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What is the Difference Between OneDrive and SharePoint

​File storage and sharing in the cloud is here to stay and businesses are starting to catch on to the fact that on-premise or local file storage and sharing is just inefficient. Storing and sharing files and data in the cloud can be the best, most productive and cheapest way to collaborate and archive data. When cloud companies like RyanTech have conversations with customers about bringing data like this into the cloud for retention and sharing, the first resources that we think of are SharePoint and OneDrive. When deciding which one to use, we look at the use case of the client and decide from there. Let's explore the differences between the two applications and why you might choose one over the other, and we might throw in a little Teams information while we're at it.

Why is this a better option than locally storing files and data on PC's or servers? Efficiency and resources are key in understanding why an organization should choose to store in the cloud. Here are a few items to consider:

  1. Collaboration - Easy to share and work on files together. Changes can be made and saved by one user and seen by another user without having to print or send back and forth through email
  2. Security - Cloud storage has always been and will continue to be the most secure way to store data and files. Security can be increased with the click of a button or application of a security feature or licensing
  3. Less resources needed - Servers and computers with large, expensive hard drives are no longer needed. 
  4. Less data loss - Data loss has been a thorn in the side of organizations who still use on-premise and local storage. If a computer or server goes out for any reason, if that data is not backed up on another local computer or on-premise server, it's gone. When stored in the cloud, a server or PC can completely stop working and the user can grab another computer, access the web, and still view all files

Now let's take a look at the differences in each option:


Most businesses are familiar with OneDrive at this point, and have possibly used it in the past. If you haven't heard of it or used it before, OneDrive is online storage in the cloud for individual licensed users within an organization. You can access files across all devices and share them with anyone inside or outside of your organization for collaboration. You can also get as granular as setting permissions per file that you are sharing, so security is a big factor in OneDrive as well. Storage size can vary based on your specific licensing, but all licenses come with at least 1TB of storage and can be scaled up with Microsoft or Office 365 Enterprise licensing. With all that said, OneDrive is best suited for individual needs and less for organizational file storage.


SharePoint is one of those Microsoft applications that is soaring in popularity in today's world. Businesses are using SharePoint for many things such as workflow automation, an intranet site for centralized organizational information, and file storage. For the sake of this blog, let's focus on the file storage aspect of SharePoint and why this might be the best fit.

As mentioned, SharePoint is best for organizational data and files. Any user that is licensed for SharePoint can access the data within the site if permitted. There are a few important reasons why SharePoint is best for organizational data storage:

  1. Amount of storage - SharePoint comes with much more storage than that of OneDrive. The tenant gets 1TB of storage and then an additional 10gb per licensed user, so, in most cases, that covers the data set that organizations are bringing to the cloud. 
  2. Functionality - SharePoint has many functions and can serve an organization in whatever capacity is best. It can simply be a file storage resource, but can also act as a company intranet and one-stop-shop for the users to get any and all information about the organization.
  3. Permissions and Security - SharePoint can get extremely granular with who can access what. Administrators, or Owners, have the ability allow access to the entire site or a single file, so users can only see and access what they are permitted to. It is also very hard to allow users outside an organization to have access to your SharePoint site, although possible when needed.
  4. Collaboration - Although similar, collaboration is a little different in SharePoint than it can be in OneDrive. Files in OneDrive can be shared on a case by case basis and has to be allowed and shared by the OneDrive licensed user. In SharePoint, all files from a server can be migrated into SharePoint and then live there. Users can then go and view, edit and save files back into SharePoint, while other users can go in after the fact and see the edits.


Lastly, let's talk about Teams. After all, it wouldn't be a proper file storage blog without it :)

Teams is a fairly new application in the Microsoft world that has been heavily adopted by businesses around the world. It's a place to conduct meetings, chat internally or externally, and collaborate with other team members within Teams channels. Each channel is specific to the users added to it by the owner and has multiple ways to collaborate within it. For example, and in the spirit of what we're talking about, each Teams channel has a "Files" tab at the top of it. Once clicked on, the user can see all files that have been uploaded within that channel. This is a great feature as we have seen businesses set up departmental Teams channels and apply files that are relevant to the users within that department that they can then access and collaborate on. The main difference here is that you may not want to use Teams as your main source of file storage, but pull files in as needed.

We know that this can seem like an overload of choices and information, but it's becoming more important for businesses to find the best and most secure options for file storage in the cloud. We are here to help and consult with you on what might suit your business best, so reach out to us if you are considering making this move, and we can answer any question that you may have.

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