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OneDrive and SharePoint Demystified: Choosing the Right Solution for Your Small Business

OneDrive and SharePoint are both cloud-based services provided by Microsoft, but they cater to different needs within a business.

Essentially, SharePoint is Microsoft’s original ‘Enterprise Management System’ and is an incredibly flexible product that, in the right hands, can be configured to suit almost any business purpose. One of its primary features is the ability to organise and store files in a library structure, and control access to these files using clearly defined rules and user groups.

This ability to share and manage a central file library makes SharePoint the ideal tool for businesses to store their ‘shared files’ – but is too cumbersome to configure to store individual user files (typically files that are being worked on and kept either in the user’s Desktop or Documents)


This is where OneDrive comes in; OneDrive is basically a slice of SharePoint that Microsoft has customised to store a user’s ‘personal’ files, and allows data stored in Desktop and Documents folders to be replicated to Cloud Storage and between devices.

Files stored in OneDrive can be shared with other users, but controlling access to these files quickly becomes very messy – which is why ‘Shared Files’ are better managed in SharePoint.

So, there you are – OneDrive and SharePoint are (to quote Kipling) ‘sisters under the skin’ but fulfil quite different roles, whilst perfectly complementing each other.


Here’s a simple breakdown to help you understand what each service does and how they differ:


What is OneDrive?

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud service designed for personal file storage. It allows you to store files in the cloud instead of on a local machine, making it easy to access them from any device and any location.

Key Features of OneDrive:

  • Personal Storage: OneDrive is ideal for storing your personal files, documents, images, and videos.
  • Backup and Sync: You can use OneDrive to back up your personal files from your computer or mobile device. It syncs across devices, ensuring your data is always accessible.
  • Free Storage: OneDrive offers 5GB of free storage.
  • Easy File Sharing: You can easily share files with others, ensuring they always have the latest version.
  • Security: By default, files stored in OneDrive are private, so only you can access them unless you choose to share them.


Use Case:

OneDrive is perfect for individual use. If you need a reliable backup for your files or want to ensure your documents are accessible from multiple devices, OneDrive is the solution for you.


What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a web-based application by Microsoft designed for team collaboration and content management. It allows organisations to store, organise, and manage a wide range of content and information.

Key Features of SharePoint:

  • Collaboration and Content Management: SharePoint supports team collaboration by allowing multiple users to work on documents, share information, and manage content in a structured way.
  • Intranet Sites and Websites: Organisations can use SharePoint to build intranet sites for internal communication and collaboration, as well as public-facing websites.
  • Customisation and Integration: SharePoint offers extensive customisation options and integrates well with other Microsoft 365 services and third-party applications. Users can create custom workflows, forms, and dashboards.
  • Document Libraries and Lists: It provides advanced document library features, including version control, metadata management, and permissions settings.
  • Enterprise Features: SharePoint includes enterprise-level features such as enterprise search, business process automation, and records management.                  

Use Case:

SharePoint is designed for team and enterprise use. It’s ideal for organisations that need robust document management, team collaboration tools, and the ability to create custom workflows and sites.

Key Differences

Scope of Use:

  • OneDrive: Geared towards individual use, providing personal cloud storage and basic collaboration capabilities.
  • SharePoint: Aimed at team and enterprise use, focusing on collaboration, document management, and content sharing across an organisation.

Customisation and Complexity:

  • OneDrive: Simpler, with fewer customisation options, ideal for individual users or small teams needing straightforward file storage and sharing.
  • SharePoint: Highly customisable with complex features suitable for large organisations. Requires more setup and management.

Integration with Other Systems:

  • OneDrive: Primarily integrates with Microsoft 365 apps, with less emphasis on extensive customisation or integration with third-party systems.
  • SharePoint: Integrates with a wide range of enterprise applications, supporting complex workflows and business processes.

Content Management:

  • OneDrive: Think of it as your personal digital filing cabinet. It’s great for storing and managing your files, like photos, documents, and videos. But it doesn’t have all the fancy features you’d find in a big corporate system.
  • SharePoint: Imagine this as a powerful tool for teamwork and organisation. It goes beyond basic storage. You can use it to organise files, add metadata (extra info about your files), and make sure everything complies with rules and regulations. It’s like having a smart assistant for managing content! 😊

In Summary

OneDrive is your go-to solution for personal storage, ensuring your files are backed up and accessible from anywhere. It’s simple, straightforward, and perfect for individual use.


SharePoint, on the other hand, is a powerful platform for team collaboration and content management within an organisation. It offers extensive customisation and advanced features to meet the needs of large teams and enterprises.


Choose OneDrive if you need personal cloud storage. Choose SharePoint if your focus is on team collaboration and document management within your organisation. 🌟

We hope you found this article useful; you might also like to check out our previous blog post on cloud services and how they can enhance your small business. If you run a small business in the North West of England and want more information about how to take advantage of Microsoft cloud-based solutions, then please get in touch.

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