PROS / The upload speed was very fast.
CONS / The files aren't encrypted.
VERDICT / Microsoft OneDrive's biggest advantage over other cloud storage services is the suite of software that it comes with – Microsoft Office 365. However, the download speed was very slow, and the files are only protected in transit with SSL encryption.
There are two ways of looking at Microsoft OneDrive: It's either a cloud storage service that comes with a suite of office software, or it's a suite of software that comes with 1TB of online storage. Either way, the cost is the same, $9.99 a month, which is comparable to other cloud storage services that don't come with Microsoft Office 365. As a standalone cloud storage service, its performance in our tests was generally average, but the security is missing some key features.
For our online storage review, we evaluated each service's value for 1TB of storage for an individual, a small family with three computers and a large family with at least five computers. We also tested the upload speed and download speed, and evaluated the overall ease of use.
Microsoft OneDrive's overall value is above average for each type of plan. Since the subscription allows you to install the app onto five computers, the price remains the same for an individual and a large family – $119.88 per year, or $9.99 a month. In comparison, however, the best value in our review is $44.62, regardless of the number of users or computers. So even though OneDrive provides above-average value, it still costs significantly more than the best cloud storage service. Of course, while we didn't factor this into our ratings, it's important to consider that a suite of software is also included. If you use Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint via Microsoft Office 365, then you're already paying for 1TB of cloud storage.
In our upload speed tests, OneDrive received an A-, which suggests it could complete an upload of 1TB of data in less than seven days, if the upload was uninterrupted. We tested 23 services and this was among the fastest upload speeds recorded. Conversely, however, the download speed didn't fare as well, receiving a C for speed. The average download speed suggests you could download 1TB of data in about 19 days, which was about eight days below average.
OneDrive's ease of use received a B- in our evaluation. When you install OneDrive, it sets up folders for documents, music and videos. It's very similar to how your files are already organized on a PC so that you can store all your files within these folders, which automatically uploads the files to the servers and syncs them with any devices you own. However, downloading files is the most difficult part of the process. Microsoft requires you to log in to your account. The best storage services allow you to download files directly from the app.
The most significant downside to Microsoft OneDrive is the lack of encryption on the server level. Files are encrypted during the upload process via SSL 128-bit encryption, but once on the server, the files aren't protected unless you use a third-party app to encrypt the files prior to uploading.
One upside to the security is the option to use two-step verification with the login process. This feature protects against people gaining access to your account through the front door. One of the most common ways hackers gain entry is by getting your password through some form of deception. With two-step verification (sometimes referred to as two-factor authorization), you log in to your account as usual, but instead of giving you access to your account, the service moves you to a second login where you then have to enter a PIN that the service sends to your phone or email. In other words, your presence is required to gain access.
Microsoft OneDrive is 1TB of online cloud storage that's bundled with a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, which means that you get access to three of the most used software applications on a PC – Word, Excel and PowerPoint. While the download speed was far below average, the upload speed was exceptional. The lack of encryption at the server level is a concern, but the two-step verification option is an excellent feature.