What is Microsoft SharePoint?
Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based platform that allows an organization to store, share, and collaborate on files. Users upload content to the secure, online library that is then synchronized using the Microsoft OneDrive for Business application, which works on personal computers, Macs, and mobile devices. SharePoint is available for those with Microsoft 365 small business plans, enterprise plans, or Office 365 enterprise plans.
Pros of using Microsoft SharePoint
Mobility – As long as you have an internet connection, you can log into SharePoint and access all the files and information you need, just like you can when you’re in the office.
File governance – Unlike a traditional shared drive on a network, SharePoint gives you the option to create and assign policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that control how teams within your organization use and view data.
Document sharing – SharePoint allows you to share specific files or folders with other users, even if they aren’t a part of your organization and don’t have access to your SharePoint library.
Collaboration functionality – Groups can collaborate on projects within SharePoint using Microsoft 365 tools like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Microsoft Teams can further enable collaboration, especially in work-from-home scenarios.
File organization – SharePoint offers many ways to organize your files, from creating libraries to designing a front page that you can customize to your liking.
Project management – By using a SharePoint project site, you can centralize your project information, connect your team, document and assign tasks, keep track of project-related events, and make reporting easier.
Security – SharePoint requires the setup of multi-factor authentication (MFA) – a method of verifying your identity before logging in. For example, after entering your email and password, you would also need to approve the login on your phone. Even if someone got the password for your account, they still would not be able to get in and access your data.
An added layer of security is how you can set various permissions for users in SharePoint. A group of users can be read-only, while another group can edit, but not move files and folders. Another option is having an owner group where users can have full control of the SharePoint library.
Cons of traditional network shared drives
Limited security features – A shared drive is one of the most insecure document management solutions. Its only security measure is restricting access to certain files and folders. But security access permissions are not the best way of ensuring your files are secure – some experts even consider them completely inefficient.
Basic search capabilities – As a shared drive grows, it gets cluttered and can become exceedingly difficult for users to navigate and find files with the limited search functions provided.
Duplicate and misplaced files – In a shared drive, it’s easy for someone to accidentally move a file and misplace it. This compounds the weak search function which can make it hard to locate a lost file. Since there is no way to change drive permissions, missing files can become a big headache if important files are moved.
Only accessible within the office – Shared drives are limited because they can only be accessed when you’re working in the office. If you’re working from home and don’t have a secure enterprise VPN (Virtual Private Network), you won’t have access to any of the files on a shared drive.
Microsoft SharePoint makes sharing files and collaborating on projects easy for any organization. It keeps teams on track, increases productivity, and gives team leaders the tools to communicate effectively and manage permissions. While a traditional shared network drive may be familiar, it’s not as secure, collaborative, or versatile as SharePoint – an Evident IT-approved Microsoft product.