Office 365 has lots of choice when it comes to storing corporate information and that confuses many people. The first place to start to avoid confusion is to understand exactly where information can be placed inside Office 365 and whether that information is available to all users or just an individual by default.
Hopefully the above diagram makes things a little bit easier to understand and here’s a breakdown of what it’s all about
The large box that contains everything is Office 365.
The first box in the top left is Exchange Online. This can contain a user’s personal mailbox (which is private), shared mailboxes (which are public) and public folders (which are public). Into the Exchange box you normally store emails shared between the three smaller boxes within.
The second box on the top row in the middle is SharePoint. This contains OneDrive for Business (which is private), Team Sites (which is public) and Video (which is public). Into the SharePoint box you normally store files shared between the three smaller boxes within.
The box in the top right of the first row is Yammer into which goes conversations (or discussions) that are public.
The box on the left in the bottom row is Office 365 Groups which are composed of a public shared mailbox and a public shared OneDrive for Business. Thus, any information that goes into the Office 365 Groups box will be public. Into the Groups box you normally store files and emails that should to be stored together because they relate to a single topic.
The box on the right in the bottom row is Office 365 Planner which is comprised of public Groups and public Tasks. Thus, any information that goes into Planner will be public. Into Planner you normally store files, emails and tasks that need to be stored together (i.e projects) because they relate to a single topic.
As you can see by the colour scheme, green is shared information amongst the business while red is private information unique to an individual user.
Of course you don’t need to use every storage location in Office 365 that is available to you immediately and your usage locations may also change over time. Best practice is to start with information in Exchange, then expand into Office 365 Groups, then Planner, then SharePoint and finally Yammer. The important thing to remember is that Office 365 gives you lots of choice of where to save your information, it is up to you to work out what makes the most sense for your business.
Hopefully, that makes a little easier to understand when it comes to determining where to put different types of information. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or contacting me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).