SharePoint Admin Center Absorbs OneDrive for Business Management

Personal and Organization Document Management for Microsoft 365

I don’t know why Microsoft ever thought that it was wise or desirable to consider SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business as two separate workloads. The decision might have made sense years ago, when Microsoft began to extract itself from the legacy of its on-premises servers and wanted to demonstrate that it had multiple services to offer within Office 365. It makes none in the context of today’s cloud services.

The simple fact is that OneDrive for Business is no longer an optional extra for Office 365 users. Teams uses OneDrive for Business to share files, including the components built using the Fluid framework, in chats. Recordings of Teams personal meetings also go into OneDrive for Business, and Whiteboard is about to make the transition to OneDrive storage too. If you save an email attachment from Outlook, OneDrive is the preferred target. Users are encouraged to move their files stored in well-known folders from local workstations to OneDrive for Business to take advantage of features like Autosave and differential synchronization.

Increasing Importance of OneDrive for Business

Microsoft makes large amounts of storage available to OneDrive for Business users to make it possible to store data online. All signs indicate that Microsoft will continue to move application and personal data to OneDrive for Business storage whenever possible because it makes it easier to index and search files, including eDiscovery support. In a nutshell, the central importance of OneDrive for Business to cloud users increases as time passes.

The Demise of the OneDrive Admin Center

Which brings me to the elimination of the OneDrive for Business admin center. Or at least, the move of OneDrive settings into the SharePoint Online admin center (Figure 1), which removes the need for the OneDrive admin center. The SharePoint Online admin center has always had settings which affected OneDrive for Business, like sharing controls. Now we have a single place to manage system and personal document and file management for Microsoft 365, which is what these products deliver.

The SharePoint Online admin center and its dashboard composed of  insight cards
Figure 1: The SharePoint Online admin center and its dashboard composed of insight cards

Microsoft covered the move of the OneDrive settings in a July 2021 blog post. With so many blog posts, announcements, updates, and other information about different aspects of Microsoft 365 appearing each week, you might not have noticed the transition. If you go to the Settings section of the SharePoint Online admin center (Figure 2), you’ll find the OneDrive for Business controls.

OneDrive for Business controls in the SharePoint Online admin center
Figure 2: OneDrive for Business controls in the SharePoint Online admin center

Checking Sensitivity Labels and Sites

Another topic featured in Microsoft’s July blog is the new insight card to report the number of unlabeled sites. These are sites that don’t have an assigned sensitivity label. As you might notice from Figure 1, my tenant reports 128 of these sites. Given that I’ve invested lots of time working to implement sensitivity labels for container management, this seemed like a high number.

After checking the list of sites, I discovered that the set includes:

  • Sites retained by a compliance policy after removal of the original Microsoft 365 group.
  • System sites like the App Catalog site and the home site and its predecessor.
  • Sites created for Yammer communities before the switch of the Yammer network to Microsoft 365 native mode.
  • Teams created from a template (to close the gap, MC281936 describes an update rolling out soon to allow team owners to assign a sensitivity label when creating a new team from a template).
  • The Viva Topics center site.
  • The site created for the group used to control who can create custom templates for the Teams Approvals app.

In short, a bunch of sites turned up, some of which could do with a sensitivity label and others which don’t. In other words, a list that’s well worth reviewing.

Simplification is Goodness

I strongly approve of Microsoft’s move to incorporate OneDrive for Business management into the SharePoint Online admin center. There are still too many administrative consoles across Microsoft 365 and this step simplifies the tenant management landscape.

With the introduction of the new Exchange Online admin center and the transition of the old Security and Compliance Center to the Microsoft 365 compliance center, we’re also seeing rationalization of user interfaces. On the downside, the switchover from old to new consoles seems to be taking forever. Maybe it’s because it people need time to absorb change, but sometimes you’d wonder if it wouldn’t be better if Microsoft pulled the plaster off quickly and launched a family of new fully-functional administrative tools.

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