Using SharePoint and OneDrive to Save, Share, and Access Documents

Microsoft Office 365 offers two main file sharing systems, namely SharePoint Online and OneDrive. The two systems work in tandem with each other to streamline file sharing. You may consider OneDrive as the backend storage and SharePoint as the frontend interface. For example, when you send a sharing link from your OneDrive folder, the URL will link to SharePoint Online.

SharePoint Vs. OneDrive

Microsoft SharePoint provides a means to collaborate with employees through an internal website that is accessible from any PC or mobile phone. It can store, manage, and transmit files to users with different levels of access and permissions. Besides, SharePoint is highly customizable and comes with apps for adding capabilities, web design tools for creating websites, an app store with integration capabilities outside of Microsoft, and the ability to adapt any site to specific users.

OneDrive, on the other hand, enables you to save your files and folders and access them from any computing device, anywhere. You can enjoy the freedom to access, share, and edit your files on all your devices. And even if you lose your device, your files and photos will remain safe since they’re saved in the OneDrive cloud system. This allows you to stay connected and share your valuable documents and files with teams without the need for large thumb drives or email attachments. All you’ll need to do is send a link via text or email.

How to Store, Manage, and Share Files with SharePoint and OneDrive

Anyone with a Microsoft 365 license and SharePoint Online can access OneDrive cloud storage. The user can then store business-related files in their OneDrive storage and access them from any device. However, the files will only be available to the user. For example, they might store meeting notes, scripts for demos, or draft proposals.

If the user wishes to share files or folders with other employees, they can do so through OneDrive team folder sharing. Here is how you can set up OneDrive and share files with teams:

•    Head over to the Microsoft 365 admin center to sign in with your user name and password.
•    From the App launcher, tap OneDrive.
•    Depending on what you want to share, choose a file or folder and right-click it, and then tap “Share.”
•    On the Send Link page, choose the default selection to allow anyone with the link to view and edit the file or folder.
•    Type email addresses or names of team members you want to grant access to the folder, and type in an optional message.
•    Once you’re done entering the names or email addresses, select “Send” to send the email to the people you invited immediately.

Uploading Files to a Team Site for Collaboration

Team sites typically come with an area to store files, referred to as a document library. To add files to your team site for online collaboration, here are the steps to follow:

•    From your team site’s home page, select “Documents” from the navigation menu on the left to take you to your Documents library.
•    Next, open Windows File Explorer from the taskbar and select the files or folders you want to upload to the team site. Ensure you remain signed in to Microsoft 365 while doing that.
•    After selecting the files you wish to upload to your team site, drag them to the Document library.
•    Once that is done, the files will be stored on both your PC and your team site.
•    Finally, you can choose to delete the files from your computer or Sync online files with your Mac or PC.

Syncing Online Files with your Mac or PC

Once you’ve uploaded files to your team site, you can sync them with your Mac or PC so you can work on them from your device instead of working from Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or other browsers. It’s also helpful when you need to work on your files but you lack an internet connection. The files will then synchronize automatically with your online copies once you’re connected to the Internet.

Here’s how to synchronize your files on your device with your team site:

•    From the home page of your team site, select “Documents” from the navigation menu on the left to take you to your Documents library.
•    Choose “Sync” to synchronize all your document library files or browse to the individual folder you wish to sync.
•    If the system prompts you to switch apps, select Yes to allow OneDrive to execute the synchronization.
•    If you get a prompt to Set up OneDrive, sign in with your school or work account accordingly.
•    Verify that the path under “Your OneDrive folder is here” to see if it’s correct. If not, choose the correct path and click next.
•    Now the files in your team sites will appear under your company’s name in the left pane of File Explorer, while files in OneDrive will fall under “OneDrive – <Your Company Name>.”

To test the synchronization, open a file in your team’s folder on your PC and make a change. After saving, open the same file in OneDrive to see if the change is effected.

Security Best Practices for Office 365 File Sharing

Cloud-based file sharing can pose serious security and privacy risks if not managed properly. Here are four security best practices you can implement to keep your company’s sensitive data safe and accessible in Office 365.

1: Classify Sensitive Data Stored in SharePoint Online

Scan and identify data stored in Office 365 for CCPA, GDPR, PII, HIPAA, intellectual property, and other regulations that could trigger either a competitive disadvantage or attract a fine. By ensuring that the files are tagged correctly, you can ensure they are not overly permissive. Your other security tools will also identify such data as sensitive and treat it appropriately.

2: Prevent File Download to Unmanaged Devices

Always keep your team data in-house as much as possible. Put in place measures to prevent any download of data to unmanaged devices. But with appropriate authorization, you can view certain data in a safe browser from a system your IT team doesn’t necessarily manage. Just ensure the user has the link and approval from the Group owner.

3: Employ Least Privileged Access in SharePoint Online

The least privilege principle dictates that each user is granted only the minimum access they require to deliver their tasks. Setting up the least privilege access will go a long way in securing your data. Begin by organizing user accounts into groups of similar job functions and grant the necessary permissions to access data sets in Office 365.

4: Audit and Limit External Sharing

You should take every possible precaution to limit the exposure of your company data to the outside world while balancing such limits with the needs of your users. Your employees should still be able to share and collaborate both internally and externally. When users create sharing links, it’s possible to grant anyone with the link access to the file. Additionally, the links can get stolen, intercepted, or brute-forced to grant access to those files. Always limit and audit external link sharing to ensure that no employee shares links to sensitive data, either knowingly or unknowingly, with unauthorized persons.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the best cloud solution for your company is one that everyone can rally behind. Microsoft 365 offers both SharePoint and OneDrive capabilities from the cloud. However, any cloud-based solution comes with its fair share of security and privacy concerns. It’s, therefore, important to monitor Office 365 around the clock for potential data breaches or other security vulnerabilities that internal or external bad actors could exploit to infiltrate your system.

Radius Executive IT Solutions can help track your SharePoint and OneDrive file and folder activity, admin activity, group membership changes, and more. Our experienced IT engineers can also correlate your network traffic with the monitored data to detect any possible cyberattacks in progress. Radius Executive works with assisted living, long-term care, and other medical facilities across New England. We also serve the general business community, including Healthcare, Accounting, Insurance, Legal, Construction, and Nonprofit Organizations. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!

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