Cloud Storage for Personal Data

Updated: March 4th, 2016

Author: Ross Madden

Categories: General CNSIT, Internet & Networking, Knowledge Base, Pangea, The Cloud, Tips and Tricks

Personal storage has been handled by many different technologies over the years.  At first, the term was just used to describe data on your personal computer – stored in it’s local hard drive.  We may have supplemented this storage with the use of external hard drives that we could move around from one computer to another, making it available on more than one machine.  At this same time, tech savvy individuals may have been setting up network shares on their computer, which they could access from other computers.  This was nice, in that you didn’t need to drag the hard drive around with you to get to the data.  The trouble with this, was that you typically had to be on the same network to have access.  Our own Pangea (http://cnsit.natsci.colostate.edu/pangea) file service is an example of an early venture into these network storage solutions.  Albeit, Pangea is a bit more complicated than a simple network share, it allows for many users to collaboratively work on the same documents.  You still had to be on the same network to access this data though, but this was also overcome in combining the service with a VPN (http://www.acns.colostate.edu/Help/SSL-Gateway-Installers).

After this, services started to appear which took care of that “same-network” limitation.  These are the more recent “Cloud” services.  Cloud storage services are available from almost anywhere in the world, usually through a web page, or a installable client application.  Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive (and OneDrive for Business – more on this shortly…), are all cloud storage services.  Another great advance with these Cloud storage services, was the amount of storage you could get for free, or very little cost.  In fact, the storage capacity for some of these cloud storage services outpaced what we (CNSIT) could provide locally by hundreds of gigabytes per user.  It soon became clear that we shouldn’t try to compete, and should instead work towards utilizing these stores.

It wasn’t long before Fall of 2014 rolled through, and CSU signed an Microsoft Office 365 (hereafter O365) contract, providing MS Office, E-mail and other services to all CSU information workers and students (http://www.acns.colostate.edu/O365).  As part of O365, came a cloud storage solution that offered 1 Terabyte of capacity (with the intent to add more over time as well) for every user called OneDrive for Business.  At the time of this writing, there is a possibility that this quota may increase to 5TB in the near future (http://www.computerworld.com/article/3016692/enterprise-applications/microsoft-limits-unlimited-onedrive-for-business-storage-to-priciest-office-365-enterprise-plans.html).  Even the 1TB limit puts the Pangea limit of 20GB to shame.  It is now time to take advantage of this, and get users personal data storage off of Pangea, and on to OneDrive for Business.

OneDrive for Business

An important note to start with – “OneDrive” and “OneDrive for Business” are two separate things.  I know, terrible naming convention – at least Microsoft has been consistent with this type of thing (think “Explorer” and “Internet Explorer”).  CSU’s O365 license will always be referring to “OneDrive for Business” – please keep this in mind!

If you are using OneDrive for Business for the first time.  You will want to log in to the O365 portal at https://portal.office.com Please keep in mind that for authenticating to O365 services at CSU, your Username must be in the format of eName@colostate.edu (you will still use your regular CSU eID password along with this).  Depending on your use history with O365 at CSU, the page you land on will vary.  To get to OneDrive for Business from any page in the O365 portal, you can simply click on the “Office 365” title located in the top left.  See image below:

From there, you can click on the OneDrive image – and initiate the service as needed.

odb-button

For machines that you do not own, this method for accessing your personal cloud data will be sufficient, ie – use the web portal at https://portal.office.com

However, for personally owned computers, you may want a more sophisticated client installed on your computer, which will integrate your OneDrive for Business space with your Operating System.  Here are some links to information and setup guides associated with these installable clients:

Overview: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Meet-the-OneDrive-for-Business-Next-Generation-Sync-Client-7af500d9-a18e-4abb-8450-b94f4e52c1a0

Windows
Setup Guide: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Get-started-with-the-OneDrive-for-Business-Next-Generation-Sync-Client-in-Windows-615391c4-2bd3-4aae-a42a-858262e42a49?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

Mac OS X
Setup Guide: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Get-started-with-the-OneDrive-for-Business-Next-Generation-Sync-Client-on-Mac-OS-X-d11b9f29-00bb-4172-be39-997da46f913f?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US