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What’s the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint?

Daniel Strain Sep 21, 2023 8:15:00 AM
Photo showing Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive apps

If you’re struggling to differentiate between OneDrive and SharePoint, you’ve come to the right place. As a Microsoft Gold partner, Netitude are specialists in everything related to Microsoft 365. We not only assist our clients in utilising the software to its fullest potential but also actively use it ourselves. So, you can rest assured you're in safe hands.

Now, let's dive a little deeper into what each tool offers.

Differences and Similarities of SharePoint and OneDrive

Microsoft offers SharePoint and OneDrive products that help organisations manage and collaborate on documents and other content. While they share some similarities, they serve different purposes and offer distinct features. Here are the key differences and similarities between SharePoint and OneDrive.

SharePoint differences

  • Collaboration platform for teams.
  • Creates intranet sites, team sites, and document libraries.
  • Advanced access control and permissions.
  • Customisable and suitable for complex workflows.
  • Integrates with Microsoft 365 apps.

OneDrive differences

  • Personal file storage and synchronisation.
  • Meant for individual users.
  • Simpler permission settings.
  • Primarily for personal document storage.
  • Integrates with Microsoft 365 services.

Similarities between SharePoint and OneDrive

  • Both offer cloud-based storage.
  • File synchronisation and versioning.
  • Integration with Microsoft 365.
  • Mobile access through dedicated apps.

As we can see, there are some crossovers between the two. However, SharePoint is a tool with broader features and would be better suited for business use. OneDrive is perfectly aligned for those looking for productivity tools with a simple storage system for their own files.

Think of OneDrive as your personal car. You use your vehicle to commute to work, run errands and travel independently. On the other hand, you have SharePoint, which is more akin to public transport. It's a bit like a centralised platform that connects different individuals and teams within your organisation.

When to Use SharePoint vs. OneDrive for Business

Knowing when to use SharePoint vs. OneDrive depends on your specific needs and the nature of your work. Here are some guidelines to help you decide:

Use SharePoint When

  • Team Collaboration: SharePoint is ideal when you need a shared workspace. It allows multiple users to work on documents simultaneously, making it suitable for project teams and departments.
  • Document Management: If you require advanced document management features such as version control, metadata, and advanced permission settings, SharePoint is the better choice.
  • Custom Workflows and Applications: SharePoint provides tools for building custom workflows and applications, making it suitable for businesses that require process automation and custom solutions.
  • Intranet and Portals: SharePoint is excellent for creating company intranet sites, departmental portals, and custom websites.
  • Large-Scale Content: When you have a large volume of content to manage, such as company policies, procedures, and a knowledge base, SharePoint can handle it effectively.

Use OneDrive When

  • Personal File Storage: OneDrive is designed for individual users to store their personal files and documents in the cloud. Use it when you want a dedicated space for your own files.
  • Simple File Sharing: If you only need to share files with a few colleagues or external partners, OneDrive's sharing features are straightforward and suitable for occasional sharing.
  • Quick Access to Personal Files: OneDrive provides easy access to your files from anywhere, making it convenient for remote work or accessing personal documents on different devices.
  • Individual Work: It's best for tasks that don't require extensive collaboration or where you're the primary contributor.
  • Personal Backup: OneDrive can serve as a backup solution for important personal documents.
  • Syncing Personal Files: If you need to sync personal files across devices, OneDrive's sync client is effective.

Benefits for Business

Both SharePoint and OneDrive offer a range of benefits for businesses. Some of the more prominent benefits include enhancing efficiency in project management and enabling real-time collaboration for your organisation.

SharePoint excels in ownership distribution and company-wide collaboration, whereas OneDrive ensures privacy and organisation of personal files. 

Microsoft Security Features

When it comes to security, Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint have varied levels of features. OneDrive for Business users will have the exact same safeguards in place as SharePoint users. This is because they are essentially the same under the bonnet. People who use OneDrive for personal use are subject to looser security restrictions.

Our Virtual IT Director, Michael Hamer, suggests that if you are looking for a “best-in-class” level of security, then it would be well worth opting for a Microsoft 365 E5 package. Doing so would ensure that your business can take control of its data by optimising robust encryption and access control features.

Customer Key Encryption

One of the features you can reap the benefits of with the 365 E5 package is Customer Key encryption. This feature enables users to use their own root keys to encrypt their information within MS SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Ultimately meaning you can take control of data and remain compliant while using the services.

Customer Lockbox

The Customer Lockbox feature is an extra security step that prohibits Microsoft from accessing your organization’s data without permission. This means that your information remains secure when their engineers are required to provide your business with technical support. It works by bringing the user into the approval workflow process that’s used by Microsoft to ensure that only authorized requests are permitted to access your content.

Undoubtedly, when it comes to streamlined integration, enhanced productivity and complementary collaboration features, Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint should serve you well. If you wish to learn more about what Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint can offer your business, contact our IT experts today!