onedrive vs sharepoint

SharePoint vs OneDrive: Their Similarities, Differences and Optimal Use Cases

SharePoint and OneDrive are two popular Microsoft solutions for improving document management and facilitating collaboration. Although both platforms aim to simplify these processes, they serve different purposes and scale requirements within organisations.

This guide sheds light on the similarities and key differences between the two platforms, empowering you to make knowledgeable choices tailored to your unique needs.

Difference Between OneDrive and SharePoint

At their core, both OneDrive and SharePoint provide cloud storage solutions, but they cater to different needs and use cases. 

Microsoft OneDrive is a Cloud Storage Service

Microsoft OneDrive is cloud-based file hosting service. Imagine having a space where all your data, like photos, family videos, and documents, can live. It’s also great for teaming up with others; you can work on files together in real-time or whenever it suits you. Organising is super easy; pop your files into folders, making OneDrive perfect for storage and creating stuff together.

Let’s say you’re a photographer who needs to send many photos to a publisher – upload them to OneDrive, share a link, and they’re in! Plus, Microsoft has thrown in online versions of Office, so you can whip up documents, spreadsheets, and presentations right from your browser. And the best part? Everything syncs up across your devices automatically, making your life and work flow smoothly.

Microsoft SharePoint is Document Management Software

SharePoint goes beyond mere file storage; it’s a comprehensive platform that streamlines the distribution of company updates and facilitates the creation of business-related documents. SharePoint enables you to set up both communication and team sites, serving dual purposes: team collaboration through a SharePoint team site and broad communication via a communication site, enabling you to share updates, both brief and detailed, with your team or the entire company.

Consider SharePoint an advanced online filing system. Just as paper files were once organised in large filing cabinets, SharePoint digitises this process, offering a more efficient, secure, and disaster-resilient document management method. Its dashboard capabilities allow users to easily access and interact with files, significantly boosting collaboration and communication within any organisation.

Features Comparison of SharePoint vs. OneDrive

Below is a comprehensive table detailing the capabilities of each platform, encompassing file sharing, storage options, collaboration tools, and security features. This comparison is designed to illuminate the key functionalities and differences defining each service, assisting you in identifying the platform that best aligns with your specific needs.

sharepoint vs onedrive

How Do OneDrive and SharePoint Work Together?

Integrating OneDrive with SharePoint unleashes numerous advantages that can elevate your productivity and streamline your workflows. Here are the key benefits:

  • Seamless Integration: Linking OneDrive with SharePoint centralises your documents, files, and folders in one accessible location, simplifying your work process.
  • Efficient Collaboration: This integration facilitates simultaneous document editing by team members, eliminating confusion and version discrepancies.
  • Expanded Storage Capacity: Combining OneDrive and SharePoint provides ample storage space, accommodating even the most resource-intensive projects.
  • Enhanced Security: The merger of these two Microsoft products ensures your data remains secure through encryption, stringent access controls, and consistent backups.
  • Streamlined Compliance: Achieve compliance with ease, thanks to the comprehensive compliance features inherent in both OneDrive and SharePoint.

SharePoint Cloud vs. On-Premises 

When deciding between SharePoint Cloud and SharePoint On-Premises, it’s improtant to understand the differences in infrastructure, maintenance, and capabilities. Here’s a breakdown to help guide your decision:

Dedicated Hardware

  • SharePoint Cloud: Operates on Microsoft’s cloud data centres, eliminating the need for onsite hardware.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Requires investment in dedicated hardware located onsite.

Updates and Infrastructure

  • SharePoint Cloud: Microsoft automatically implements updates and patches.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Updates and maintenance are managed by your organisation’s IT team.


  • SharePoint Cloud: Backups are handled by Microsoft, though there are limitations. Familiarise yourself with Microsoft’s Shared Responsibility Model.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Your IT team must manage backups within your local framework.


  • SharePoint Cloud: Utilizes cloud-based storage for data.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Data is stored within your organisation’s local network.


  • SharePoint Cloud: Adheres to industry-specific security guidelines set by Microsoft.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Your organisation bears full responsibility for securing your data.


  • SharePoint Cloud: Included in Microsoft 365 subscriptions and billed monthly per user.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Costs encompass hardware acquisition, maintenance, licenses, etc.


  • SharePoint Cloud: Offers limited customisation options.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Provides broader scope for customisations.

External Users

  • SharePoint Cloud: Simplifies the inclusion of external users via Azure services.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Requires manual adjustment and building of infrastructure for external connections.


  • SharePoint Cloud: Scalability is managed by Microsoft, offering flexibility as your needs grow.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Scalability depends on the resources and planning of your IT team.

New Tools

  • SharePoint Cloud: Continuously updated with Microsoft’s latest tools and features.
  • SharePoint On-Premise: Access to new tools and functions is dependent on your IT team’s capabilities and updates.

Storing Content in OneDrive

Dangers of Storing Content in OneDrive

OneDrive offers a personal space for storing and sharing files, but it’s essential to be aware of the risks involved when keeping sensitive business content there. We’re here to help you understand why putting all your document management eggs in the OneDrive basket might not be the best idea. It’s all about finding a smart way to handle your digital content storage.

