General Help

Where to store your data in M365 (OneDrive/SharePoint/Teams)

OneDrive is intended for personal data that is work related and only intended to be shared with a small set of people. The data will only persist while the user who owns it maintains their account.  Avoid creating organizational systems that rely on OneDrive accounts. 

Teams and the SharePoint data stores behind it are intended for small group collaboration and data that is considered transient in nature. It should not be used as a permanent archive location. Teams data only persists while the Team continues to exist. 

SharePoint is intended to be the permanent repository of organizational data at West Point. It is designed to be the location that persists beyond users and provides data continuity. 


  1. OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Teams for Education are all very helpful applications. However, what’s the difference between them? And when should each application be used? 
  1. OneDrive and SharePoint are similar in the way that they’re both cloud-based applications where files can be stored and shared. 
  1. Both OneDrive and SharePoint offer users the ability to store files in the cloud, access them from any device, and share them with others. 
  1. However, there are important functional differences between OneDrive and SharePoint. 
  1. OneDrive is a personal cloud-based storage location for individuals to save and access their files. Items in OneDrive are always private until they are manually shared. 
  1. OneDrive should be used for situations where you plan to store or share files individually. 
  1. For example, if you need to share a link to a document for a colleague to proofread, OneDrive would be the best place to store and share that document. 
  1. The major difference between OneDrive and SharePoint is that SharePoint is meant to facilitate open communication between team members. 
  1. SharePoint can be seen as an internal website for an organization, one with a dashboard and team site page that is managed by an admin. 
  1. SharePoint Online offers a team site page, libraries, calendars, workflows, and other features to help with team communication and collaboration. 
  1. SharePoint Online should be used when you want team members to recognize a document as being relevant to an ongoing project. 
  1. SharePoint should be used when you want to spread ownership and permissions across a wider collection of people. 
  1. For example, if a document is important to the success of a project, then that document should be saved in SharePoint so it can be accessed by the team. Whereas in OneDrive, the same document would remain private and unavailable to team members unless manually shared to each individual. 
  1. On SharePoint, anyone who has access to the team site will also have access to all documents on the site. 
  1. SharePoint should also be used when you want to access projects saved onto the site library, and when you want to create a check-in workflow that assigns a document to someone else. 
  1. Here’s a helpful way to remember the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint. Think of the “One” in OneDrive to mean the singular individual; items are saved privately per each user’s drive and remain private until shared. 
  1. Think of the “Share” in SharePoint to mean that all of the items are already shared between multiple team members. 
  1. Microsoft Teams for Education, on the other hand, has a very different functionality and purpose. 
  1. Most notably, Microsoft Teams for Education is a chat-based workspace. This is the key difference that makes Teams very unique from the two previous applications. 
  1. Microsoft Teams for Education allows users to have private or group conversations between chat and meetings. 
  1. Use Microsoft Teams for Education when you want to have a single interface for common collaboration tools, especially user chat, video call, or audio call. 
  1. In addition to communication, Microsoft Teams for Education is a hub where users can utilize other Microsoft 365 apps. 
  1. Microsoft Teams can also be used to divide collaboration by utilizing “channels” which helps streamline communication for specific purposes. 
  1. For example, a channel can be created for a specific project to help maintain a go-to spot for ongoing communication on that topic. 
  1. Use Microsoft Teams for Education instead of SharePoint when needing to discuss or collaborate with one, or a few specific individuals, about a certain topic or project. 
  1. Lastly, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams for Education are all connected to help streamline workflow. 
  1. For example, OneDrive files can be quickly accessed through the Files navigation in Teams for Education. 
  1. SharePoint is the application on the back end of the Files tab within each Microsoft Teams for Education channel.
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