Remote working has become the new normal over the past few months, as the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the digital transformation.

Jobs, meetings, social gatherings and family interactions have moved online, which means customers need the right apps to remain productive whilst staying connected to friends and colleagues.

Central to remote working is the ability to share files efficiently, allowing people to access important information, so they can collaborate with colleagues, despite being in different locations.

For this reason, Microsoft recently announced a range of exciting OneDrive features across Microsoft 365 that bring a more connected and flexible files experience to business users.

In this blog, we’ve analysed some of the most important features and the impact these will have on our clients.

Add to OneDrive

One of the most significant updates is a feature called ‘Add to OneDrive’ that makes it easy for users to add share folders directly to their OneDrive.

This includes content that has been shared with you through someone else’s OneDrive or content that is part of your shared library in Teams or SharePoint.

With this feature, users can bring all their shared content together in one place, whilst allowing individuals to work with the shared content as if the files were their own.

This means that the added content can be synced, shared and collaborated on, retaining the existing security and compliance policies where necessary. All of this ensures businesses enjoy a connected, flexible, secure and personal files experience.

Teams sharing integration

Since the crisis started and the lockdown measures were introduced, the popularity of Microsoft Teams has boomed, with many relying on the service throughout.

Therefore, Microsoft wanted to add more familiarity across their service offering, allowing users to feel comfortable no matter which app they’re using.

To extend this familiarity to files, Microsoft has added the same file sharing and access control experience in Teams that business users already understand from other Microsoft 365 apps, including OneDrive, Outlook and Office.

As part of this update, users will have the option to create links when sharing a file from within Teams, providing access to anyone, whether it’s to someone within your organisation or another outside group.

Synced metadata and 100 GB file updates

As many of you will know, metadata adds structure and compliance to your files, but currently, shared libraries with mandatory metadata synchronises as read-only.

Later this month, Microsoft will be rolling out an update to the OneDrive sync app supporting read and write sync for shared libraries that contain required metadata.

Once this feature has been released, business users will be able to edit content in their synced libraries while working from their desktops.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has increased the upload file size limit from 15 GB to 100 GB in OneDrive and SharePoint, which is an extremely helpful improvement for business users that work in large file types, like 3D and CAD.

Differential sync will help streamline the upload process for large files by only syncing the parts that have changed, instead of the entire file.

Enhanced file protection and governance

In recent weeks, there have been a range of security features added to strengthen file protection and governance in OneDrive and SharePoint.

These include Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels, automatic classification with sensitivity labels, sensitivity labels for SharePoint sites and information barriers.

Now, admins can implement automatic expiration of external access and multi-factor authentication policies, like requesting one-time passcodes (OTP).

Microsoft is also extending continuous assess evaluations to OneDrive and SharePoint, giving users greater control over the security of their files.

Improved sharing permissions

It’s crucial that important files move with your workflow, relocating to shared cloud libraries as it moves through its lifecycle, from creation to review.

However, it’s counter-productive if the access of the group is affected by the file’s movement, so in an update that will be rolled out later this month, users can continue sharing with collaborators when they move their files.

This means all business users who had original access to a file will be re-added to it if that file changes shared library locations.

Those users will now receive a link maintaining the same permissions they had previously and receive a new notification about the move.

Looking towards a flexible future…

Although the lockdown measures are slowly being lifted, there will be many organisations looking to implement long-term flexibility now that they’ve seen how it works.

Therefore, it’s crucial that Microsoft continue delivering important updates that enhance collaboration and communication for those working at home.

When it comes to remote working and collaboration, file sharing is at the heart of everything that happens, as it gives people access to the information they need.

The file sharing updates outlined above will enhance the experience for business users, ensuring files can be accessed efficiently and securely.

If you’d like more information or would like to implement specific technology in your business, then contact our experienced team for more details.