One of the key difference between Office 365’s SharePoint and OneDrive for Business document management services is the level of ownership and control between users and administrators. SharePoint belongs to the admins to manage, while users have dominion over their own personal storage in OneDrive for Business. Despite this, administrators have long wanted to exert some level of control over OneDrive for Business for compliance and security reasons.
Six years later, Microsoft has acknowledged the demand and has announced a dedicated dashboard for managing OneDrive for Business. The new admin center for the service is currently in preview and available to Office 365 subscribers that have signed up for the “First Release” program.
So, how do you know if you are a “First Release user”? By navigating to the Office 365 admin portal, admins can select their company name in the top right hand corner of the page. From their they can make edits to their release preferences in the middle of the subsequent page. More info on activating First Release is found in this article from Microsoft.
Now, to access the preview for the OneDrive admin center you must go directly to admin.onedrive.com. Here administrators will have the ability to manage user OneDrives in many of the ways that they can for SharePoint: they can create retention policies, manage devices and syncing capabilities.
The admin center also grants admins the ability to generate audit logs for OneDrive for Business, meaning that administrators can run reports and set alerts for specific behaviors within the platform.
For example, an administrator concerned about data loss may set an alert for every time a document is shared. This feature is part of the compliance center included in Office 365 Enterprise E3 tiered plans and higher, which can be activated by following the steps in the following guide.
An important thing to note about this release is that though administrators now have the ability to manage the content that can reside within the service, there is still no way for them to view the actually stored files. OneDrive for Business is, and shall remain, a personal, private space for storing one’s files.
Overall, Microsoft has made many improvements since the first release of SkyDrive Pro for Office 365. It’s exciting to see the new features being rolled out and to keep track of what’s to come, we suggest visiting the Office 365 Roadmap page.