• If you have faith in the security of the cloud and you’d like the added benefit of having Microsoft handle your software updates, you may find your solution in Microsoft 365, which offers both OneDrive and SharePoint capabilities from the cloud.
  • SharePoint Server offers the branding and UI control that Microsoft 365 doesn’t, without diminishing the power of its features.

The Microsoft ecosystem is always growing, and with that growth, you’ll find a lot of overlap between tools. Case in point: SharePoint and OneDrive are both project management platforms which allow you to share files.

Pinpointing the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint is difficult because the tools have so much in common. Nevertheless, when you compare them, you’ll notice they approach collaboration, file sharing, and project management in different ways.

      SharePoint   OneDrive
  Cloud-based Storage    
  On-premises Storage    
  Collaborative Documents    
  Shared Assets Library    
  Comments and @mentions    
  Mobile Document Scanning    
      Try SharePoint   Try OneDrive
onedrive logo

OneDrive is an online document/file cloud storage platform used by individuals and business teams who need a central location to store and access their document library. OneDrive’s versioning and sharing features make it easy to work together, so it’s more than an online filing cabinet.

Microsoft distinguishes between personal and work or school versions of the tool. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the work or school version, but do know that you can use a personal OneDrive account to store your personal files. The OneDrive app is available for download on your desktop or you can log in via a web browser.

sharepoint logo

Microsoft SharePoint is a collaboration tool for businesses that need multiple individuals and teams to work on Microsoft Office files, other documents, and products at the same time. Over the last few years, Microsoft released updates to their Microsoft 365 product (previously known as Office 365) that have absorbed SharePoint into the Microsoft 365 cloud computing platform. Therefore, there is no stand-alone SharePoint app available for download, but there is a SharePoint online login.



For this comparison, we’ll talk specifically about SharePoint as an on-premises solution, also known as SharePoint Server. If we discuss hybrid or cloud solutions, we’ll call those Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 includes both SharePoint features and the OneDrive cloud storage platform, making those available on any device from the cloud.

Note that both OneDrive and SharePoint are separate from (though compatible with) the company’s document creation software, including Microsoft Office, Office online, and Microsoft Dynamics.

Confused yet? Then let’s break down how SharePoint Server and OneDrive are implemented across your company, the features they share, and where they differ. Those distinctions will help you decide which version of the software is best for the type of work you need to do.

ALSO READ: 6 SharePoint Alternatives to Put on Your Shortlist

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Microsoft Office 365 Dashboard.

Why buy a stand-alone solution like SharePoint when you could get all the same features with Microsoft 365? The answer really has to do with the preferences of your IT department. Some developers prefer the security and control that come with locally installed software.

When you deploy SharePoint on your company’s servers, the company owns the look and feel of the software and controls when updates roll out. On the other hand, the company maintains responsibility for any security breaches and purchasing version updates since your IT owns the SharePoint server.

However, if your company takes more of an outsourcing approach to managed IT services and managed security, OneDrive might be a better fit since it doesn’t have to be hosted on-premises or require on-site IT professionals to set up the same way a SharePoint migration does.

ALSO READ: On-Premise vs Cloud Software (2023)

Businesses who purchase SharePoint as a stand-alone, on-premises option can also purchase OneDrive for document storage space and external sharing; although, all of those features are available in SharePoint Online. Cloud storage is helpful for teams that need easy mobile access or companies with a large remote workforce.

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Both SharePoint and OneDrive take similar approaches to securing shared files. Each platform encrypts files in transit and at rest, making them more difficult to breach. They also make it easy to roll back files or libraries to previous versions if you accidentally delete files or lose them in an attack. Additionally, they both include compliance features to help you adhere to regulatory requirements.

SharePoint also contains strong access controls to ensure multiple users only have access to the SharePoint files they need and to better segment the platform in case of a breach. With these partitions, your IT team can easily quarantine malicious files until they can be removed without running the risk of them infecting other parts of your company’s data. Because OneDrive offers single-user accounts, the access controls are less strenuous.

Businesses concerned with document safety, auditing, or regulatory compliance often find that SharePoint’s granular version control and user access settings help them control the security of their internal and customer data. While both Microsoft 365 and OneDrive offer document encryption to keep data safe from prying eyes, only SharePoint can offer the added security of a stand-alone server—but it requires your own IT professionals to host it on-premises.

Microsoft 365 (including all OneDrive platforms) offers granular access controls, so administrators can assign permissions across the platform. The entire Microsoft cloud and hybrid platform supports TLS and SHA-2 security protocols and no longer supports SSL security. Microsoft encrypts all of your data upon transfer to and from their servers as well as stores it on the Microsoft servers in encrypted form.

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OneDrive (for work and school) contains all of the original SharePoint document offerings, including workflows, auditing, templates, and version control. What it does not include are marketing resources, such as communication sites and social media connections.

The business owns the account, and each user is assigned an individual account under the business’s account where individual, private documents can be produced and stored before they are shared to the wider company audience. Note that Microsoft Teams cannot connect to a personal OneDrive file; you have to have a work or school OneDrive to share it with a team.

Many companies use SharePoint for organization-wide document and file collaboration. Both Microsoft 365 and the SharePoint Server offerings provide collaborative workflows and granular permissions to help you move content from idea to publication without skipping steps. Your marketing teams will appreciate SharePoint’s white label features that let you set up your intranet to match your branding. Microsoft 365 does not include these same branding features.

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Many companies use SharePoint’s engine to build and maintain their company website, internal documentation, and even web apps. The content management system (CMS) lets you publish your documents directly to your company website or make them available for access and download by customers or employees.

Many companies also use SharePoint’s internal analytics to build custom apps for employee or external use. You can build your company’s customer-facing website, help documentation, FAQ pages, or your employee portal right from the SharePoint interface using the documents your team shares.

OneDrive doesn’t offer the ability to publish your content to the web. While you can email links to documents, you cannot publish those documents directly to a web page from the OneDrive platform. You can make documents discoverable to your team, but you’ll need Microsoft 365 or another CMS/website platform to publish your work publicly.

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OneDrive gives different members of your team access to shared documents for storage and sharing and tracks versions, but it’s essentially an online folder system and does not include many of the extra features available in SharePoint and the larger Microsoft 365 cloud suite.

SharePoint gives your team a collaborative workspace with dashboards, calendars, tasks, notifications, and updates. The SharePoint platform keeps these located in a central portal associated with company sites.

You can set up a SharePoint site for each of your teams to access, with dashboards that give team and company notifications. You can also set up a corporate portal where searchable company-wide libraries and notifications live. Assign each employee a security level to allow access.

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The best software option for any company is the one that everyone can get behind. If you have faith in the security of the cloud and you’d like the added benefit of having Microsoft handle your software updates, you may find your solution in Microsoft 365, which offers both OneDrive and SharePoint capabilities from the cloud.

On the other hand, many companies still find comfort in the control of an on-premises solution. SharePoint Server offers the branding and UI control that Microsoft 365 doesn’t, without diminishing the power of its features.

Looking for a file-sharing solution and not feeling any of the options above? To help you find the right fit for your business, take a look at our File-Sharing Software Guide.

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