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OneDrive vs SharePoint vs Azure Files

A long time ago, sharing files with others involved sending large emails or using an external hard drive or a USB stick. In the business world, files were uploaded to an internal server and could only be accessed within the business network.

Cloud computing has revolutionised the way in which we share files and collaborate. We can now easily access our files on any device anywhere, anytime, in a fast and secure way.

There are many types of file-sharing options in today’s technology space, but they don’t all do the same thing. OneDrive, SharePoint, and Azure files are three such cloud-based platforms. Let’s take a closer look at them to see what each one offers and how they differ.


OneDrive is the most basic of the three and is tailored more for personal use. Acting as one’s own personal vault, it interacts with Microsoft 365 applications and allows you to create files in Office, Excel, and PowerPoint, for example, edit and access files.

OneDrive syncs the files on your computer with those on the cloud making them available anywhere. Files are stored securely in a private space on the cloud so if hardware fails, files are still available. Files can also be shared with others. This basic collaborative feature means others can comment in your documents and provide suggestions. Rather than send huge files over email which clogs up email storage, you can share files with a OneDrive link.

From a security point of view, it encrypts files in transit and at rest, so they are less suspectable to malicious actors. The roll-back functionality means that if files are accidentally deleted or corrupted, earlier versions can be obtained. There is also a section of the OneDrive called the Personal Vault which you can store data in that requires extra security like a pin number.

close up of a cell phone with different app icons

Share point

SharePoint takes the collaborative features of OneDrive to the next level by sharing files, apps, workflows, news, and resources. Both OneDrive and SharePoint are part of the Microsoft 365 suite. They work together to provide a powerful cloud-based, file-sharing, and collaborative solution for businesses that can be accessed on any device anywhere in the world. Create your own personal files on your OneDrive, and then move them effortlessly over to SharePoint to collaborate with the team. SharePoint can be viewed as a shared company drive.

SharePoint runs on the cloud-based where files can be created, stored, shared, and modified among team members. Like an internal network, user access levels can be administered for certain resources to be accessed by certain individuals/groups. Just like OneDrive, SharePoint also encrypts files making them less susceptible to malicious actors and has rollback functionality. On top of this, SharePoint has a quarantining feature to section off infected company data to stop the spread.

SharePoint also integrates with Microsoft Teams. Together, they can provide an intranet solution where files can be shared and the team can work together, communicating through the Teams collaborative functionality.

SharePoint is customisable. It has an app store and webs design tools and the ability to create websites within your SharePoint network. You can create custom workflows for processes using Power Automate to create efficiencies throughout your entire business.

SharePoint can also be offered as an on-premises solution for businesses that want control over their resources and security.

Azure Files

Azure is a virtual private cloud targeted at mid-to-larger-sized businesses. Where Azure differs from SharePoint is that Azure is a computing platform that covers a whole range of options, from database and website hosting, right through to artificial intelligence. SharePoint is more of a platform as a service (PaaS) while Azure is known as infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Underneath the Azure umbrella is the Azure Files offering which acts as a file server. The physical server itself is not the responsibility of the business. Instead, the business rents space on one of Microsoft’s servers. Azure Files also offers on-prem cache points that allow you to work with the files as if they are on-prem but all changes are synced up with the azure files service. Microsoft invest billions in making sure Azure servers are kept secure.

Having the right storage solutions can dramatically improve productivity and speed, saving time and money. Contact Linktech today to find out more about how they can support your business in finding the best technology model for you.