Microsoft has created so many products that many people use on a daily — if not hourly — basis, that sometimes the company’s products almost end up competing against each other. That’s the case with SharePoint vs OneDrive.
SharePoint serves as a tool for building websites, but it also gives users the ability to share, store, and organize files and other data in the cloud. OneDrive also serves as a tool for storing files in the cloud, giving you access to your items from anywhere.
So which one will fit your business situation better? We will break down the key considerations in the SharePoint vs OneDrive comparison.
Our Recommendation: Get SharePoint
For its strong online storage features, its ease of allowing project collaboration, and its ability to deliver website building and intranet building, we would recommend SharePoint as the better option for the majority of businesses users.
We appreciate SharePoint’s ability to create and publish documents directly to your company website or to your company intranet, using the built-in content management system (CMS). This feature alone makes document sharing with clients and coworkers incredibly easy. You also have the option to add apps to your internal pages or to your website pages, which can be extremely handy.
Collaboration is where SharePoint truly shines, though. Setting up projects with to-do lists, shared documents, calendars, and many other features is a piece of cake in SharePoint.
Certainly, there are situations where OneDrive will fit the needs of your business better than SharePoint. But for those businesses that have more than the most basic needs from cloud storage, SharePoint’s extra features are going to yield the far more desirable option.
We like the interface SharePoint uses to deliver its features just a bit more than we like using OneDrive as well, but that doesn’t mean every business will feel the same way.
Even though we have recommended SharePoint, the best option for many businesses may be to use both OneDrive and SharePoint as part of Microsoft 365. With a subscription to Microsoft 365, you gain access to both services, allowing you to take advantage of the benefits of each one.
When to Get OneDrive Instead
If your employees often work individually rather than collaboratively, and if you want a simple cloud storage option for them, the fact that OneDrive has fewer features than SharePoint can be a significant advantage, as OneDrive has fewer processes to go through and far less clutter to navigate. In a situation like this, you may want to choose OneDrive in the SharePoint vs OneDrive comparison.
In its basic form, OneDrive is a cloud storage system for individual users. You can use OneDrive to create folders to organize your files and documents, just as you would with a local hard drive storage area. Because of this, some people choose to sync their local hard drive with the OneDrive account, recreating the file and folder organization they’re already using. This use case allows for creating automatic backups of your data offsite, which is a nice way to protect your files.
By placing files in OneDrive, you can make them available on any of your devices at any time (as long as they’re connected to the Internet), which can be advantageous for you versus only having your files on a local hard drive, meaning you would have to be sitting in front of the computer to access them. You also can give others access to your OneDrive files by sharing links to them, allowing for collaboration.
Additionally, OneDrive does have one lower priced tier and one free tier, which SharePoint cannot match, so if you don’t need the extra features with SharePoint, saving money with OneDrive is a nice option. (The inexpensive tiers on OneDrive will be made for individuals, rather than for business users, but small businesses or sole proprietorships can certainly use these tiers.)
Although we would recommend OneDrive over SharePoint in a few circumstances, if you are already using SharePoint in your business and your employees are happy with it, there really is no reason to switch to OneDrive. The features found in OneDrive are similar enough to what you can also do in SharePoint that we can’t recommend making a switch unless you have a really compelling reason.
When purchased as standalone products, SharePoint and OneDrive have a similar price point for their basic services, but because SharePoint gives you a more extensive feature set, we have to give SharePoint the edge here.
Both SharePoint and OneDrive are available for a standalone purchase for businesses for either $5 or $10 per user per month. However, a SharePoint purchase includes access to limited OneDrive features, while a OneDrive purchase only includes OneDrive, so we’d go with SharePoint.
If you are a Microsoft 365 Business subscriber, you will receive access to both OneDrive and SharePoint as part of your subscription, so you don’t have to worry about the standalone price at that point.
Free or Inexpensive Option
If you only have basic cloud storage needs for your small business, where you don’t need extensive file collaboration, One Drive does offer a free version. It’s primarily made for individuals rather than businesses, but a small business certainly could use it.
