SharePoint vs OneDrive: What
By Corey Shields on Feb 11, 2020

SharePoint vs OneDrive: What's the Difference?

When it comes to selecting a data management tool, there's no shortage of platforms to choose from. Since the inception of the cloud in 2006, we've watched this market boom, with arguably the most popular platforms coming from Microsoft.

Now that we've all moved from the old discs to new Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions, expert IT consultants and non-tech-savvy individuals alike are turning to two Microsoft cloud management tools: SharePoint and OneDrive.

Both platforms help users to stay organized through file storage, and help to increase productivity at a company-wide level.

But comparing SharePoint vs. OneDrive is like comparing apples to oranges. Although these two web-based platforms are similar in many ways, they certainly have their differences.

If you’re wondering about these differences and hoping to learn which of the two is right for you, you’ve come to the right place!

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A Few Similarities Between SharePoint and OneDrive

SharePoint and OneDrive both integrate with Office 365 to manage data and save files across the cloud, giving you the ability to access all of your file on demand. They are mainly used for file storage and sharing, but each one approaches these tasks in its own way.

Even with their obvious differences, they do have some noticeable similarities.

First of all, both allow businesses (and individuals) to stay organized and each come with several data sharing options for files up to 15GB.

When using either tool, your documents will be uploaded to a secure cloud drive, keeping everything neat and tidy for easy access.

On top of that, both platforms allow for team collaboration (although only to a certain extent with OneDrive).

You'll be able to comment, critique, and add helpful notes to your SharePoint and OneDrive files, and anyone who has access can view these notes in real-time.

Most importantly, keeping Office 365 secure is straightforward with either tool, especially since you don’t have to manage multiple storage locations for your files.

But enough about the similarities, let’s focus on the differences between SharePoint vs. OneDrive.


SharePoint: The Perfect Solution for Team Collaboration

With Microsoft SharePoint, it’s all about teamwork and building a stronger foundation for communication.

Sharepoint team collaboration

This is a collaboration tool used by both small businesses and major corporations that allows users to access important project information from any device.

Whether all team members are working under the same roof or they’re spread across the globe, users can access and share documents with ease through a SharePoint site.

The homepage of each SharePoint site contains everything from calendars and to-do lists to project updates and notification settings. SharePoint sites will look slightly different from user to user since each team builds its own pages based on the preferences of the site administrator.

When a file is uploaded, it is given a “permission” level from the admin. In other words, team members don’t have to ask for permission to access or edit each file that is uploaded. 

With SharePoint Online, you're able to have multiple sites within one account, which is perfect for anyone working on several projects at one time.


SharePoint for Website Building

Many companies are utilizing SharePoint for more than just team collaboration, but also for building and maintaining the company website.

There’s a CMS component to SharePoint that allows users to publish documents directly to the website so that they become available to customers and employees.

There’s even an internal analytics tool for building custom apps through SharePoint.

When comparing SharePoint vs. OneDrive, there’s no question about which one comes out on top for website building.


SharePoint is right for you if:

●     You frequently share documents with others

●     You need a collaboration tool for upcoming projects

●     You’d like to publish documents directly to the company website


OneDrive: The Perfect Solution for Personal Projects

OneDrive is also used for team collaboration, but not nearly to the same extent as SharePoint. There are no “team” accounts in OneDrive, only personal ones.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use OneDrive to collaborate with other team members.

It just means that you need to give access to specific team members when you save files to OneDrive by inviting others to either view, edit, or comment.

Once you’ve set the permission level, you’ll then grant access by sharing the document through a secure link.

This method of file sharing works well if you’re working with one or two team members, but it’s not ideal for large teams that share files frequently. Think of it as an online filing cabinet, but only certain members of the team have the key to open the drawer.

microsoft onedrive


In the comparison guide on Google Drive vs Dropbox vs OneDrive, you learned that OneDrive seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft Office tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

It's an amazing tool for Microsoft-heavy work environments, but just keep in mind that it doesn't allow for website content management like SharePoint Online.


OneDrive: Personal vs. Business

There are two unique versions of Microsoft OneDrive, Personal and Business, for managing cloud storage in one central location.

When you sign up for a Microsoft account, you are given immediate access to OneDrive personal account and handed 5GB of free storage for files, photos, and videos. 

OneDrive for Business is specifically designed for organizations so that a company can provide employees with personal storage. However, it’s managed by the company (not just by the individual user).

All team members who have permission can access the documents uploaded to the OneDrive business account.

Here's the interesting part - when you're using OneDrive for Business, it uses the SharePoint platform for document storage and team collaboration. It just doesn't offer quite as many features as SharePoint, especially in terms of marketing resources and CMS.


OneDrive is right for you if:

●     You need a central location to store and access files

●     You work in an Office 365 environment

●     Your files are specific to you, or…

●     You need a place to draft files before uploading to SharePoint

SharePoint vs. OneDrive: Which is Right for You?

Still unsure about which is right for you when deciding between SharePoint vs. OneDrive?

Let’s do a quick recap.

With a OneDrive personal account, the user always remains in control of his or her account. This makes it the perfect online storage solution for personal documents or files that are shared among a select few individuals.

Although SharePoint is mainly marketed as a cloud storage management system, it's so much more than that. It enables content collaboration across the entire Microsoft 365 suite of services.

If you frequently work with others, using a SharePoint team site is the way to go.

But that doesn't mean you should completely rule out OneDrive. Both tools have helped businesses to improve the way they work, and many business use both platforms.

Do keep in mind that public cloud storage isn't a solution for everyone, so check with your IT specialist to ensure you choose the right solution with the right security protections.


Want to know what SharePoint and OneDrive can do for your business? Let our experts help you choose and implement these productivity-enhancing tools!  Contact us today for a personalized consultation.


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