Woman hands on black background holding Microsoft Windows OneDrive
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In a recent look at Office 365 and its use in the digital workplace, we asked people working in enterprises to tell us what tools they are using. One of the most popular tools mentioned was OneDrive and One Drive for Business.

OneDrive for Business enables users to securely share information and control levels of security via direct access or links for editing or viewing files. This can also be done at the folder level within OneDrive to enable access to a set of files or folders within the drive. This is not the same as the OneDrive that comes with the personal Office 365 plans. This version was originally known as SkyDrive and rolled out for testing in 2007. In 2013-2014, legal troubles led to Microsoft changing the name to OneDrive.

The enterprise version, or OneDrive for Business, is similar but has a couple of key differences that make it suitable for the enterprise. The big difference that really counts for enterprises is that with OneDrive for Business, the system administrator can decide where to locate the service. They can host it in the Microsoft Cloud or they can host it on a SharePoint server and, in doing so, keep content in the enterprise and accessible to one of the digital workplace tools most important content management tools, notably SharePoint.

And Microsoft hasn't finished yet. OneDrive’s importance in the digital workplace was recently reaffirmed with the release of a new "Request Files" feature. While OneDrive already has a file-sharing option — of the key functionalities needed in the digital workplace — it has improved on this by providing users with the ability to segregate information. In the modern day enterprise this is absolutely essential.

In the "old" days, FTP enabled file sharing and data transfer, albeit in a way that was not as secure as organizations working in sensitive areas like finance and law might like. "Request File" manages this by ensuring that customers don’t see each other’s files as well as adding file policies and automation making the entire transfer process more secure, quicker and easier. OneDrive’s "Request Files" feature builds on the existing file-sharing. 

Related Article: SharePoint 2019 Says Hello to 6 Features and Goodbye to 6 Others

So what exactly are enterprises using OneDrive for? There were six main use cases cited by digital workers:

1. Safeguarding Content

Calvin West of Calvin West Productions in Spain says he uses it principally for safeguarding files. “The primary reason I use it is for backup, as my master projects folder is on OneDrive,” he told us. “What I love about it is that for all practical purposes,”it's just another folder on the computer. Except of course, I have formatted my computer several times during this period and my work files stay intact thanks to OneDrive."

Another benefit for OneDrive is how easy it is to share files.  He has set my default export folder for projects to OneDrive.  This means that whenever he is finished rendering a video, he can right click and create a share link to send the client.

2. Access Security

Dr. Sanjay Chaudhary, founder and director of the India-based  Eye7 Centre told us that being in the healthcare industry it was vital that they had software that had a high level of security and different levels of access. "The Admin Center in the OneDrive provides a host of sharing settings that control all sharing links,” he told us. He added that the default links category also allows the administrators to set the type of link used by default when users share items, restricting access and flow of information to dedicated users/departments.

3. Content Security

Microsoft made a big play of including new features into OneDrive for Business to improve security measures and protect companies’ data, some of which include data encryption, access control, and user behavior monitoring. This further improves on the benefits of using the storage platform and assists companies which are concerned about the security of their data.

However, he warned that the cloud is not necessarily secure. “There are many security risks still at play when it comes to cloud-based storage platforms, and being aware of these risks will assist in putting the correct procedures in place to further protect data,” Will Ellis founder of Privacy Australia and IT security consultant, said. 

4. Syncing Content

The biggest benefit of using OneDrive for your business is the syncing feature,” according to Malte Scholz, CEO and Co-Founder of Germany-based Airfocus. If your company is remote, it can happen that you lose your internet for some periods of time. When you save files in OneDrive, they will synchronize automatically once you get back online. That way, no matter what you’re working on, you don’t have to fear losing your data. All you have to do is get online and your data is synchronized. “As someone who’s worked remotely for most of my career, I can say that this is a necessity rather than a perk,” he said.

5. Linked Content

Alex Williams of UK-based Hosting Data says ability to attach a file as a link to an email, as opposed to the physical file. This automatically allows the recipients permission to edit and collaborate on that file with you, and ultimately saves space in everyone’s mailbox! This is particularly useful to sales people who can access up to date files via their mobile devices when the moment arises. “As a business we work solely on Windows PC and we have found OneDrive for Business to work seamlessly on this operating system,” he said.

6. Remote Collaboration

Ollie Smith is Chief Executive Officer of UK-based Card Accounts. He said that its most useful function for small businesses with a remote team who uses OneDrive every day, is that it enables users to collaborate and edit content at any time and anywhere in the world.. “It is a fantastic tool for remote teams like my own. Using the same account with multiple logins, each team member can gain access to internal files that could not be shared in such a secure manner,” he said.