Microsoft OneDrive for Business is one of the leading cloud platforms available on the market today. It’s used by over 85% of Fortune 500 companies, including Chevron, Good Year, and Nestle.
The range of data, security, and collaboration features make it an attractive option for many organisations of all sizes. This includes small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), medical facilities, educational institutes, charities, and even SOEs.
For organisations already using Microsoft products (such as Office and SharePoint), OneDrive for Business is often the obvious choice when expanding to the cloud.
In this article aimed at SMBs in South Africa, we explore six benefits of Microsoft OneDrive for Business.
What is OneDrive for Business?
Previously named SkyDrive Pro, OneDrive for Business is a comprehensive cloud solution by Microsoft.
It enables the centralised and streamlined storage, sharing, synchronisation, management, and securing of files in the cloud. As such, it comes with all the benefits of business cloud storage – and far more powerful features.
OneDrive for Business is available as a standalone product, or as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription alongside other services such as Exchange, SharePoint, and/or Office apps like Word and Excel.
Notably – OneDrive for Business is not the same as OneDrive. OneDrive is free, linked to a Microsoft personal account, and is not managed by a parent entity such as a business or university. OneDrive expressly lacks most business-essential features.
6 Benefits of MS OneDrive for Business
Seamless Integration with Microsoft Apps
OneDrive for Business integrates extremely well with other Microsoft apps, i.e., the popular suite of Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams, PowerPoint, and Access.
Just finished in Excel and need to email the spreadsheet to a customer? There’s no need to exit Excel and head over to Outlook.
With files in OneDrive for Business, you can email directly from the current app because file storage, contacts, global address lists, calendar events, and more are all connected and synced behind the scenes. Equally so, file storage changes happen automatically in OneDrive when working with attachments in other Microsoft 365 apps.
OneDrive for Business also features numerous third-party integrations. Save employees time and boost productivity by leveraging integrations with prevalent business software like Sage 50cloud Pastel, Xero, Autodesk, Slack, Zoom, DocuSign, HubSpot CRM, Salesforce, and more.
All cloud-based storage platforms carry intrinsic risks to cybersecurity. OneDrive for Business is no exception. However, it does offer powerful enterprise-grade security measures that mitigate multiple risk factors:
Access Control. Regulate data access by individual users, employee types, IP addresses, country/region, device, application, authentication type, and more granular settings. For example, only allow access from users on company-owned devices whilst on the company network. Sharing permissions can also be regulated – control whether certain employees can share certain data and if so, whether internally, externally, or to approved recipients only.
Encryption in Transit and Rest. Microsoft datacentres employ some of the strongest encryption standards available. Files are encrypted with SSL/TLS protocols in transit with connections established using 2048-bit-keys. At rest, files are protected with both BitLocker and per-file encryption.
Threat Monitoring Systems. Proactive monitoring identifies and mitigates security threats in real-time before they become a problem. The system runs 24/7. In the event of a security threat, say, an attempted illicit transfer of data to a suspicious source at 2 AM on a Sunday, the operation will be automatically detected and blocked.
OneDrive for Business is device agnostic. In other words, it is fully supported across a variety of devices and operating systems including smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, it has low system requirements.
It’s thus great for onboarding legacy systems, remote employees, and BYOD setups onto a company-wide OneDrive infrastructure without the hassle of compatibility and performance issues. Many SMBs can get started on OneDrive for Business without the need for purchasing new devices or investing in costly hardware, server, and OS upgrades.
- Windows PCs, laptops, and tablets (Windows 7 or later)
- Apple Mac devices (Apple macOS Big Sur 11.0 or later)
- Apple iPhones and iPads (iOS 14.0 / iPadOS 14.0 or later)
- Android smartphones and tablets (Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later)
- Windows Server 2012 or later
OneDrive for Business is a fixed-fee subscription service.
There is no capital outlay paid to Microsoft in order to get started. (But depending on the size and/or complexity of your business, it’s might be best to work with a managed IT service provider (like iSite Computers) to guide setup and management for you.)
Subscriptions are tiered, which allows companies to directly control and scale according to business and budget requirements.
OneDrive for Business can be paid for directly in South African rands. Billing is therefore not subject to USD fluctuations and currency conversion fees are also avoided.
Version history generates a running list of changes to a file that can be reviewed and restored to a previous point in time. Any edits to a file (including every file format from Word documents to PDFs to videos, etc.) are saved as their own independent version.
This can help project managers track and benchmark a project as it progresses; View exactly which employees made what changes and when. Version history enables rolling back to an earlier version in the case of data loss, accidental edits, hardware corruption, or cybersecurity issues like ransomware.
Additionally, OneDrive for Business features a multi-stage deletion process. Files and folders deleted from the recycle bin are moved to a second-stage bin where it remains for 93 days before actual deletion. The second-stage bin is under admin/owner control.
It’s thus a valuable tool when dealing with accidental or malicious deletions by employees or cybercriminals.
Ready to Get Started with OneDrive for Business?
iSite Computers is here to help.
We are an official Microsoft Partner and a managed IT services provider in South Africa. We can answer your questions on OneDrive for Business and help your business get started with minimised stress, risks, and costs.