Device Loss

The convenience of accessing OneDrive from any device gives us the flexibility to work whenever and wherever we like. However, this convenience isn’t without its risks. There’s always the chance of losing your device while logged in or having it stolen. If it falls into the hands of someone who knows how to find business data on it, you could be looking at a data breach at the very least.

Users’ Credentials Being Stolen

Hackers are currently carrying out operations aimed at stealing user credentials. They employ various tactics, from malware attacks designed to siphon data to phishing schemes that exploit users’ lack of internet security awareness. If a hacker manages to get into your company’s OneDrive business account, it could result in financial losses.

Moreover, hackers might use compromised OneDrive accounts to store illegal content. By getting their hands on user credentials for your organization’s OneDrive accounts, hackers can access all the Office 365 apps your company relies on, including Exchange (for mailboxes and calendars), Teams, and SharePoint.

Cloud Storage Risk

Keeping your data in the cloud comes with a lot of perks. It’s like having a safety net against natural disasters or theft, and getting to your files from any device feels like magic. But – and it’s a big but – when you move your stuff online, you’ve got to think about who else might be snooping around.

Despite all those fancy security features, like OneDrive’s personal vault or file encryption, there’s still a chance someone unwanted could get a peek. So, it’s essential to do your homework and take steps to keep your data safe and private up there in the cloud.

Delayed Response

The most significant issue with data breaches and malicious attacks is their delayed detection, often long after they’ve occurred. In environments where numerous users access thousands of business files, pinpointing the exact time of a breach becomes challenging.

This delay reduces the window for implementing effective security measures. Particularly with ransomware, the realization of an attack typically arrives upon encountering a ransom note on your computer.

How to Transfer Files from OneDrive to SharePoint

Best practices to effectively transfer files from OneDrive to SharePoint involve proper preparation, planning, and execution. Here is a five-step guide to ensure a smooth and successful migration:

  1. Assess your current OneDrive structure. Analyze the folders, subfolders, and file hierarchy, including the size, type, and security of each file.
  2. Create a plan for the new SharePoint structure. Determine the target site, libraries, lists, and columns needed for the migration.
  3. Migrate your OneDrive files using SharePoint Migration Tool. Apply filters and mappings to streamline the process and ensure data accuracy.
  4. Validate and test the new SharePoint site. Verify that all files have been correctly transferred and access rights are appropriately set up.
  5. Communicate the changes and train your team. Ensure that everyone is aware of the new site structure and understands how to access and manage files in SharePoint.

SharePoint vs. OneDrive: Which One to Use?

OneDrive or SharePoint? Choosing between these two platforms depends on your organization’s unique needs. SharePoint is a platform that allows businesses to create and manage their own intranet, extranet, and internet sites. It is ideal for collaborative efforts and managing documents on a large scale, offering a comprehensive platform that supports teamwork and streamlines workflows.

OneDrive, however, is better suited for individual or small team storage needs, providing a simple, secure way to store files and access them from any location. Each platform excels in different areas of document management and collaboration. It’s crucial to evaluate your organizational requirements before deciding. A strategic approach might involve integrating both platforms’ best features, utilizing OneDrive for personal storage and SharePoint for more comprehensive, team-oriented tasks.


Is SharePoint better than OneDrive?

Choosing between SharePoint and OneDrive isn’t a straightforward decision—it all boils down to what your organization needs. If you’re looking for a tool to handle big collaboration projects, manage tons of documents, and support complex workflows with detailed permission settings, SharePoint is your go-to. It’s perfect for larger teams that need those advanced features.

But if your focus is on secure storage and easy access for yourself or a more minor team, OneDrive has you covered with its simple and efficient file sharing capabilities. So, really, it’s about figuring out what your team values most: extensive collaboration tools and content management with SharePoint or straightforward file storage and sharing with OneDrive.

How do I open a SharePoint site in OneDrive?

To seamlessly integrate a SharePoint site with OneDrive, simply utilize the “Sync” feature found in SharePoint online. This allows you to sync a SharePoint library with your OneDrive, offering offline access to your files and the ability to manage them straight from your computer’s file system. Once set up, you’ll find your SharePoint files conveniently located in your OneDrive folder, ready for access anytime.

Remember, appropriate permissions are a must for syncing and accessing content on the SharePoint site. Starting the sync is easy: just navigate to the SharePoint document library you want to sync, hit the “Sync” button (typically located in the toolbar), and follow the on-screen instructions to finish setting it up.

After syncing, any modifications you make in OneDrive will automatically update on the SharePoint site, and vice versa. This ensures a smooth, efficient workflow and document management across both platforms, making your work a breeze.

Does SharePoint have a desktop app?

No, SharePoint lacks a dedicated desktop app, unlike OneDrive. It primarily functions through web browsers, providing a broad, interactive platform accessible from any internet-connected location. However, SharePoint does integrate closely with the OneDrive desktop app, enabling users to sync document libraries to their computers for offline access and management through the file system.

Additionally, SharePoint integrates flawlessly with Microsoft Office desktop applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, allowing users to directly open, edit, and collaborate on documents stored in SharePoint from these applications.

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