Difference between SharePoint Online and File Server

There are a lot of differences between Microsoft SharePoint Online and file server, but they have one common functionality, which is storage. SharePoint Online stores all your information in the cloud, while a file server provides access to files stored in a network. It depends on which of the two do you want to use, but we’ll give you the difference between the two in this blog to help you assess which one is suitable to your needs.

SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online is mainly used by companies to build private network or websites for an easier and effective collaboration. Microsoft SharePoint Online doesn’t only provide customization of websites, but also to organize, share, access, and store files for authorized users. Let’s talk about the main features of SharePoint Online.

• Web-based. SharePoint file sharing is made easier because all your data are stored in cloud, making them accessible anywhere from any device. When you use a cloud storage, you can access all your data from cloud given that you have the right credentials and a stable internet connection. It’s like storing your Word files on the cloud storage of your mobile phone. Whenever you’re ready to upload or download the files, you just log in and access the files anytime, anywhere.

• Speed. Accessing files or navigating through hub sites is better if you have a faster internet connection. Without a stable or faster internet speed, you can’t see updates on documents or project tasks as soon as you can because it may take a while.

• Microsoft Office Integration. This is probably a huge advantage of Microsoft SharePoint. SharePoint is already integrated with Office Suite applications like Word, Excel, and so on. All you need to do is add or edit the files, and they will be automatically saved in the drive. You can also access the files on your mobile devices if you’re away from the office.

• Tasks Monitoring. Microsoft SharePoint provides companies an efficient way of monitoring tasks. SharePoint pulls all the data pertaining to a certain saved project task. For example, a person executes a SharePoint file sharing, this activity is saved in the history. This allows managers and supervisors to assess how much time a person is working on what project.

• Team Sites. Organizations acquire Microsoft SharePoint because they can build team sites for all their departments and allow their employees to do SharePoint file sharing across team sites. With these team sites, employees feel a sense of belonging because they can publish or share content on their dedicated team site. SharePoint Online also provides features like calendar that displays company’s upcoming events, meetings, or team outings, taking away the hassle of personally going to the Human Resources office to see the bulletin.

File Server

File Servers are computers that are attached to a network which provides a location for shared disk access. It’s used mostly on office-based jobs where employees access information from their local network. Some companies also host their file servers offsite for security purposes. They can transfer files over a network without using hard disks or USBs (Universal Serial Bus). What makes file servers different from SharePoint Online? Here are the features of file servers and why you should maximize its potential.

• Network-based. File sharing over a network is easier for companies who want a simple process of accessing files. File server allows employees to immediately share or access images, folders, documents, and other data over a network without logging in. If the local area network (LAN) connection is stable, file sharing is less hassle.

• Speed. File servers are also good for companies who want to download large sizes of documents because a local network connection is faster than an internet connect.

• Personal Collaboration. When a document is worked on by someone, another person can’t open the same file for updating purposes. For example, when an employee opens a Word file for editing, another person can’t open the same document. This makes collaboration a bit passive, but it promotes personal conversation among employees. Two or more people can personally discuss and make modifications on the same Word or Excel file or PowerPoint presentations. The downside is that employees can only access the files when they’re in the office or when the company allows the use of a VPN connection, but it rarely happens due to confidential reasons.

• Storage capacity. This is probably the best thing about file servers when it comes to file storing. Companies using file servers usually have terabytes (TB) of storage capacity. A SharePoint Online has 1 TB plus 10GB per license storage limit in Office 365 plans. Although you can already maximize 1 TB of file storage, you can’t download all your data faster than the way you can download them using file servers. Again, it depends on your needs, but this is what makes file servers different from SharePoint Online in terms of storage capacity.

• Exclusive. File servers are run locally or are on-premise. This means that only authorized people can work on documents over a shared network. If developers can help companies build a web part or feature dedicated to SharePoint file sharing for external users, IT management in an office can’t allow file sharing of files to unauthorized users.

Both Microsoft SharePoint and file servers contribute a lot of functionalities to businesses in their own way. Choosing SharePoint vs file server or the other way around is your choice. What else do you think is the best thing about SharePoint Online or file servers? Let us know in the comments section below. Don’t forget to share this blog on social media.

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