SharePoint Online as an Alternative to File Servers for Document Storage

SharePoint Online as an Alternative to File Servers for Document Storage

There are many different document storage solutions out there, but they don’t all give you the same features or flexibility.

If you’re currently using a file server for document storage, you may not have many features beyond the basics of how you typically store files on a computer hard drive.

Today’s document management demands go past just the need to store a file somewhere. Companies need to have a way to control the life cycle of documents, facilitate versioning, and be able to direct how documents are shared with others.

And all of this needs to be easy, fluid, and secure.

A great alternative to using file servers for document storage is SharePoint Online. This Microsoft 365 application has multiple features that go beyond traditional file storage and give you more control over your data.

21.3% of productivity losses are due to document management challenges.

SharePoint Online is often an under-utlised part of the Microsoft 365 subscription. Read on to learn how you can deploy it to improve your document storage and management.

Benefits of Using SharePoint for Document Storage & Sharing

From the ability to easily collaborate with others to tight document security based on metadata, SharePoint packs a powerful productivity punch when it comes to document storage and management.

Here are several of the features that make SharePoint online an excellent Document Management System.

Auto Versioning

The auto versioning features helps you avoid overwritten data and loss of original files. This ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to which version of a document they should be using.

Some of the helpful tasks that the versioning in SharePoint can handle for you automatically are:

  • Tracking history of a version, see when a file was changed and who changed it
  • Restore a previous version of a file
  • View a previous version of a file without overwriting the current version


When you have two different people working on a document, having each one do their part then send the document in an email to the other, can quickly get confusing and time-consuming.

SharePoint online allows you to co-author Office documents, so two people can be working on it at the same time and editing the same file. This saves significant time and can reduce rework.

Full Text Search

When searching for a document, you might not always know the exact file name, but you know you want a certain type of document about a specific topic (like “ice cream”.)

SharePoint Online has full text search, which means it will search on any text within a document, not just the document name. So, typing “ice cream” would bring up that document, even if that word wasn’t in the name.


Metadata gives you more control over your documents by giving you more information about them. For example, you may want to know the author’s name or department, which would be considered metadata.

You can use metadata in SharePoint online to add information details and keywords onto documents that give you more flexibility for search, applying security controls, and more.

Document Sharing with External Parties

One of the reasons that businesses use cloud file storage is to more easily share documents with those outside their organization. This overcomes those challenges with trying to email large files only to see them get bounced.

SharePoint Online allows you to share files easily with those inside or outside your company. Plus, you can put specific security protections in place that ensure the data you’re sharing is only being shared the way you intended.

You can also revoke sharing permissions anytime you like by removing a file sharing link or access permission.

Offline Access with OneDrive Sync

Need to get to your files while you’re offline? Syncing SharePoint files using the OneDrive sync client makes it easy.

This syncs files in SharePoint Online with your device, so you can access a copy in your file explorer even if you don’t have an internet connection. This makes it simple to work anywhere and never be without critical files.

Easy Collaboration

SharePoint is a powerful collaboration and information sharing tool in Microsoft 365. For example, when you set up a team in Microsoft Teams, a SharePoint site is provisioned so they can securely share files and collaborate.

SharePoint also gives you the ability to create a company intranet for information sharing using SharePoint sites and dynamically bring in files and other data. It also helps you power dynamic lists, and more.

Learn How to Fully Deploy SharePoint in Your Organization

Make the most of your Microsoft 365 subscription by working with GKM2 to unleash the full power of SharePoint Online for dynamic document storage, management, and collaboration.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.