Office 365’s tricky file management – Friend or foe?

One of the most frequent question we get in Office 365 implementations are; How do we manage our files and data? File management in Office 365 can be very confusing and sometimes quite frankly a very bad experience depending on how you use it. Let´s try to make the basics clear.

First of all, there are three cloud storage solutions available to most users. OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and Sites.

  • OneDrive is a personal cloud storage solution that is associated with your Microsoft accounton Outlook.com. This is a purely private area and should not be used for company data. The amount of storage you have available depends on how much you are willing to pay for. 15GB is free but if you get 1TB with Office 365 Home (in which you can add up to five e-mail addresses that will get Office 2016 on up to five devices and 1TB of storage each). Working with Onedrive is a pretty smooth ride that resembles normal file management a lot.
  • OneDrive for Business is a similar personal data storage solution as OneDrive. But it is supposed to be used for any company related data you want to keep personal. Workwise it the same as OneDrive but with a few limitations. These limitations are there because of SharePoint. Yes, OneDrive for Business is a SharePoint site. The limitations are: maximum 2GB file size, character limitations (\ / : * ? ” < > | # % , ~ { } ( ) &), filenames must have less than 128 characters, file extensions like *.tmp, *.pst, *.ds_store, *.db, *.ini and whatever you feel to block. There are a number of other limitations but it is unlikely you will run into them any time soon. You get 1TB of storage space with OneDrive for Business.

Did you see Microsofts product release? The best one so far. Read about it HERE.


  •  Sites and Team Sites are the company storage area and company web portal put into one. Itrequires a different approach since it is all web based. Sites is a pure instance of SharePoint Online so it is not made just for data storage. You can build a full collaboration platform using Sites with any type of web based information. Hire a SharePoint programmer and you can basically do anything. This is both a bless and a curse. Having the full power of SharePoint available is great, but it definitely make it much more complex depending on what you want to do.

If you come from GoogleDrive or DropBox you will probably want to start using it for data storage asap. Our recommendation is to identify the way you want to work with your data. Are you going to base your work on geographical sites, departments, functions, projects, business areas or a hybrid between many? No matter what approach you choose, you need to create a number of Document Libraries. Each library can have different settings regarding permissions and sync and will contain data and folders. Do not put all your data in one Document Library since it will reduce flexibility!

Read more about User Productivity

The next step will be to upload all your current data. If you try drag-n-drop or klick Upload you will quickly find that you can only upload files and not folders. The best way to upload is to sync each Document Library to a PC and the just copy the data to each SharePoint shortcut in Explorer. The OneDrive for Business client will upload the data and folders to each Document Library. Just make sure the filenames and sizes adhere to the restrictions specified above.

If you really want to push the boundaries of data storage in sites you need to know the following restrictions: 1TB data/Site collection, 5000 items/Library, Max 25TB/Tenant, all restrictions mentioned above.

Make sure you plan and educate your users on how they are supposed to us the different storage options and I´m certain the storage management in Office 365 will be a great experience. If you require a more Enterprise ready storage option Box might be the answer.

Now start uploading your data!

Topics: cloud, storage, microsoft, office365

Posted on October 26, 2015 in cloud, microsoft, office365, storage

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