Microsoft OneDrive is a powerful cloud storage service that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365’s native applications. Intuitive and functional apps are available across most mobile and web-enabled devices, making digital collaboration on the go simple.
Our Microsoft OneDrive review outlines the platform’s main features, explores the various pricing options available, and helps you decide whether the platform is suited to your business’ needs.
- Read our guide to the best cloud backup services
Microsoft OneDrive has come a long way in recent years, and its interface now does well against competitors such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud.
The strength of OneDrive is in its simplicity. OneDrive operates seamlessly on Windows 10, while the Android and iOS applications are well integrated and intuitive to use. Even the macOS application functions well and shouldn’t cause headaches for organizations using Apple devices.
As could be expected, the Windows 10 operating system is where Microsoft OneDrive is most at home. Pre-installed on Windows laptop and desktop computers, OneDrive automatically backs up all critical data and documents on your computer and ensures they are stored safely and securely in the cloud. When using Windows 10 with OneDrive, there is little need to access the online OneDrive interface because all your OneDrive documents are conveniently located on your computer’s file explorer application.
When you’re accessing Microsoft OneDrive from a remote location, however, the web interface becomes crucial. Although not as well polished as the computer or mobile applications, the web interface is still intuitive to use and makes accessing data simple. It is easy to drag and drop documents between folders, share a file with colleagues, or download a document. Accessing the online version of OneDrive is as simple as entering your Microsoft account username and password.
On mobile devices, OneDrive is similarly easy to use. A menu at the bottom of the application makes it easy to choose between Files (where you can access all the documents stored on the drive), Recent (recently edited documents), Shared (documents shared with collaborators or colleagues), and Me (account details and settings).
Microsoft OneDrive isn’t exactly loaded with features, but that’s one of the things we like most about the platform. In keeping features to a minimum, OneDrive provides a simple yet powerful service for businesses that performs as promised. The few available features have been carefully implemented and accentuate the functionality of the application. There are, nonetheless, some useful and exciting features worth mentioning.
To enhance digital cooperation, OneDrive features autosaving of all documents and enables users to collaborate simultaneously on a single document. When teams are progressively editing a shared document throughout the day, this feature is crucial. With OneDrive, there’s no need to email versions of a document back and forth, with the service ensuring all users have access to the latest version.
OneDrive also includes document scanning. This feature enables users to create professional-looking scans of business cards, contracts, and even whiteboards, all from within the OneDrive application. Users can also create multi-page PDFs documents using the scanning feature. Document scanning is a useful tool that can save time that would otherwise be spent in the printing room, scanning page after page.
OneDrive also integrates advanced search capabilities into its mobile, desktop, and web-based applications. Users can not only search for specific words mentioned in documents but also use OneDrive to detect text contained in images. Artificial intelligence technology will even enable users to search for landmarks or particular objects contained in images.
However, one of the things we like most about Microsoft OneDrive is the Vault feature. This enables users to secure valuable or sensitive data behind a second security wall within OneDrive.
The Vault is secured by multi-factor authentication and requires the user to provide biometric data (fingerprint/face scan) or enter a security code sent to the user’s email address or mobile number. Users can also use the Microsoft Authenticator app to access the Vault. So even if an account is compromised, the additional security layer provided by the Vault should ensure that the most critical data remains secure and inaccessible.
Mobile and Web
Microsoft OneDrive has been designed for use on a laptop or desktop computer, where it can operate alongside the local hard drive. However, the mobile and web-based applications are crucial in ensuring OneDrive can deliver a cross-platform cloud storage solution for businesses. Weak mobile and web integration would result in a platform too heavily reliant on the desktop application. Fortunately, and as we alluded to earlier, the mobile and web-based applications for OneDrive perform admirably.
Even without the standalone Microsoft 365 applications, users can view documents using the OneDrive application on the mobile app or the web interface. It is also easy to share or download any file stored on the drive.
Although it is impossible to edit documents directly from the OneDrive application, clicking on a document will open either the mobile or web-based Microsoft 365 application automatically. This is particularly useful for when you are on the go and cannot access your regular laptop or desktop computer, or for when you need to make an urgent change to a document while using your mobile device.
Pricing and verdict
The easiest way to access OneDrive for your business is with a Microsoft 365 subscription. For $12.50 user/month, users gain access to the full range of Microsoft 365 applications, including OneDrive. Using OneDrive alongside the other Microsoft 365 applications enables businesses to make full use of OneDrive’s digital collaboration and file sharing features. And with 1TB of included storage per user, companies are unlikely to require additional storage space and can rely on OneDrive for all their cloud storage needs.
For businesses wanting to access OneDrive as a standalone product, there are two options: OneDrive for Business Plan 1 and Plan 2. OneDrive for Business Plan 1 costs $5 user/month and provides 1TB of storage space per user, as well as all the features mentioned earlier. For $10 user/month, businesses can purchase OneDrive for Business Plan 2. This package provides unlimited storage space and advanced security and data protection features.
We would, however, discourage businesses from purchasing the standalone OneDrive packages because of the lack of integrated Microsoft 365 applications. This makes the platform challenging to use (other than for simple storage space). OneDrive relies on Microsoft applications for most of its functionality and is a less impressive product without them.
Businesses looking for a cheaper cloud storage solution would do best to consider a service such as Google Drive. Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage or 100GB for $1.99 per month. With free access to integrated Google web-based applications such as Google Docs and Google Slides, Google Drive may suit the needs of businesses that don’t need or want the premium Microsoft 365 package.
When bundled with Microsoft 365, however, OneDrive is a powerful cloud storage service that is reliable and secure. It makes digital collaboration and file sharing easy, and for businesses requiring a comprehensive cloud storage and digital workspace solution, Microsoft 365 is close to best-in-class. Integration with Microsoft 365’s native applications separates OneDrive from many of its competitors. Features such as the Vault and document scanning are easy to set up and use, while a broad range of intuitive and well-designed applications attest to OneDrive’s cross-platform functionality.
- Check out our guide to the best cloud storage options for personal and business use