What’s the Difference Between OneDrive and SharePoint? - Quartet Service

What’s the Difference Between OneDrive and SharePoint?

What’s the Difference Between OneDrive and SharePoint?

OneDrive for Business (ODfB) and SharePoint Online (SP) are related components of Office 365, with overlapping architecture and features. If you use both OneDrive and SharePoint at work, it can get a little confusing.

The basics

The first thing to keep in mind is that there is a consumer version of OneDrive that is very different from the OneDrive for Business component of your Office 365 subscription at work. If you have an existing Microsoft account, you already have OneDrive.

Anyone can sign up for a OneDrive account with any email address and get free or paid storage for your documents, photos, videos, and other files. This is your personal or individual OneDrive account. Home Office 365 plans also include personal OneDrive. Once you have a personal OneDrive account, you may set it to sync with your device (computer, tablet, phone, and so on).

If you use an Office 365 plan at work, you have your own OneDrive for Business. Despite the same name, personal or consumer-facing OneDrive does not have any overlap with OneDrive for Business. See how Microsoft explains it here.

You access your OneDrive for Business via the Office 365 portal sign-in. You can also sync ODfB with your device, and then you’ll be able to access your files in a local folder titled “OneDrive – [Your Business Name]” or “OneDrive @ Your Business Name.” By default everything stored in OneDrive for Business is visible only to you, but you can share files with individuals, groups, or everyone in your organization.

Similarly, you will have access to SharePoint sites via your Office 365 portal. The launcher menu item Office 365 is called Sites. You can store documents and other files there, as well as share and collaborate with your teammates. SharePoint also has sync capabilities. Sounds pretty similar to OneDrive for Business, right? So, what’s the difference?

Note  From this point forward, we’ll be specifically covering OneDrive for Business, but one quick thing first. Remember how you can sign up for a personal/individual OneDrive using any email address? That includes your work email address. For example, I use a business Office 365 plan here at work with 365 Ninja. I sign in using my work email address, ninja@365ninja.com, in order to access ODfB and SharePoint. But I can also use ninja@365ninja.com to sign up for a personal OneDrive, which would be a totally separate account. Even though I may use the same email address and password to sign in, I can’t see my personal files in my business account and vice versa.

ODfB vs. SP

As mentioned, you can store, sync, and share files with both OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. This table explains some of the similarities and differences of these components of Office 365.

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  • Included in Office 365 Business plans
  • Available as a stand-alone service, and there is a similarly-named consumer version
  • Evolved from a service called SharePoint Workspace 2010, and before that Groove 2007

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  • Included in Office 365 Business plans
  • Available as a stand-alone service, but no consumer-facing version exists
  • Cloud-based version of the SharePoint service that dates back to Office XP

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So, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online: not exactly the same, yet not entirely different.

The real, noticeable differences will come with the way your workplace or department decides to use SharePoint. Organizations use SharePoint for project-based management sites, human resources portals, and more. OneDrive for Business uses SharePoint technology, but is better suited for storage and one-off sharing. Both of these components live in the cloud (it is Office 365, after all) and can sync files to your device so you can work anywhere.

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