Microsoft has introduced OneDrive for Business, the new name for SkyDrive Pro, and announced that companies can adopt the cloud storage service as a standalone product, without having to sign up for Office 365 or SharePoint Online.
OneDrive for Business is a service where employees can store, share and sync personal work files. Starting April 1st, companies will get access to the service as part of Office Online, the free, browser-based version of Microsoft's productivity suite formerly called Office Web Apps.
Companies that use OneDrive for Business as part of Office Online can get 25GB of storage for each employee, for US$5 per user per month, according to Microsoft. They can also buy additional storage capacity if they need it.
"With the new offering, businesses of all sizes can get started with a full-featured and intuitive file sync and share service that includes Office Online, so employees can collaborate on Office documents in real time via a browser or using their Office desktop applications," Julia White, general manager of technical product management for Office 365, wrote in a blog post Monday.
OneDrive for Business has been available at no extra cost with most editions of Office 365, the cloud email and collaboration suite that includes online versions of Exchange, Lync and SharePoint, and with the standalone SharePoint Online service.
Other enhancements announced on Monday include a revamped user interface that gives prominent placement to the most commonly used OneDrive for Business features on a menu strip near the top of the page, and a new view that lists folders of sites a user follows.
Microsoft also improved the OneDrive for Business search engine with results that are auto-suggested as users type their queries and with the ability to act on results from the results page, including sharing them with other users.
Microsoft made the announcement at its SharePoint Conference, which runs through Thursday in Las Vegas.
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.
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