OneDrive and SharePoint for RIAs: Which one to use?


File management solutions are a must for RIA firms, especially given the scope and sensitivity of the information you handle. Most RIAs are using Microsoft tools like OneDrive or SharePoint as they are easy to use, cost-effective, and secure.

But OneDrive and SharePoint are not the same. How do they differ and when should you be using them at your RIA? Read on to learn more.

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What’s the difference?

While the two apps share a lot of similarities, they are actually very different at the core. OneDrive is an online file storage system, while SharePoint includes online file storage but can also act as a collaboration tool. Basically, OneDrive gives you space to store your files on the internet. You can access your data in OneDrive by simply signing in to your Microsoft account.

SharePoint, on the other hand, is a highly configurable web-based intranet platform that integrates with Microsoft 365. On SharePoint, you can build websites, store data, and create content and media to keep driving your business forward. However, you can also simply leverage SharePoint as a more secure, and more customizable solution for your file storage and access.

Both leverage the capabilities of the cloud and share a similar interface and user experience with other Microsoft apps, making them ideal for RIAs that already use Microsoft products. They both benefit from the security of Microsoft data centers.

When should I use OneDrive?

To put it simply, OneDrive is probably better suited for personal use or personal files than as a company-wide solution. It’s a dependable way to store your personal documents, photos, music, and other files and access them on your mobile device, your laptop, and other computers. All you’ll need to do is log in and voila! All your OneDrive-stored files will be synced automatically and available for your use.

OneDrive is less suitable for enterprise use because it lacks the security features and data management tools that RIAs should be using.

When should I use SharePoint?

SharePoint is far and away a better choice to manage files and data for your RIA. It has the enterprise-level security tools and features that you need to keep your data secure and compliant.

RIAs will immediately notice the robustness of SharePoint’s features, especially compared to OneDrive. Here are a few of the things you should consider with your SharePoint solution:

  • SharePoint is highly customizable when it comes to site permissions, meaning how you give access to individuals or groups of individuals to specific data. You can get very sophisticated in how you allow people to interact with your files and information. This keeps highly sensitive information exclusively to those who require it.
  • Data loss prevention tools give you the ability to flag certain types of information so it can be managed in a specific way. As an example, you can identify all the files and data in your network that include social security numbers and put restrictions on that data so it cannot be downloaded, printed, or forwarded for example. It’s a very powerful tool that creates a great foundation for protecting your data.
  • SharePoint audit logs provide insight into who is accessing certain files or data and what they’re doing with them. This may not ever become an issue, but if you needed to confirm when something was edited and by who, you could do this. You could also use it to confirm if an individual employee was accessing certain files and downloading them for example. This tool can also be an important tool if you face an audit of your data by the SEC for example.
  • Your options to expand what SharePoint does to allow for collaboration and communication across your RIA are vast. OneDrive really only functions as a file storage system. SharePoint on the other hand can act as a centralized hub for your team. This is something you can start with or grow into depending on your needs.

Not only does SharePoint protect data, but it also improves collaboration with your colleagues. The app integrates with other Microsoft solutions like Office and Microsoft 365, so you can share files and work seamlessly with one another. It even integrates with Microsoft Teams, making it easy to pull up files during teleconferences or to work on the same document while discussing key points over chat.

You’ll need to configure your SharePoint system properly to maximize its benefits. A specialized managed services provider like RIA Workspace can install and configure SharePoint for your RIA practice’s unique needs.

Empower your RIA practice with the right tools and technologies. RIA WorkSpace specializes in providing information infrastructure solutions, software, and support. Contact us today to take your RIA practice to the next level.