Microsoft – Consumer vs Business

OneDriveCloudWhen it comes to Microsoft Office 365 and OneDrive, there’s a lot of confusion out there. This has not been helped by the duality of these two brand terms. For better or worse, Microsoft use the same brand names to label both consumer grade and business grade services. Let’s take a closer look at these brand terms and what they mean for consumers and for business.

Office 365 for Consumers vs Office 365 for Business

Before the cloud, “Office” was simply a suite of desktop applications; Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote and depending on your licensed version, Publisher and Access.

Traditionally, you purchased licenses for Office that were perpetual, meaning the right to use a particular version lasted forever, but the right to upgrade to newer versions was restrictive.

Office 365 is a subscription based “service” rather than simply a suite of applications. This service bundles together subscription based access to the latest version of Office (Word, Excel, etc) as well as access to other Microsoft online services.

But not all Office 365 plans are made equal. Office 365 for consumers can be purchased from retailers or online. This “Home” subscription allows you to install Office desktop applications on up to 5 PCs, laptops or tablets. It also includes 60 Skype minutes and 1TB of online storage via OneDrive that can be shared with up to four members of a single household.

It’s important for business owners not to confuse the Office 365 they might purchase for home with the business grade offering. Office 365 business plans also include options for subscription based access to the latest version of Office, but the bundled services are very different. They include access to Hosted Exchange for email, Lync for video conferencing and SharePoint for collaboration, document control and business process improvement. You also get OneDrive for Business.

OneDrive for Consumers vs OneDrive for Business

OneDrive is an online storage service that you can sign up for, for free. You get 15GB of storage for free, additional storage can be purchased, or accessed via Office 365 Home. This is a personal, consumer grade service that anyone can access and use to store and share documents and photos online.

OneDrive for Business has nothing to do with OneDrive, despite sharing the name. True, it is also online storage for individuals, but this storage is part of a business platform that is controlled by the individual’s employer. It is a cloud based alternative to storing files on your local “C Drive”. It enables you to store documents and images in the cloud and share them, primarily with other members of your organisation.

If you’re familiar with earlier versions of SharePoint, OneDrive for Business is now what used be known as “My Site”. If you leave the company and your access to Office 365 or your company’s SharePoint server is revoked, you can no longer access the files in “your” OneDrive for Business, because those files belong to the company.

Keep in mind when making purchase decisions around Office 365 that there are two distinct swim lanes, one for consumers, one for business. You may wish to seek clarification around how best to use OneDrive for Business and how to avoid some of the pitfalls and limitations. That’s where we can help! For advice on the right Office 365 plan for you, call us on 1300 766 554 or visit our Office 365 page for more details.

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