There have been many enhancements to the OneDrive for Business product over the past year. From the increase in storage to unlimited, to the introduction of the Next Generation Sync Client (NGSC), Microsoft has made it clear that OneDrive is a true contender as a business cloud storage solution. While the majority of enhancements targeted end users, the administrators were left wanting more. Well, today is your day Office 365 administrators!
Microsoft released the new OneDrive Admin Center in preview on December 15th, 2016 (the same day I presented on managing OneDrive for Business the old way. Go figure.). Thankfully we now have a simple admin portal similar to what we’ve always had with SharePoint Online. I’ve been pretty satisfied with the preview thus far and like what I’ve seen in the Tech Community conversations about upcoming features. In this post I’ll share an overview of the current features, along with what’s coming next.
How to turn on the OneDrive Admin Center
There are only two things you need to do in order to take the new OneDrive Admin Center for a spin. First, you must have the right permissions. Only Global Administrators and SharePoint Administrators will have access. As of right now, there is no OneDrive Administrator role. Second, you need to be sure that your account is set to receive First Release features. Once those two things are done, you should be able to successfully access the preview at https://admin.onedrive.com. Additionally, you will see a link to the OneDrive Admin Center in your personal OneDrive site.
OneDrive Admin Center Homepage
There’s nothing too exciting on the homepage yet. The graphic foreshadows the features to come, including usage reports and dashboards. The only thing you can do from this page is submit feedback to the OneDrive Product Team.
The sharing page allows you to modify all of the settings related to allowing Office 365 users to share content outside of your organization. One small but important change has been made to the external sharing audiences. In the past, you could choose to allow employees to share with authenticated external users, anonymous users or disable blocking altogether. When authenticated external sharing was enabled, end users could enter any external email address using the “Share” options in OneDrive. The external recipient did not have to exist in the Office 365 tenant already in order for the content to be shared. We now have four options. In addition to blocking all sharing, allowing anonymous links and end users sharing with any external email address, we now see the option to only allow sharing with “Only existing external users (sign-in required)”. This quietly added feature would allow an organization’s I.T. to add external users to the tenant and make them available for sharing, without allowing end users to share with just anyone. This feature ties in nicely with the Azure B2B capabilities.
Other options on this page include the ability to force all anonymous links to expire within a certain time frame. If this feature is not enabled, end users will be able to set their own expiration dates. The last great feature worth noting is external sharing by domain. Here you can create either a whitelist or a blacklist of domains to be used for external sharing.
The sync settings are very straightforward. The two features that have been available for some time include; the ability to block syncing on machines that are not joined to the corporate domain and blocking sync for specific file types. These settings were formerly only possible through PowerShell. There is one new option which provides an administrator with the option to let allow or deny the ability for end users to install the sync client from the OneDrive website.
While most users never need all of the storage that’s made available to them, it’s nice to know this is one area you will never have to worry about in the future. Every user gets unlimited personal document storage. The OneDrive library is initially provisioned with 1TB but here we have the option to increase it up to 5TB. If your users require more than 5TB you can contact Microsoft for additional storage. The other option on this page allows you to change the default retention period for OneDrive data from 30 days all the way up to 3,650 days – or 10 years! This feature was released back in February but was only available through PowerShell. It’s great to see these features in a simple admin console.
Device Access Settings
The device access settings control how users will be able to access the data stored in OneDrive for Business. Some of these features have already been made available through Azure AD Conditional Access , but there are additional settings that will provide useful for companies interested in controlling mobile access to Office 365 through Intune. My personal favorite on this page is the ability to control access to OneDrive and SharePoint based on IP ranges. Now you can easily block an employee from accessing their OneDrive data from outside the corporate network simply based on their IP address. If you are plan to deploy Intune, the mobile device management features can be configured on this page. This requires a separate license, which is part of the Enterprise Mobility Suite.
Finally, the compliance page includes links back to the Compliance Center. No new functionality offered here but if you’re unfamiliar with the Office 365 Compliance Center this should save you a few clicks.
What’s coming next?
The main feature that was previously announced but not included in the Admin Preview is the ability to limit who can share with external users based on AAD security group. This is already possible through PowerShell, but you have to specify the URL of each user’s OneDrive site collection in order to reduce the sharing capability. Some other administrative tools will remain in the SharePoint Online Admin Center at least for now. Those include:
- Set the “MySite” Secondary Administrator
- Enable “MySite” Access Delegation when an account is terminated
- Hide or show the OneDrive sync button
- Set the experience to either “Classic” or “Modern”
Overall the new OneDrive Admin Center definitely meets a need for Office 365 administrators and I’m excited to see it come to General Availability!