OneDrive for Business (OD4B) is the personal file storage area that each employee gets with an Office 365 subscription. OD4B is useful for saving personal (but work-related) files, initial document drafts, and files you need to share with a very small group of people.
OD4B is generally meant for you to store files that only you need. It can be good for keeping performance reviews, local copies of benefits documents, vacation planners, personal notes, travel receipts, and more. Many OD4B users also take advantage of the privacy it provides and start their document drafts in OD4B; once they’ve completed the draft and want input, they move the file to their SharePoint team site or to Teams so their colleagues can provide input and review.
OD4B is not a good tool for collaboration within teams or between many colleagues because the files are specific to the OD4B user who shared it. If that person leaves the organization, those files could eventually be deleted and lost. It’s also not uncommon that OD4B users who want to collaborate make permissions mistakes and provide access to more files than they intended. SharePoint, Teams, or Outlook Groups are better platforms for full-on collaboration.
OD4B provides upwards of 1 TB of space in the cloud (though this can be restricted by your administrator) and comes with a desktop sync tool so you can keep some or all of your cloud files on your computer for offline use. The sync tool also gives easy access to your files directly through File Explorer (Windows) and Finder (MacOS), directly through the Office apps, and can even be added as a file source in apps like Adobe Acrobat.
Files on Demand, a feature released in 2017, displays all cloud files in File Explorer or Finder regardless of whether they were actually downloaded, meaning you can view, open, edit, move, and copy files on your desktop even if they haven’t been downloaded.
The mobile app (iOS and Android) is top-notch and a very good way to access files from Office 365 when you don’t have access to your computer. For example, you can pretty easily present a PowerPoint file directly from your iPhone through a wireless network to a conference room monitor, all on the fly.
- What is OneDrive for Business? [Microsoft]
- Differences between the various OneDrive "experiences" [jumpto365 inforgraphic]
- When to use OneDrive versus SharePoint [jumpto365 infographic]
- OneDrive for Business Blog [Microsoft]
- OneDrive for Business Roadmap [Microsoft]
- OneDrive (consumer)
- Google Drive
- iCloud Drive
- Matt Wade, Office Services MVP