Microsoft 365 management

OneDrive for Business – Improvements and updates for 2018

Microsoft has announced a substantial list of improvements and updates that will be made to OneDrive for Business by the end of this year. Check them out!

Talk of OneDrive has been on the lips of many SharePoint and Office365 users recently. One of these many upcoming updates is “Known Folder Move,” a feature that will make a huge difference in the security management of local files.  

What is OneDrive for Business and who is it for? 

At its core, OneDrive is a file hosting service like Dropbox or Google Drive. It helps people, no matter where they are, share and work together on files. While standard OneDrive is designed for personal use, OneDrive for Business is based on SharePoint and is meant for storing business documents and files. The business version of the platform offers more goodies than the personal. For instance, you get Office 365 business apps, a higher level of security, and access through the mobile apps.

Over time, Microsoft has improved OneDrive and added more functionalities. For years, OneDrive was available only in SharePoint Online, but now you can also share your files in a cloud using SharePoint Server. Why is this a huge improvement? Some businesses may restrict saving company data to the cloud, so OneDrive for SharePoint on-premises is an extremely useful functionality.  

onedrive for sharepoint on prem


OneDrive can’t work without a sync client. You need to use one to synchronize files between OneDrive for Business and a user’s computer or mobile device. If you’re using Office 365, Sync client comes with an installation package, but with SharePoint on-prem it’s a bit more complicated. You can synchronize your files to a variety of devices, but they need to be connected to the network where the SharePoint server resides for the sync to work.  

New OneDrive for Business features in 2018 

Unified OneDrive Experience 

In the past, the OneDrive experience on Mac devices differed from the experience on Windows-operated devices. But, this year, Microsoft decided to change that and create a unified experience across devices. As of April 2018 Microsoft has included the OneDrive sync client as a part of the Office 2016 Click-to-Run Installer. That means that if you install Office on your Mac, you’ll get OneDrive too. This new update delivers several improvements: 

  • Office for Mac will open your synced files locally instead of downloading a new copy, so your files will open much more quickly.
  • Updates made to your documents will now sync only the changes (differential sync) rather than the full file. This will save you time and bandwidth.

Files synced onto a local machine can be shared with the same user experience found on all OneDrive and SharePoint endpoints. 

Known Folder Move in OneDrive for Business  

During a SharePoint Conference North America, Microsoft announced a set of improvements to OneDrive functionalities. The change that many were most eagerly awaiting was Known Folder Move (KFM). This feature allows users to move local folders from a PC to OneDrive. The preview version of the feature was rolled out at the end of June, and a fully functional version has been planned for the end of July.  

Known folders help users organize their most important files and access them across various applications. KFM allows you to move your docs, desktop, and pictures into OneDrive. Once your IT people set up KFM, you don’t have to worry about syncing your files – they are automatically synced without disruption to productivity. Here’s what it looks like: 

OneDrive for Business known folder move


The initial version of KFM will, however, have certain limitations. For instance, Microsoft is still working on adding support for moving OneNote notebook files. The holdup is apparently due to OneNote having its own synchronization method.

There are also other limitations to be aware of:

  • An individual file size limit (15GB max)
  • A limit on the number of items (no more than 300,000 items can be moved)
  • Some characters and file names can’t be used.

Check out how to set up the KFM without end-user interaction (silent redirect).   

OneDrive for Business setting up known folder move


OneDrive for Business Camera Upload Support 

This feature was highly sought-after in a UserVoice community. Camera upload is announced for OneDrive for Business so you will be able to upload your photos and videos from your iOS and Android devices. Keep an eye on the progress of this feature in the OneDrive Message Center Updates.

However, if you want to keep your OneDrive storage within the limits, you can disable the automatic sync of mobile photos.

Updates to secure external sharing in OneDrive for Business 

Earlier this year, Microsoft rolled out a secure external sharing functionality using one-time passcodes. While it was a great success, some users felt like some key management capabilities were missing. Microsoft quickly announced an improvement to the feature making it possible for external sharing recipients who are also Office365 users to sign in using their credentials.  

After entering the one-time passcode, users can authenticate with their O365 account and create a full guest account in the host’s organization. This means that IT admins can manage them like any other guest account in their directory. This feature should be available for all production customers by the end of August.  

OneDrive for Business guest users with 0365 account


OneDrive for Business External Sharing Reports  

This feature will offer site administrators the ability to see all shared files on their site, including via anonymous links or secure external sharing. You can export External Sharing Reports into Excel or Power BI so you can filter and analyze the sharing usage and usage patterns of your end users. You can also import these reports into third-party management and security software. 

OneDrive for Business external sharing report


Have a look at all upcoming OneDrive features in 2018 

Syskit Point – OneDrive for business activity reports

Syskit Point is a reporting tool that will help you control the security of your environment and save on storage. Use it to: 

  • Find all shared files inside OneDrive for Business
  • Find out which OneDrive for Business users have shared files with external users
  • Track all users’ OneDrive for Business activity and storage usage

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