When is SkyDrive Pro not Quite SkyDrive Pro

When is SkyDrive Pro not Quite SkyDrive Pro

SkyDrive is a consumer focused service that gives anyone who signs up free cloud storage space. Numerous apps and web interfaces are available (mainly now via Outlook.com) that allow users to save and store files to the cloud. This is the SkyDrive service, and it works very well.

When Microsoft launched SkyDrive Pro there was a lot of confusion over the service and what it actually offered. This mainly came from the fact the Microsoft already offered something called 'SkyDrive' (with no 'Pro'). SkyDrive is a consumer focused service that gives anyone who signs up free cloud storage space. Numerous apps and web interfaces are available (mainly now via Outlook.com) that allow users to save and store files to the cloud. This is the SkyDrive service, and it works very well.

SkyDrive Pro is similar but is in actual fact a totally separate service only available to business enterprise users of Office 365 or SharePoint 2013. And this is the point of today's post, that even within SkyDrive Pro there are actually a few different things going on that users need to be aware of.

SkyDrive Pro for Office 365 is a really powerful tool that gives users 25GB of data stored in the cloud as part of the Office 365 service. The service appears as a menu item within Office 365 and uses the familiar SharePoint document library interface to allow users to add and interact with files. Those that are interested in the history, this is actually the old documents section of a SharePoint MySite refactored for the cloud generation, but it works well. SharePoint's document management features are second to none and there are even Windows desktop, Windows Phone and iOS apps that allow you to access your files. All fine so far.

As many of us know, Office 365 isn't the only way to get SharePoint 2013. As SkyDrive Pro owes its humble beginnings to SharePoint MySites, the service is also available to enterprises that install and use the on-premises version of SharePoint 2013. Via SharePoint the service is functionally the same. The 25GB limit can be easily changed if needed as storage is now locally sourced and not part of the cloud. Users can sync files to their desktop using the same Windows app described above, providing a great way to get SharePoint files when you are stuck in that tunnel on a train.

However users of SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint on-premises don't yet have any mobile app options. There is no client to browse your SkyDrive Pro files from your iOS or Windows phone. This is a shame. Whilst it doesn't detract from the fantastic web and desktop experience the service offers, it is something many users ask us about.

The good news is Microsoft is working on app updates that will enable this functionality, though we don't yet have any details about when they will appear. Fingers crossed it is soon though, as SkyDrive Pro is a really powerful service and one that deserves to be enjoyed to the full by both Office 365 and on-premises users.

Sam Hassani Principal Consultant

‘Sensible’ Sam is an asset to the consulting team. Having jumped the fence from Microsoft a few years back, he now consults and designs large scale SharePoint, O365 and Azure solutions for BrightStarr. His conscientious approach got him his nickname, and although he’s not afraid to take risks, he’s always a safe bet. Delivering stable, well thought out solutions time and time again.

In his previous job, he specialized in SharePoint, working in the field and with the product team, Sam is genuinely excited by his vocation and speaks at conferences and events with enthusiasm. Just don’t get him started on hybrid search! At the weekend Sam likes to ride his road bike and hang out with his young son.

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