Cloud Storage and the Advantage of OneDrive for Business

December 09, 2016

MS Office 365, Feature Friday, Cloud Computing

By Raymond

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The concept of cloud computing is often mysterious and this is no different with Cloud Storage. Nowadays, there are dozens of cloud storage providers, Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive are most likely the brands most people are familiar with.

I remember the first time I saw Dropbox’s introduction video, it just made sense. Fast forward eight years and our mobile smartphone automatically saves photos to the cloud for safekeeping.

For businesses, cloud storage answered a number of questions and issues:

  1. How can I share and provide access to my clients/vendors to files that are too big for email?

  2. What can I use to replace my aging FTP server?

  3. Where can I find an easy to access but secure place to have staff and external clients & vendors store collaboration material for a project?

  4. How can I synchronize my data so that my personal files on my desktop, laptop and mobile device (tablet & smart phone) are always up to date?

What I’ve encountered is people will gravitate to whatever cloud storage they are familiar with. So for example, someone might open 1 or several free Dropbox accounts or Google Drives to accomplish the three issues I mentioned above. 

Over time the same issue seem to plague all my clients:

  1. They lost track of the login credential used for Dropbox or Google Drive account for Project ABC;

  2. The free cloud storage drive is now full;

  3. When I share files, Dropbox and Google drive require my client/vendor to create an account just to download the file.

Recently, the business case for Microsoft Office 365 plans has been positive for small / medium businesses. It is an excellent cost-effective way to provide business email and Microsoft Office software suite at more affordable prices. In all the Office 365 business plan levels, 1 TB of cloud storage space is already included. And it is affordable to add more storage space as required.

If you have an Office 365 business account for your company and staff, then you might want to consider using the OneDrive for Business prepackaged in your account.

There are some key things that separate the OneDrive for business from other competing cloud storage providers:
  1. OneDrive runs off a SharePoint backbone. For those unfamiliar with SharePoint, it enables you to have file version history for file changes.

  2. Files shared from OneDrive don’t require a OneDrive for business account to be created. Simply click the shared link and download.

  3. If you have an Office 365 Business Premium account, then SharePoint online is included and you can create “team sites” where documents have security permission controls. 

The team sites operate like the old internet sites. Combined with OneDrive for business, the lasting benefit of changing to the Microsoft cloud storage is the scalability of SharePoint. If you create team sites that reflected your departments then documents stored will allow your groups to stay organized as your grow. OneDrive for Business syncs from the cloud storage to local computer and can accommodate data sharing when you build more branches.  

Lastly, if your industry or business model doesn’t permit the use of cloud storage due to security regulations there is another solution - Citrix ShareFile. This allows you to utilize the web-enabled site to manage files and file sync application that will down and sync to your computer or mobile device, but not have any or your files hosted in cloud.   ShareFile is a “cloud like” storage access solution where the files are stored on an on-premise server. File access permissions and sharing are available just like the other cloud storage solutions. The key is your files never actually get stored outside of your organization’s servers. However, you get the benefits of Dropbox and OneDrive for Business.

 


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Tags: MS Office 365, Feature Friday, Cloud Computing

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