Make a plan for file and folder structure to get the most out of cloud storage with OneDrive.
Cloud file storage is growing rapidly in business today. The benefits of keeping files and folders in the cloud are plentiful. Your staff can get to the files they need to be efficient in their work from anywhere they have an internet connection. However, just like a typical file directory, things can get messy in a hurry if you don’t plan ahead.
We’ll focus on OneDrive for this article, but many other cloud file storage options may work well for your business, like Google Drive and DropBox. Most companies today are using Microsoft 365 solutions for business needs like email and office applications such as Word and Excel. If your business has these Microsoft 365 products already in place, it is likely that you have storage on OneDrive included. Most subscriptions include 1 TB of cloud storage which can be pooled across your organization. For instance, if you have 15 users of Microsoft 365 Business Basic, you have 15 TB of space in OneDrive available to use.
If you currently use shared storage on a server or network-attached storage appliance (NAS), you should be able to see how much space you will need to duplicate that in OneDrive. 1 TB per user is a lot of space. In most cases, using OneDrive for shared storage should be a viable option. But before you just move all of your files to OneDrive, make a plan to get them and keep them organized. This will save you time and frustration in the long run.
Getting your current files and folders to OneDrive
There are a few different ways to set up and use OneDrive for shared file storage in your business. If your company readily uses Microsoft Teams, you can access OneDrive storage right from the Teams application. If you haven’t embraced Teams, OneDrive also uses Microsoft SharePoint for file storage and sharing. SharePoint uses a traditional-looking Windows folder structure. This may be easier to quickly learn if you currently share storage on a Windows server, for instance.
To attempt to avoid some confusion with terminology, it is important to understand more about these Microsoft products.
- Microsoft OneDrive – Storage space in the Microsoft cloud. 1 TB of storage space is included with most Microsoft 365 subscriptions.
- Microsoft SharePoint – An application that organizes files and folders. There are also many powerful file-sharing and file and folder permissions capabilities in Sharepoint.
- Microsoft Teams – A virtual space for communications like chat, calling, video conferencing, message boards, shared file storage, etc.
While OneDrive does has an interface to access your files, using SharePoint or Teams will likely make it easier to access and share files.
Planning how to organize your files and folders in OneDrive
A well-designed plan for file storage in OneDrive will save you frustration and lost productivity for years to come. Take time to consider how you and your team search for files now. Do struggles exist with the current file and folder structure? Now is the time to get it right.
There is no “right” way to organize your cloud storage, so you’ll need to consider how your company conducts business. Does your staff search for files by your client names? Perhaps having folders organized by date will make more sense. Also, consider if you have files and folders that only specific, authorized staff should be allowed access to. Organizing files by department may make more sense in this scenario.
If you use Microsoft Teams as your primary way to access files, you will pretty much have to have files and folders organized by department or Team. For instance, you might have a Leadership Team, an Accounting Team, a Sales Team, Customer Service, etc. Each Team will have a “Files” area within the Teams interface. You may also have an “All Company” Team or something similar for communication and sharing with all staff members.
Regardless of what structure makes the most sense for your business, making a plan before you begin moving files will set your business up for a successful transition. There is search functionality within any of the OneDrive interfaces. However, having things organized in a way that makes sense to you and your team will improve efficiency in locating files.
How to move to cloud storage
Once you have a solid plan for how your cloud storage should be structured, you’ll need a process for moving or copying your files there. There are tools that help with this process. Microsoft recognized a need for a tool that makes this transition much easier. They offer a tool called Migration Manager for free to their clients to help with migrating files into OneDrive / SharePoint. Learn more about that tool and how to get it here.
If all of this seems to be more than you or your team want to take on, contact us today to learn how we can help. There are many benefits to utilizing OneDrive for your shared company storage, but it can be overwhelming to get there. We have vast experience working in Microsoft 365 and assisting our clients in getting the most from their subscriptions.