OneDrive for Business is Microsoft’s file sync, share and collaboration service. It used to be part of Office 365, but that has now changed.
Microsoft announced that OneDrive for Business will become available as a standalone subscription service on March 3. This is good news for those who want the simplicity of Dropbox, but the security and control of Office 365.
While some might see this as competition for the usual suspects in the file sharing space -- Dropbox, Box, Google Drive -- I think it's a possible alternative to another, namely, SharePoint.
Along with the announcement of the standalone version, Microsoft also talked about some new and upcoming features of the file sharing service, including:
- New controls available for the most common functions directly above the Personal documents folder.
- A Site folders view that shows you the contents of Document Libraries for the Sites you are following.
- Improved search and the ability to share directly from search results.
- Easier access to OneDrive through a familiar URL structure: https://<tenant>.onedrive.com.
These are all great new features, but what’s coming is even more enticing: advanced auditing and reporting features, encryption at rest, data loss prevention (DLP), extensibility improvements and more.
The move to make OneDrive a standalone service is very smart. We’ve seen more movement in the file sharing space in the last year or more than we’ve seen with other technologies. It’s simple -- people (consumer and business) are looking for ways to share and collaborate easily. The cloud allows them to do that. And services like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and OneDrive are all going to be competing for mindshare.
But it’s not just these file sharing competitors that will have to take on OneDrive. SharePoint is going to take a big hit too. We think for many, OneDrive is the SharePoint alternative many organizations have dreamed of.
Let’s look at three ways OneDrive takes on SharePoint:
1. Store, Sync, Share
OneDrive has a very simple interface (one that has been simplified further with recent updates). So it’s easy to upload your files and share them. You can also sync to all your devices, desktop, tablet, smartphone, giving you direct access to your content when you are online or offline. You even have mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Windows RT.
OneDrive even has this cool feature that allows you to grab a file from your PC even if you haven’t uploaded it to OneDrive. You have to turn that feature on, but it’s pretty nice to have.