Cloud services are all the rage these days. As more and more people become increasingly reliant on smart phones, tablets and computers, companies are providing new and innovative ways for them to store and access their data. Downloading and storing files, including playable media, is now becoming a thing of the past. Technology based companies realize that people want to reserve more room on their devices for feature rich applications rather than have it being taken up by files. Additionally, companies want to provide a way for customer files and data to survive crashes as technologies sometime fail no matter how well customers care for them. After all, nobody wants to lose music and videos they have purchased or precious memories of videos and photos that have been taken of friends, loved ones and beautiful sites.
An example of an outstanding cloud storage service is OneDrive. Provided by Microsoft Corporation, OneDrive comes on practically all Microsoft technologies, and it is one of the most robust services of its kind. Even individuals who use Apple and Android products can take advantage of OneDrive’s state-of-the-art features as Microsoft has created apps that are compatible with these OS platforms.
Rated number one by PCMag, PC World and other well-known and reputable technology sites, OneDrive is more compatible across multiple devices and is easier to use than any other competing cloud service. This service is highly flexible as not only can it be accessed by practically any device on the market, files can also be accessed using a web interface. Furthermore, media can be streamed straight from the cloud. OneDrive’s interface is so straightforward and simple to use that even those who are technical novices will be able to figure it out in minutes. There is absolutely no learning curve necessary. No time or effort is needed to configure OneDrive for use.
Feature Rich Capabilities
The most positive aspect of OneDrive is that this service is feature rich. Boasting exceptional photo presentation and the ability to show off slide shows and tag data, OneDrive even allows users to share files on Facebook. Since OneDrive runs in the background, all files are backed up and can seamlessly be sync across devices. The all-famous Microsoft Office suite is available online no matter which subscription plan users choose. Even users who are on the free plan have access to Microsoft Office online. Since Microsoft is committed to protecting its users and makes this a chief concern, there are security features in place to protect user data.
For example, users are required to log into their accounts using a twostep login process. The user name is entered on the first page, and the password is entered on the next. This process makes it much harder for hackers to break into accounts and exploit people’s sensitive data. Microsoft takes measures to ensure that files are never lost. Multiple copies of saved files are stored on multiple servers. Two-step verification is also in place to prevent unauthorized account access. When users access OneDrive from devices that are not yet associated with the account, they are required to enter a code that is either sent to a cellular device or an email on file.
Microsoft demonstrates that consumer opinions matter. Many of the criticisms about OneDrive have been addressed, making this service even better than ever. Windows shell integration as well as an increase in the file size limit, the file size upload limit and storage limits on all plans are the most recent issues that have been addressed as of late. In addition, files sync faster than in times past. Of course, this also depends on the speed of the users’ Internet connection. Download and upload speeds and a first-rate photo backup service have dramatically increased, adding to immense customer satisfaction. A recycle bin has also been added to OneDrive since customers complained that files were too easy to delete and could not be retrieved once they were deleted.
OneDrive is highly prized for its affordability. Users start out with 15 gigs of free space upon signing up for the service and are given ways to earn even more free space. Users can earn an extra 15 gigs of free storage space for backing up their camera rolls. Five more gigs of free space can be earned just by referring 10 of their friends. 100 GB or space costs $1.99 per month, and 200 GB costs $3.99 monthly. A whapping one TB of space can be purchased for only $6.99 monthly. These price plans are cheaper than what other cloud services on the market offer their consumers.
Keeping Track of Storage
OneDrive makes it effortless for users to keep track of the storage space they are using. Upon logging into the site, the amount of storage that users have to work with overall is displayed. Then, the amount of storage and usage is broken down into easy-to-understand parts. Differentiations are made between storage that is free and paid, and users know how much storage is being used and how much is left.
In spite of OneDrive being a cutting edge cloud storage solution, there are still some complaints that Microsoft still needs to address. There are inconsistencies in features that are offered across different devices. For one, users can search for their files online and on computers whether they are manufactured by Apple or Microsoft. However, there are improvements needed for search capabilities on mobile devices. File folders can be created on Windows phones but cannot be created on the Xbox One. Accessibility for persons with disabilities also seems to be an issue.
For instance, those using screen readers can easily upload files using the web interface and can share files with others; however, viewing documents online is next to impossible as there is no clear way to do this. Also, there are unlabeled controls in the web interface which pose a problem because blind users will not know what these are unless using some guesswork or consuming time by clicking on each one to see what it does. The web interface does not offer a clear way to share a file or folder for screen reader users. More emphasis seems to be put on providing ease of use to low vision users as there is quite a bit of documentation for zooming text and changing the appearance of screens to make content easy to see. There is much more work to be done before OneDrive is fully compliant with accessibility requirements. The disabled population hopes to see this happen soon so they can enjoy all that OneDrive offers consumers.
