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TechMentor Keynote: New OneDrive Feature To Be Key Factor for Data Migrations

A major new feature of Microsoft OneDrive represents an important new option for moving customer data from desktops into the cloud, according to a senior Microsoft product manager.

Stephen Rose, senior product manager for OneDrive for Business, provided an update on the file hosting service's roadmap during the main keynote at the TechMentor conference, being held this week at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Wash. The TechMentor conference is hosted by Redmond Channel Partner's parent company, 1105 Media Inc.

The feature is called Known Folder Move, or KFM, and it is a major component in Microsoft's strategy for helping IT back up or migrate end users' desktop data to the cloud.

"With the [Known Folder Move] update, what you'll see is a new tab called Auto Save," Rose said Tuesday. If IT enables the Auto Save option, end users can go in and start the process themselves, or IT departments can use a Group Policy Object (GPO) to push out a request for end users to protect their folders. Either way, KFM creates the Desktop, Pictures and Documents folders in the cloud and synchronizes the users' content in both places. Users can continue to work while the content synchronizes.

Stephen Rose of Microsoft emphasized Known Folder Move for OneDrive in a TechMentor Redmond keynote this week.

Rose put KFM's role in data migrations to OneDrive in context for the IT administrators and consultants in the audience. "This is great for small business or smaller organizations," Rose said. "For small to midsize businesses, or if you're just rolling it out in small groups, this becomes an ideal way to set that up."

As for enterprises, Rose said KFM could work, but Microsoft wouldn't recommend it. "If it's a large amount -- I have a company that had four petabytes of data -- we probably want to get a partner or FastTrack. We do have a free service if you're on Box or Dropbox that can migrate you. We have our SharePoint Toolkit which can move your OneDrive from a dedicated on-prem store to the cloud. So we have lots of tools that can help you do it," Rose said.

Just before the KFM discussion, Rose presented OneDrive in the broader context of Microsoft's overall Microsoft 365 push, which is an effort to move customers from Windows 7, Office clients and on-premises file server environments to Windows 10, Office 365 and OneDrive.

In that light, Rose talked up other advantages that would result from using KFM or other means to get users onto OneDrive. "Now that content is being backed up and it can be can use all of the Office 365 tools," he said. "You can say any content that contains these words has to be kept for five years and part of a lockbox or can't be deleted or cannot be shared externally," he said. "The same policies that you use in Exchange can be extended to SharePoint can be extended to OneDrive."

Microsoft has already pushed KFM to all managed devices for users with less than 10GB of total files, which Rose said was about 30 percent of users. "We're going to open it up to everybody by the end of September," he said.

A lot of other features have either just arrived or are coming to OneDrive in that timeframe, said Rose, who described OneDrive as a central element of Microsoft's productivity and collaboration stack. "We look at [OneDrive] as the place to share and work with all of your files. It is the backbone for SharePoint, for Office, for Teams, for Stream, for all of those apps as the way to integrate and move," he said.

Features that Rose discussed Tuesday on that near-term roadmap included:

  • Camera Upload allows a user to pick a business account for a camera upload from a smartphone. In addition to more storage room and Office integration, the feature allows companies to store and own pictures that are company property, rather than relying on users to manage the images in their personal device photo collection. Microsoft has also added support for SD cards in Android.

  • Customization of Sharing Emails is a benefit for customers with E1, E3 and E5 plans. They can display their tenant logo when sharing through OneDrive.

  • Transfer Ownership is a feature for when an employee leaves the company or their current role. Rather than having the employee's OneDrive files go to their supervisor, organizations can now choose delegates. The feature has also been introduced for SharePoint and Exchange.

  • Users will get more control over securely sharing files externally. "We've had some requests because the external sharing with the password protection is great, but we've had some folks saying I want to be able to set my own password when I'm sharing something externally," Rose said. A feature called Password Protected Links will allow an end user to pick a password and share it via instant message, text or by phone. Another feature called Block Download, which can be turned on by an administrator, can allow the user to prevent the person their sharing the file with from downloading or printing the file.

  • Administrators and managers will be able to audit the external sharing trail, as well, with a feature called External Sharing Reports. Running the report shows everything that's been shared externally, who shared it, what the rights were and what the access was.

  • The OneDrive team is working with the Microsoft Intune team on a set of Intune policies, so that administrators can conduct administration on OneDrive through that management tool rather than through GPOs, if they choose.

  • Additional work is being done to make the sharing user experience through OneDrive Mobile more exactly match the experience on the desktop, the Web and the Mac.

  • A new scan experience leveraging the Microsoft Office Lens tool is being added to allow for better scanning and being integrated with Flow for processes, such as connecting receipts to expense approvals.

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 08, 2018 at 3:45 PM