How to map network drives to SharePoint Online document libraries
SharePoint has always provided a lot of flexibility in its sites, allowing IT admins to create practically-unlimited custom user experiences. But, not everyone wants to spend time customising SharePoint when the primary purpose is as a file-store. And, even many SharePoint purists will admit that there are certain use-cases where File Explorer integration is useful. After all, when it comes to using SharePoint via the web-UI vs a mapped drive the answer should actually be: why not both?
Mapping drives to SharePoint Online doesn’t have the best reputation. Partly because of the attitudes of some the said SharePoint purists. But also because the mechanism which Microsoft natively provided to do it is relatively obscure and awkward for non-IT-savvy users.
Aside from the major inconvenience and impracticability of getting your users to map their own drive letters, the drives themselves, which are reliant on web-cookies, are really temperamental.
You can use a Powershell script to automate the drive mapping process, but scripts aren’t able to overcome the fragile nature of the cookies. And getting users to re-run a script whenever their drives fail isn’t viable for most organizations.
Sync is not your friend
OneDrive (originally Skydrive) started as an individual consumer product to rival Box and Dropbox. Everything that’s happened since has been influenced by architectural decisions that are consumer – not business – focused. File synchronization is one of those decisions. File sync is a fantastic feature for individual consumers, but in many situations it is pretty terrible when it comes to business and institutional use. The OneDrive sync client has a range of limitations, such as in Citrix environments where it’s almost unusable, but at the heart of them is the ‘sync’ concept itself.
The OneDrive sync client is sub-par for many organizations even when accessing individual storage within OneDrive for Business. But for shared storage within SharePoint and Microsoft Teams it’s fundamentally wrong. The idea that you could have your critical sensitive business data being synced to hundreds or thousands of different disparate devices is pretty much unthinkable.
Cloud Drive Mapper changes the game
With Cloud Drive Mapper (CDM), mapping drives to SharePoint Online doesn’t just become viable, it becomes a no-brainer. You benefit from all the advantages of having a Desktop integration with SharePoint Online, including:
- Being able to save directly to SharePoint from any application (even legacy Desktop apps)
- It’s quicker and easier to navigate directories and organize files, keeping users fully productive
- Users can create Desktop shortcuts to favourite files and folders to further increase productivity
- It’s much easier to open multiple files at the same time
- It’s a familiar experience for users of any IT level, reducing friction with users and the need for any training
While at the same time not replacing the SharePoint Online UI, so that for certain tasks which have been designed within SharePoint, the web-UI is still a great complimentary option. And, regardless of whether in the File Explorer view or the web-UI, with Cloud Drive Mapper you can still benefit from SharePoint’s powerful benefits, such as:
- Dynamic permissions and Microsoft-grade cloud security
- Full support for Azure MFA and Azure AD conditional access
- Co-authoring of Office documents
- Check-in check-out for conflict management
- Version control
- Data backups and multi-tiered recycle-bins
- Minimisation of on-prem data footprint
- Reduced costs of network storage
How to map network drives SharePoint Online using Cloud Drive Mapper
Why Cloud Drive Mapper?
- Cloud Drive Mapper (CDM) is an enterprise-grade application with an expert team of engineers available to help with configuration, deployment and troubleshooting.
- It’s robust and trusted by millions of users across thousands of organizations all over the world.
- IAM Cloud are longstanding Microsoft Gold Partners, a former Microsoft Worldwide Partner of the Year, and ISO27001 certified for information security.
- Cloud Drive Mapper is supported across a range of environments including Windows and Windows Server. CDM is also compatible with VDI & VAI environments, including Citrix, RDS and VMWare.
- CDM is a simple yet powerful solution that’s easy to manage, reliable and affordable. It’s especially affordable considering you can significantly reduce your local storage server costs with CDM + Microsoft 365.
- Cloud Drive Mapper maps drives to OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams for full Microsoft365 storage integration.
- CDM has a range of useful added features for both end-users and IT admins.