OneDrive vs. SharePoint: What's the Difference?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 14, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

OneDrive and SharePoint are both cloud file management platforms made by Microsoft. Knowing some optimal ways to manage data based on the specific needs of your field can boost your productivity. By comparing these two programs, you can determine which option works better for you. In this article, we discuss what OneDrive and SharePoint are, explore their similarities and differences and provide tips for choosing which to use.

What is OneDrive?

OneDrive is an online platform that allows individual users to store files and documents from a PC computer's hard drive to a remote database. It grants you access to these files from a Microsoft account on any device connected to the internet. It also gives users the option to access some files offline, which may be useful in locations with limited internet coverage. The two types of OneDrive are:

1. OneDrive for personal use

This cloud space allows users to store and access their personal files. It provides one terabyte of storage and allows you to share files with other users instantly. This type of OneDrive can also synchronize any documents on a computer's local hard drive with files in its remote storage system.

2. OneDrive for business

This service adds additional features to help business users conduct tasks at the workplace. For example, it requires an administrator to manage a remote storage system and allow employees access to files. It also provides five terabytes of storage space and allows multiple users to work on a document simultaneously.

Related: How To List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a collaboration tool that allows multiple users to work together, helping an organization manage its access to information and automate workflow processes. It can also integrate with external applications, so organizations can also use it as a dashboard to communicate and share resources. SharePoint often helps remote team members work on the same tasks simultaneously, as an administrator can give users access permission from any device and location.

Some of SharePoint's main features are:

  • It provides a portal that you can use to create an internal corporate website.

  • It can work as internal customer relationship management (CRM) software, allowing users to add tasks and monitor their completion status.

  • It provides users with dedicated collaboration spaces where they can edit files, track a project's progress and share online resources.

  • It allows users to automate business operations by programming the software to run a list of tasks without manual guidance.

Related: How To Use SharePoint in Project Management

OneDrive vs. SharePoint

When comparing OneDrive to SharePoint, some of the most important aspects to consider are:

Similarities between OneDrive and SharePoint

Some of the main common traits of both platforms are:

  • They both offer cloud storage. Both OneDrive and SharePoint allow users to store their data in Microsoft's cloud space. Storing data on dedicated servers with multiple layers of security makes it safe and easy to access from any location using an internet-connected device.

  • They both offer high degrees of data security. Both OneDrive and SharePoint protect user data by using highly advanced encryption methods. If a user sends data to either platform's server, a resulting encryption process makes it unreadable for any third party seeking to intercept it, allowing the data to reach its destination safely.

  • They both allow users from multiple locations to work together. These applications are cloud-based, meaning people from different geographical locations and time zones can collaborate on the same project or share documents on one server.

Related: How To Send Large Files

Differences between OneDrive and SharePoint

Some of the main differences between the two platforms are:

  • Personal storage vs. collaborative storage: Although OneDrive can give multiple users editing access to a document, its main purpose involves allowing users to work individually from any internet-connected device. SharePoint focuses more on teamwork efforts, as employers can interact on the same dashboard and track their progress as a group.

  • Storage systems vs. a company intranet: OneDrive mainly focuses on storing files in a large, remote server. SharePoint allows businesses to both store cloud-based files and create an intranet system, which is a group of internal webpages only employers and company stakeholders can access to share resources between departments.

  • Document storage vs. a shared assets library: OneDrive allows users to edit and share documents, while Sharepoint also includes a digital repository for completed files. For example, a landlord might use Sharepoint to send contracts and other forms of legal paperwork to a tenant, who can only alter the documents by adding their signature.

  • Mobile vs. computer scanning function: OneDrive users can use their smartphones or other similar devices to scan and upload documents into a remote storage system. Sharepoint primarily requires computer systems, like a desktop or laptop.

  • Remote vs. local storage systems: OneDrive only allows data storage on its own servers, meaning users connect with Microsoft's remote storage system to open files. Sharepoint gives users the option to save and manage files on a company's internal servers instead.

Related: 13 Process Mapping Tools for Effective Management

Tips for choosing between OneDrive and SharePoint

When trying to decide between OneDrive and SharePoint, consider following these tips:

  • Use OneDrive if you usually work with personal files. If you store files and documents independently from workplace tasks, like resumes or portfolios, OneDrive can help you streamline your editing process. For example, it can allow you to work on a writing portfolio on devices in the workplace, then edit the same documents on devices at home.

  • Use SharePoint if your work is part of a larger collaborative effort. SharePoint is often more helpful for editing files alongside colleagues and publishing documents that everyone in a team can individually access. Its intranet system can also allow a company's departments to view important information, like client specifications, which can help them work together efficiently.

  • Use both programs if you have independent tasks that you also share with a team. If you typically share independent files with team members, you can consider using both solutions. After using OneDrive to complete a project on your own, you might upload it into SharePoint so colleagues can edit your work and provide you with feedback through an internal webpage.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned above are affiliated with Indeed.

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