OneDrive has a free version for up to 5 GB of cloud storage and a version that costs $1.99 per month for up to up to 100 GB of cloud storage. SharePoint does not have a free version.
For those businesses that have extensive requirements for protecting shared customer data and files, SharePoint provides far more control over those files as you’re sharing them than OneDrive provides.
Essentially, SharePoint can treat the files and data as if you are storing them on a separate server, making them less susceptible to security issues. SharePoint provides additional control over the user settings, giving administrators the ability to determine which user has access to which files. Additionally, SharePoint allows for specific control over the security features on each file, which may be beneficial for your usage needs.
OneDrive offers the same encryption capabilities that you find in Microsoft 365, so it has a strong, basic level of security. However, OneDrive cannot match the file-specific security features found with SharePoint.
With the ability to collaborate with coworkers on projects, to share files, and to keep all of the projects well organized, SharePoint has a huge advantage over OneDrive in this area.
If you need to be able to collaborate easily, select SharePoint. OneDrive does not have any built-in features made for managing collaboration between employees, other than making notes in files and working on the files together.
With SharePoint, those employees working on a project together will gain access to things like calendars, to-do task lists, and dashboards for managing projects. These tools work nicely for keeping employees engaged and notified about all deadlines. Yet, SharePoint also has the same collaborative tools for making notes in files and for working on files together that you will find in OneDrive.
Additionally, SharePoint allows the person who creates a file to set up the permission levels for coworkers and others. This means that other users do not need to make a request to the document creator to be able to access the document, nor does the creator need to set up file sharing links for other people. This saves quite a bit of time and hassle, further enhancing the case for using SharePoint in these types of situations.
OneDrive simply cannot match the extra tools found with SharePoint that make collaborating and working on projects together easier among those in your organization. You can think of SharePoint as a project management tool, because of its outstanding collaborative features, as well as a cloud storage tool.
Working With Other Microsoft 365 Tools
As an added advantage when collaborating under SharePoint, it allows you to incorporate other features within Microsoft 365, including Teams and Yammer. SharePoint even allows administrators to set up team sites where members of the particular teams have the ability to access all of the project’s files and see the progress of the project. Those who are not members of the team will not have access, further simplifying collaboration and strengthening security.
It also is easy to share files between OneDrive and SharePoint, should you be using both of these services. Should you start with files for a project in OneDrive, and should the project begin to grow, requiring collaboration between multiple people and more tools than OneDrive provides, you may need to move the files over to SharePoint, for example, which is an easy process.
Ultimately, SharePoint lives up to its name by making it incredibly easy for members of your organization to share data and collaborate.
Because OneDrive is part of a SharePoint standalone subscription, there are times where using OneDrive is a good idea, even if you own SharePoint.
One such use case occurs when you are working on files that you do not want to share with others. Because SharePoint is such a strong collaborative tool, sharing files with others may occur automatically, even when you don’t necessarily mean to share them, because of the settings you may have in place.
But with OneDrive, you can keep your files private far easier than with SharePoint, because OneDrive is set up to keep your files private until you choose to share them. This might be a good idea when you are just starting to work on the nuances of a project, and you don’t want others to see your work until you are ready to present the project.
If you’re looking for another significant advantage for SharePoint in the OneDrive vs SharePoint comparison, the ability to publish your documents directly to your business’ external website or intranet makes SharePoint the clear winner.
SharePoint contains a CMS that simplifies web publishing (either internal or external). You also can use SharePoint to create documents that you will make available to customers or employees for immediate download through the company website or through the intranet. SharePoint makes this process so easy that we would not recommend selecting OneDrive if you need this feature.
OneDrive has no ability to publish documents directly to your website, as it does not have a built-in CMS.
Synching to a Local Computer
Regardless of whether you are using OneDrive or SharePoint as your primary cloud storage option for your files, you have the ability to sync the local storage on your computer’s hard drive with your cloud storage account. It is equally easy to sync your hard drive through either SharePoint or OneDrive.