OneDrive: What you need to know when moving your small / medium business to the cloud
Updated: Jun 30
For smaller sized businesses, migrating to OneDrive can seem deceptively simple. “Don’t I just drag my files from my desktop into OneDrive?” you may be thinking. The answer is yes and no. Yes – it’s that easy once you get going. However, there are a few things to consider first. Below I have outlined some caveats to be aware of when switching to OneDrive. None of these are reasons to not use the tool – rather they are reasons to make a few preliminary considerations in order to foster a successful document collaboration environment.
There are many configurable settings to think through prior to migrating
In the One Drive Admin Portal, you’ll find a surprising amount of settings. Going through them does not require a large amount of effort, but failing to go through them will likely cause a giant pain. Microsoft does a great job at setting the defaults to reasonable states, but since organizations can differ greatly in terms of security regulations, ability to work remotely, etc., the Admin Center should be your first stop prior to any migration. There you will find:
Retention settings post account deletion – if a user account is disabled due to exiting the company, you can set the number of days that OneDrive will retain all their files post account deletion. This is important if an immediate termination happens so that the company has time to redistribute the documents that user owned.
IP restriction – if you are part of a mobile company like us, this setting may not apply to you. However, if you want to restrict OneDrive access to certain IP addresses (i.e. only your 2 offices), it’s as easy as supplying the addresses here.
Sharing policies – sharing in OneDrive is a whole different animal, but to touch on some sharing policies, you can allow users to send a link that only works for those within your O365 domain (@yourorganization.com addresses), or a link that works for anyone with a Microsoft account.
The Shared With Everyone folder is no longer available for new users as of 2015
In the past, OneDrive would create a “Shared With Everyone” folder where any user within the organization could read and write files and folders. It was easily used as a replacement for a shared company drive. However, as of 2015 Microsoft has done away with this methodology. What this means is that each user has their own section of OneDrive, and if they “share” a folder with another group of people in the company, those other users will see the share-ee’s name next to that folder. TLDR, any shared folders will be labeled with the name of the user that shared them, rather than having a centralized company filespace. As with most things, there are some workarounds:
If no users in O365 have been created yet, you can run a script that enables this feature for all subsequently created users. So if you already have your user licenses allocated to a subscription that includes OneDrive, this option is out for you.
Most online answers to this tell you the workaround is for someone to create a folder and share it out, but alas we are stuck with the folder being tied to a specific user as explained above. If that user were to leave the company, the files would have to be manually transferred over to another user account and the cycle would repeat itself.
What KGC recommends is sacrificing a license to use as a OneDrive Admin account. You would call it something like email@example.com and make the name Your Company Shared. Then, logged into that account, you can create your folder and share it out to the organization. All your users will see a branded, central location that is not dependent on any particular user.
Migrating to OneDrive is easy, especially for small to medium sized businesses that would have less files (and a less complicated file structure) than a large enterprise. The admin portal is easy to use, and once your environment is set up correctly OneDrive really has it all when it comes to document organization and collaboration. What are your experiences with OneDrive? Tell us in the comments below!