OneDrive Cloud Storage Overview

Need Help? Contact the IT Service Desk at 252-328-9866

Jump to a category: Available to | Terminology | What is OneDrive? | Why use OneDrive? | Resources | Accessibility | Security

Available to

Faculty, Staff, Students


Understanding these terms makes it easier to work with your OneDrive storage.

  • Cloud storage. An online storage location.
  • Co-author/collaborate. Multiple users make edits to one document. There is only one version of the document. You can go back to a previous version.
  • ECU OneDrive vs. Personal OneDrive. If you own a personal Windows device, you may have set up a personal OneDrive account. This is a separate cloud storage space from your ECU OneDrive, and the two accounts cannot be merged.
  • Microsoft 365. Subscription through Microsoft that includes apps and services like ECU email, OneDrive cloud storage with Office Online, Teams, SharePoint, Office Suite downloads and Stream.
  • Sync. After setup, one copy of your synced files is saved to your computer and another copy is saved to your OneDrive cloud folder. These files are linked, so changes you make to a synced document or folder on your computer are also reflected in your OneDrive folder. 

What is Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage?

Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage is available through your Microsoft 365 subscription and alumni email and is the only approved cloud storage for ECU data. OneDrive is easy to use and works seamlessly with other 365 services like Teams and SharePoint. Links in this document reference how-to articles in the Microsoft help and learn support website. Having issues? See these troubleshooting articles or call the Pirate Techs Service Desk at 252-328-9866 | 800-340-7081.


  • Save. 5TB of storage for sensitive and non-sensitive data for employee/student accounts. Alumni and group accounts are 1TB. More space can be requested. Also use your OneDrive with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. NOTE: Do not save sensitive data to your desktop, laptop or mobile device.
  • Access. Log in to your Microsoft 365 account, then click the OneDrive icon: or OneDrive files are available anywhere through any device with internet access - just log in. Files synced to your computer are available with no internet access (sync keeps a copy on both OneDrive and your computer).
  • Sync. Windows 10 users add their ECU account to the OneDrive sync app. Mac users download the sync app. You have total control over which files and folders are synced with OneDrive. Folders shared with you can also be synced. NOTE: While OneDrive is approved for sensitive data storage, DO NOT sync HIPAA, FERPA or other sensitive data to your devices. See the Microsoft Help and Learning/sync how-to's to mange files and folders.
  • Create and Edit. Create new documents within OneDrive using the Office Online apps. Edit files through your browser using Office Online or download to use the full version of Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Shared files can be simultaneously edited by multiple users. The autosave feature saves your changes to OneDrive so there’s only one version of a file.
  • Share and Collaborate. Share files or folders with ECU and non-ECU users. Stop sharing at any time. Collaboration allows simultaneous editing with one or more users Through Office Online. You must first share the file with and give edit permissions to another user. Edits are labeled with the user’s name. You are allowed to share files with non-ECU users (must create an account).
  • Mobile apps. Use the OneDrive mobile app to access files through a tablet or phone. NOTE: When you open a OneDrive document on your device, a copy of that file is downloaded to the device.
  • Learning Tools. Improve reading and writing skills using read aloud features, immersive reader and other comprehension tools. Learn more from Microsoft’s Learning Tools page.

Why use OneDrive?

OneDrive is a versatile and ECU-approved way to manage your documents and is the only approved cloud storage for ECU data. OneDrive is also available within Teams and SharePoint.


Recorded sessions from November 2021 training series: Sync, Share, Collaborate:


Accessibility Support for OneDrive (Microsoft website)


ECU data cannot be stored external to the university network (in the "cloud") without the proper authorization and approval of the department head, data owner and CIO (Chief Information Officer).  Other cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Docs do not meet university storage standards and should not be used to store any ECU data without proper authorization. Visit the cloud storage security page for a detailed explanation.

OneDrive is approved for storage of general and sensitive data. However:

  1. Never store sensitive data on your computer or mobile device.
  2. If you plan to store sensitive data in OneDrive, see this policy page from University Data Governance for guidance. Contact the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (328-9474) to determine whether research data, technical specifications or information falls under these categories.
  3. See the Guidelines for Protecting Sensitive Data article for specifics.
  4. You may need to contact the data steward for permission to store a particular type on OneDrive. See this University Data Governance web page.
  5. Never sync sensitive data from OneDrive to your computer (sensitive data should not be saved to your devices). See this Microsoft support article: Choose which OneDrive folders to sync to your computer.


Article ID: 67425
Fri 11/8/19 4:22 PM
Thu 9/1/22 10:47 AM
Service Owner
Unified Communications

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