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To SharePoint or to OneDrive

Updated: Jan 28

The world of Microsoft solutions can sometimes be hard to navigate when to use one solution over another and two solutions that come up the most in my time of working in the Microsoft world are SharePoint and OneDrive. Both of these solutions have many similarities, which we will go into further here shortly, so it is easy to become confused. However, the key difference really depends on your intended audience.

The Similarities

Let's first dive into the similarities between the two solutions to gain better insight on how they can help you and your company.


Both OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online provide encryption for data at rest and in transit. For at-rest data these services use disk-encryption and file encryption. While in transit, the services use 2048-bit keys as well as a private network between its data centers. You can learn more here.


One of the biggest similarities to these solutions is their basis in the cloud. This modern way of storing information has been helping companies not only save on infrastructure and Capital Expense (CapEx) costs, but also providing them with security opportunities as well. No longer having to worry about keeping in-house servers up-to-date or physically secured has helped many companies save money.

Versioning of files

Gone are the days of worrying whether you are working on the most recent version of a file or someone else accidentally made unwanted changes. Both SharePoint and OneDrive allow you to work on the latest version of a document or if you want to go back to a previous version you can do that as well.


One of the great things with Microsoft's solutions is the integration between its products and OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online are no exception. Whether the Office Suite, Microsoft Forms, Teams, and the Power Platform, SharePoint Online and OneDrive are able to bring your environment together.

How do I know which to use?

Having looked at how these two programs are alike the question is which do I use when I am saving a document or file. Over the years I have explained this to people using a few different analogies or scenarios.

My most used way of explaining the differences is to think of place of work, I like to use a school as an example. In the main office, there are usually filing cabinets that are filled with documents that are accessible for all of the teachers and staff to use. This would be like SharePoint, a place that everyone in that building to be able to access and use when needed. This is not a place you would normally store files only meant for you or a select few.

Each teacher or office worker also has a filing cabinet in their room or office where they would store the files and documents that they would personally need but it wouldn't be something that everyone needs to access. This is like OneDrive; the files are mostly meant for that teacher or worker and maybe they share a few of them with a coworker.

In preparation for this blog I came across another "short way" to remember the differences. To remember which solution to use, consider this simple rule: "Share" in SharePoint means sharing your work with everyone, while OneDrive is for "one" person - you.

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