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SharePoint Online vs. Windows Fileshares

I get a lot of questions from clients asking if they should look at using SharePoint Online or stick with Windows File Shares. Now it goes without saying that SharePoint is a completely different beast to file shares, it’s really capable of so much more than just serving files. However, in this comparison we will just look at the basic file serving abilities of it.

  SharePoint File Server
Document Types: Office Documents, Smaller Files Media Files, Databases Files. Any File Type, Large Files,
Document Management: 100 Previous Versions Document Alerts Tagging / Better Searching Automated Workflows Previous Versions (If enabled)
Remote Access: Works Anywhere out of the box Requires VPNs / RDP
Offline Access: OneDrive Offline Files
External Sharing: Easy Not really possible
Backups: Setup by default Additional Setup Required
Ease of use: Slightly harder: requires a change of process from users Easy: users are used to it.
Overall: Requires a Change in process for users but offers many more benefits, primarily: File Versioning, Automated Backups, Remote Access, External Sharing. Easy for the user, but a basic solution.
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