Is SharePoint the replacement for network drives?

Is SharePoint the replacement for network drives?

When migrating from file shares/network drives to SharePoint Online and Teams, this is most likely the first question you’ll have. Whether your company is new to Microsoft 365 or has been using SharePoint and Teams for a while, you’re undoubtedly wondering if you should take the plunge and transfer all network drives to SharePoint Online. This question will be addressed in this post.

You might be thinking about switching to SharePoint Online and questioning if SharePoint is a good alternative for network drives. Here are a few examples I’ve encountered when working with clients.

  • For example, you have files on local file servers that require VPN access.
  • Your local file server requires an upgrade, which is higher than SharePoint Online’s cost.
  • Your file server is now housed in the basement of your IT guy.
  • You’ve switched to Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive.
  • Your organization began utilizing Teams following the 2020 pandemic work-from-home lockdown, transferred some recent files to Teams/SharePoint, and now you’re wondering if you should migrate everything and remove the file server in the basement.


We will not do what they do with soap operas; you have to watch 150 episodes to find out how it ends. We will respond as soon as possible. Yes, SharePoint can be used in place of file servers. However, specific prerequisites must be met for this to succeed.

Effective information architecture is essential.

If you believe you can transfer the contents of the file server to a single SharePoint site/document library and then tell your boss that everything is set and done, you should hide in your parents’ basement from your boss and the users, next to your old file server. One of the most common errors that IT businesses make is transitioning to SharePoint without developing a robust Information Architecture. We don’t think in terms of folders in SharePoint; we think in terms of sites. Furthermore, SharePoint has restrictions that should be considered. Ignoring those will land you a lot of trouble and may make your boss want to hire me to remedy the problem.

It is more than just files and directories.

Another thing you should consider is a fun tidbit we always tell our clients. While SharePoint can replace a file server, it should not be used as one. Yes, browsing the 10-level folder system is entertaining, but today’s consumers want more than just primary document access. Users anticipate modern capabilities such as external sharing, document dialogues (think Teams), the ability to construct approval workflows, and potentially more intelligent methods to organize papers (consider metadata).

A single location for all content

This is particularly true if your users already utilize Teams. That means some of your file sharing is already stored in the cloud. Having a second (local) file share makes no sense because users will be requested to search for material in multiple locations. When everything is in one place, users can search for it from a single spot, and all files and folders adhere to the same compliance/security/retention regulations.

Proper training is required.

It would help if you did not overlook the importance of adequate User Training when migrating files from a file server to SharePoint Online. It is the users’ power in SharePoint Online!!! Instead of just a few drives/folders, users now have control over entire sites and teams. They must comprehend what occurs when they invite an external member to the Team in Teams. Alternatively, how to manage version history, recover files from the Recycle Bin, or restore the entire library. Many implementations fail not because “SharePoint stinks” but because users were left untrained.

Please contact us if you are interested in upgrading your company’s servers.

At Alcero, we offer personalized advice on everything you need to know to make it the perfect management tool for your company. Learn more about the benefits of using SharePoint. Ask for more information about our EDM services at 514-316-5064 or [email protected].