Uploading Batch Files
It used to be in times past that uploading batch files was problematic. Now, however, this feature has improved significantly. While batch files cannot be uploaded instantly, this process is not slow. Uploading batch files can also be done on mobile devices. The Android app works particularly well in this regard. Improvements are needed for Windows phones and Windows computers. There is no mention of this capability on devices.
OneDrive for Business
OneDrive is even offered to business customers who need added collaboration tools for their organizations. OneDrive for Business works alongside SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 and Microsoft Lync. OneDrive for Business is different than OneDrive which is designed only for personal use.
Differences between OneDrive and OneDrive for Business
OneDrive is a service that provides free storage for individuals for personal file storage and sharing, and users can upgrade as they need more space. When using Office 365, OneDrive for Business users are provided with one TB of space. If OneDrive for Business is on company controlled servers, then site administrators will determine how much storage is available. Files are stored on servers maintained by Microsoft. OneDrive for Business is part of a subscription to SharePoint 2013, and files can either be kept on Microsoft servers or on servers stored on site at the businesses’ premises. OneDrive for Business only provides storage for business purposes, and employees can determine who they will share files with by selecting a fellow coworker’s name. Site admins control how people within the organization can access and use OneDrive for Business.
Just like the OneDrive service, OneDrive for Business is feature rich. Multiple people within a company can collaborate on files at the same time. This facilitates maximization of time and productivity. Files are secured using first-class security solutions, and syncing can be done without effort. Files can be accessed from anywhere from any device, making telework more of a reality every day. File sharing has been simplified as well.
Files in OneDrive for Business are private by default. When people want to share files with their fellow coworkers, files can be shared on an individual basis by sending a link to the file via email or by selecting the coworker’s name. Files can be shared with everyone in the organization by placing them in the folder called Shared with Everyone.
Accessing OneDrive for Business
Signing into OneDrive for Business is easy. All users need to do is follow the below steps:
1. Sign into a SharePoint account or an account on Office 365.
2. Select the OneDrive icon at the top of the page in SharePoint. In Office 365, select the App Launcher icon and then click on OneDrive.
3. Users will then be taken to the OneDrive for Business interface where they can add or manage their files.
Note: For the sake of simplicity and to save space, OneDrive for Business has been shortened to OneDrive.
Syncing OneDrive for Business to Computers
Similar to the OneDrive service that is designed for personal use, OneDrive for Business allows users to sync their libraries to their computers. All users must do is download the OneDrive for Business Sync app. This app already comes prepackaged with Microsoft Office 2013 applications or as part of an Office 365 subscription that is using the Microsoft Office 2013 suite.
How to Sync Files from OneDrive for Business to the Computer
This process can be done in three simple steps. All users must do is:
1. Sign into SharePoint or Office 365.
2. Click on OneDrive which can be found at the top of the page on SharePoint or after clicking on the App Launcher in Office 365.
3. Then, click Sync.
If users are syncing files from OneDrive for Business using Office 365, they will find them in a folder called OneDrive@. If users are syncing from SharePoint, they will find their files under Favorites within the File Explorer. Users can work on their files locally, and changes that have been made will synchronize automatically.
Compatibility across All Devices
Since Microsoft believes in helping companies take their business to the next level, OneDrive for Business is compatible across a variety of devices and platforms. This professional service works seamlessly with Windows PCs, Mac computers, iPhones, iPads, Windows phones and Android devices. Of course, it is a no brainer that OneDrive for Business will not be found on gaming consoles since it is not for personal use.
There is no other professional service out there like OneDrive for Business. However, there are some minor improvements that need to be made, namely in the area of accessibility. Microsoft does really try hard to make their applications accessible by ensuring tabbing order is logical and that there are keyboard shortcuts for nearly every function. Furthermore, disabled users can accomplish nearly every function within OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. Navigation, on the other hand, is painful. Disabled users have felt like they are going through mazes just to accomplish minute functions. The SharePoint interface is also clunky. Disabled users look forward to Microsoft enhancing navigation features and decluttering the user interface on SharePoint and Office 365.
Whether users want to store and share files for personal or business use, Microsoft’s OneDrive is definitely the answer. Many technology experts recommend this service hands down as it is absolutely extraordinary. No other cloud solution can compare.