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What Is Microsoft OneDrive And How Can It Be Used?

Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud and more – there are many cloud services these days. Microsoft’s branded option in the cloud storage market is called OneDrive. What can OneDrive do? Does the cloud solution score in terms of data protection? Does the service tend to be used for private or business purposes? We took a close look at OneDrive…

With the help of the OneDrive cloud service offered by Microsoft, data can be uploaded to online storage – or, as the saying goes: “store in the cloud”. As in any cloud storage service, files can be stored in Microsoft OneDrive so that they can be called up from any location – whether via browser, client application or OneDrive app, which is available for Windows Phone, iOS and Android. With OneDrive you have photos and files anywhere and on any device – super practical!

However, cloud storage is not only useful in order to be able to access data from anywhere: Especially in the event of a loss or defect in the end device, it is very valuable if all relevant files are stored in another location, for example in OneDrive . A function that is enormously useful both personally for photos, videos & Co., as well as for Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and other business files. However, this does not replace a backup.

So that all data is always in sync everywhere, you can easily create a OneDrive folder on your computer. All files that are moved to this folder are then automatically located in the OneDrive cloud. The moment data is added, changed or deleted from any storage location, it is automatically synchronized to any other storage location. The only requirement for this: a connection to the Internet.

For an optimal exchange with others, files and photos from OneDrive can be easily shared – whether it’s the grandson’s birthday photo that you want to send to grandma or the annual report that you want to send to the employer to look through. Instead of sending a file via e-mail or dragging it onto the USB stick and thus ensuring a duplicate of the file, whoever you want to make the file available to is simply sent a direct link to the file in OneDrive sent – this is super direct and at the same time ensures that no avoidable copies of files are made.

What can the business version of OneDrive do?

In addition to the OneDrive standard solution, Microsoft also offers a product called “OneDrive for Business”. This is a cloud storage service from Microsoft, which was specially developed for use in companies and was therefore optimally customized for teamwork. The cloud option is based primarily on Microsoft SharePoint technology and can therefore do much more than a “normal” cloud storage service: You can use OneDrive for Business to work with different people in real time on the same document – co-authoring is the name of the efficient approach that makes great teamwork of the future possible.

OneDrive works hand in hand with Microsoft applications – especially with Office 365 or Microsoft 365. For example, a PowerPoint presentation that user A has stored in OneDrive can be viewed and revised by user B via a browser without user B having to set up PowerPoint on the PC. And user C can watch from the other side of the world and comment on the changes. Those capabilities make teamwork immensely easier, especially in those where part of the team is Microsoft users and the other part is Mac users. As a result of the automatic data synchronization of OneDrive, all colleagues can always access the current version when working collaboratively without having to first manually obtain the latest version.

An additional advantage of OneDrive for Business: Versioning is available to users. Users can therefore reconstruct old, previously saved versions of the Office documents that are in OneDrive. By default, the last 500 versions of a document are automatically backed up in the background and can be used again if necessary.

How secure is Microsoft OneDrive?

First of all, you have to accept that for a method like OneDrive, in which sensitive, confidential data is stored – whether personal or business sphere – the topic of data security is an essential role. It must also be clear who can (at least theoretically) gain insight into the data stored in OneDrive.

What is the status quo? Well, OneDrive has standard SSL encryption when transferring documents – once stored on the server, 256bit AES encryption is used to protect the data. If you also want to encrypt the data in OneDrive, tools such as Boxcryptor or Microsoft BitLocker can be helpful as an extension for the secure use of OneDrive in the company. OneDrive for Business also offers two-factor authentication, which ensures that only authorized users can gain access to files – an advanced and widely recognized option that ensures unauthorized people are denied access to the OneDrive cloud can. In addition, a simple but important measure to protect against hackers:

Where is the data stored? This is a very important question, because if the data in OneDrive is hosted on American web servers, then this is extremely questionable from a data protection perspective, especially with regard to the strict requirements of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It would therefore be unthinkable for European companies to use it without abusing the applicable data protection regulations. Microsoft is of course aware of the current state of affairs. Therefore, the data of all companies that use OneDrive for Business and are based in Europe are stored on servers in data centers in the EU.

If you are looking for precise information about where Microsoft stores which data, you will find it on that page . All locations of the data centers used by Microsoft are listed here for each Microsoft service used. The data of users of the OneDrive for Business service who have a billing address in Germany is therefore only hosted in Germany.

Cloud storage services in general are mostly criticized for alleged privacy concerns. However, Microsoft cannot be accused of a lack of transparency or a poor implementation of the topic of IT security with their service OneDrive for Business – even if the company has its headquarters in the USA. Nevertheless, it should be said at this point that by confirming the OneDrive terms of use, Microsoft obtains the right to sift through the customer’s data automatically. This measure serves to find files that show “inappropriate” content. If the Microsoft crawler finds information that violates the guidelines, there is a risk of account suspension. If, as a new parent, you store the very first photo of the newborn baby in your personal OneDrive cloud, PhotoDNA technology could track down the respective photo and classify it as inadequate. The discussion about the extent to which those scans that are independent of suspicion make sense and are legally permitted at all has been going on for a long time – so far with different results. But the fact is: If you use OneDrive, you agree to the use of this technology and the fully automatic scan of your own data – you should know this if you use the tool or plan to use it.

If you are motivated to use OneDrive in your company, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can train you in handling OneDrive, support you in adapting access management and ensure that you use OneDrive for Business securely. If necessary, we also support you with data migration and setting up a filing structure – whatever it is: We are your contact for everything to do with Microsoft OneDrive!

Also Read: Secure The Cloud With Best Practices

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