How your business can benefit from OneDrive

OneDrive for Business is part of Microsoft’s cloud storage platform, providing online and offline access to your files. It allows you to store, share and edit your documents and media quickly and easily. And, because it’s in the cloud, you can do that whenever and wherever you want.

It comes with 1TB (1,024GB) of cloud storage and can be accessed from any number of devices; desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Why does it matter?

Technology is changing the way we do business. To keep up with this progress, the workplace must change with it. Mobile working, collaboration, and security are moving businesses away from traditional local “on premise” solutions. Keeping your data safe is vital, but a business that can’t adapt is also a business that will soon also find itself unable to compete.

As part of Microsoft’s cloud platform, OneDrive offers businesses access to enterprise-grade solutions at a fraction of the traditional price. This means you can take advantage of its benefits, helping you stay competitive in your market.

How does it work?

OneDrive acts as a kind of My Documents folder in the cloud. Instead of saving files to a local hard disk, they are saved to one of Microsoft’s data centres. This highly secure environment means your files can only be accessed by you or those you choose to share them with. 

By storing your data in the cloud rather than on a device – laptop, desktop, phone – you can work with more flexibility and security. It changes the focus from “which device do I need to use to access that data?” to “which device do I want to use to access that data?”

So when you want to access a document, you can. Regardless of whether you’re at your desktop or have your work laptop, the file will be there for you to login and work with. And when you’re done, you simply save your changes and they are replicated back to the cloud. This means you see the same version of the file wherever you are.

The same is true if you want to share a document with someone else. Rather than emailing them a copy, you can give them access to the same version as you. When you want to check changes, you can compare versions of the document. If you want to work together, you can co-edit the same document.

This functionality – and far more – is made possible by the cloud-based nature of OneDrive for Business. But there is also a local component to the service.

The OneDrive client

The cloud is great, but sometimes you need – or want – to work locally. When you have poor or no internet connectivity, for example. This is where OneDrive’s client application comes into play.

This application is installed on your device – laptop, say – and allows you to sync local data between that location and the cloud. This means if you make changes to a local version of a file, it will remember that and update the cloud version as well. Or vice versa. And if you update both differently, it will ask you which changes you want to keep and then discard the rest.

The client can perform other functions, some of which depend on the kind of device you have. On a smartphone, the mobile app gives you a file browser interface for your OneDrive data.

On a laptop or desktop, it gives you its own browser, but also creates a OneDrive folder in your normal Windows File Explorer interface, providing seamless navigation between drives and folders.

Online Web Application

As part of the Office 365 suite of products, OneDrive can also be used in a ‘cloud only’ mode. This is done through a browser portal and integrates with Microsoft’s other 365 products, such as Word, Excel and Outlook.

When working this way, all you need is access to a browser – you don’t even need the local applications to open your files. You simply log in via the web portal and start working, with access to your emails and ability to work with your documents.

With all your applications and data in the cloud, you are also gaining a powerful business continuity service. If you find yourself with either too much or too little water in your office, you can continue working from somewhere dry and with toilets.

How can my business benefit?

Here are some examples of how businesses are already benefiting from integrating OneDrive for Business into how they work.

Collaborate more – Realtime collaboration on projects and documents has never been so easy. Local and Online Web App versions of applications like Word and Excel allow co-editing by multiple users. You can see which part of a document is being worked on by which user. Even if you are working separately, you know there is one ‘live’ version of the document, with a version history and change tracking.

Work more flexibly – OneDrive for Business is the foundation for Office 365’s mobile working features. Being able to work from any device is only useful if you have access to your data. With OneDrive, you do. If you’re using Office 365 and not working with OneDrive, you’re only using a small fraction of its potential. Potential you are already paying for as part of your Office 365 subscription!

Don’t lose data – OneDrive stores data in Microsoft’s data centres, which keep multiple copies of each file on independent hardware. Syncing your data between your devices and OneDrive means you could drop your laptop in the bath and your data wouldn’t be lost. You shouldn’t, but you could. You have a spare copy of everything, just in case.

Don’t lose control – With billions spent on security every year, Microsoft Azure is the most secure cloud anywhere in the world. Because “it’s gone” isn’t the only kind of data loss – cybercriminal activity is now far more interested in stealing data than destroying it. OneDrive uses the Fort Knox of cloud services to help keep unwanted hands off your data.

How do I get OneDrive for Business?

The best way to buy OneDrive for Business is through an Office 365 license. The most popular are Business Premium or Enterprise E3. And if you’re just dipping a toe into the cloud, you can start with Business Essentials, which can fit any budget and gives access to OneDrive, Exchange Online and the online versions of Word, Excel and Outlook.

To learn more about how you can use OneDrive to get more for your business, give us a call on 01235 426700 or pop an email to enquiries@riverbank.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help!