Most Microsoft users are familiar with SkyDrive, which is Microsoft’s cloud
storage solution. Microsoft also offers a
business-oriented sibling called SkyDrive Pro. However, due to a trademark issue, Microsoft had to rebrand its cloud offers: SkyDrive is now OneDrive, and
SkyDrive Pro is now OneDrive for Business. 

OneDrive is a great tool for consumers. It’s integral to the
Windows, Windows Phone, and Office 365 experience, so you can easily and safely store data in the cloud, where it can be accessed from just about
anywhere and from just about any device. Unfortunately, OneDrive, isn’t a great
option for businesses, and individual users should not be allowed to use
personal OneDrive accounts for business data. OneDrive for
Business is recommended in these cases.

The primary difference between the two cloud offerings is that OneDrive for
Business puts control in the hands of the IT admin. Rather than having a bunch of
sensitive company data being stored on random personal cloud accounts out of
sight and out of reach of the company, OneDrive for Business provides an
enterprise-grade content management platform and administrative functions that
enable organizations to meet compliance requirements and maintain control of
their data.

Last week, at SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas, Microsoft unveiled a number of improvements for OneDrive for Business that could make it the cloud storage option of choice for many businesses. Microsoft has made the most common controls
easily accessible as a menu bar at the top of the list of files. You can create
new files, upload, sync, edit, manage, and share with a simple click.

The new OneDrive for Business also has a significantly
better search function. The type-ahead feature automatically predicts what you
might be looking for, based on the files stored in your OneDrive for Business.
You can quickly find files that have been shared with you or that you’ve stored
in some obscure folder three levels deep, and you can share files with others
directly from the search results.

For IT admins, OneDrive for Business makes it easier to
integrate with an existing on-premise SharePoint deployment. Organizations
using SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1) can set up OneDrive for Business
access with a few clicks and familiar SharePoint controls. 

Microsoft also revealed that there are other improvements in the
pipeline that will be introduced throughout 2014. There will be
encryption for data at rest, data loss prevention (DLP) features, advanced
auditing and reporting capabilities, higher storage limits, and more.

OneDrive for Business (and SkyDrive Pro) is included in most
Office 365 and SharePoint Online plans. Existing or new Office 365 and
SharePoint Online customers will automatically gain all of the new features and
capabilities of OneDrive for Business. However, beginning April 1, 2014, users will also be able to purchase OneDrive for Business as a standalone cloud storage service, separate from Office
365. The cost for the standalone service will be $5 per user, per month. Microsoft is also offering a 50% promotional discount through September of 2014.

Does your organization use OneDrive for Business? What new features and improvements are you most excited about? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

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