoint allows information to be accessible to everyone within an organization.

This is critical because there may be people from all throughout the company who have important things to say and add to the conversation, but they may not be able to do so if they are boxed out of the chat simply because they have not been properly invited into the Teams chat.

It is something worth carefully considering for messages that need to get out to the entire organization.


Using Teams

Truthfully, if you are using Teams, you are already using either SharePoint or OneDrive. SharePoint is the engine behind the main chat channel in Microsoft Team sites, and OneDrive helps you engage in one-on-one private chats with individual members of your organization. Thus, you are already using at least two of the three services at any time you use Teams.

That said, the use of Teams is great for conveying quick messages to your team in an instant message format. These are messages that do not require lengthy explanations, and they are meant only to get a small piece of information over to someone who needs it.

It is a wonderful tool as far as transmitting quick messages throughout the office to the people who need to see them. For the most part, people tend to appreciate being able to receive messages in this format as it allows them to see that they are being heard and listened to.


Using OneDrive

The OneDrive program also provides some useful benefits, particularly to individuals who need to store away some personal documents and files.

That is literally what it is created to help them do, and those who take advantage of this resource may find themselves able to keep a large variety of personalized data stored in a safe place where they can later access it.

The security and protection that OneDrive offers to all people who store files within its database are of the utmost importance, and this is why it should also be used in rotation with SharePoint and Teams.

You can pull the files that you need from your personalized collection in order to start putting them to work for you and your team.


Reach Us For More Information

It is natural and understandable that many people get SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams confused. They do serve many of the same purposes, but they also have unique functionality within each one that is highly important as well.

Given this reality, it is important to recognize that there is a value between these different types of programs and that you can use each one to achieve different end results.

If you are interested in learning more about how consulting or managed services can help your organization use these programs, please contact us for more details. We are certainly happy to help!

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