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Microsoft OneDrive gets a more secure Personal Vault, plus additional storage options


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Microsoft OneDrive gets a more secure Personal Vault, plus additional storage options

Microsoft is adding a protected section to its cloud storage.

The Microsoft logo displayed at Microsoft's booth at a trade show.
Enlarge / Microsoft at a trade show.

Microsoft is launching a new layer of security for users of its OneDrive cloud storage service. OneDrive Personal Vault is a new section of your storage that's accessed through two-step verification, or a "strong authentication method," although Microsoft didn't define the latter term.


Microsoft notes that fingerprinting, face scans, PINs, and one-time codes by email, SMS, or an authenticator app are among the acceptable two-step verification methods. And you’ll automatically get de-authenticated after a period of inactivity—that's the key to Microsoft's special security argument here. Two-factor authentication using text or email is less secure than other options. Using the more heavy-duty face or fingerprint verification will require the appropriate hardware, such as a device with Windows Hello.


It also has options for transferring physical documents to the OneDrive mobile app. You can scan documents or take photos directly into the Personal Vault section without needing to store the file in a less secure part of your device first.


Users will have to be patient about this update, because Personal Vault will be getting a gradual rollout. The company said in its press release that Australia, New Zealand, and Canada will be getting the service “soon,” and all users will have it by the end of 2019. Personal Vault is coming to OneDrive on the Web, the OneDrive mobile app, and on Windows 10 PCs.


OneDrive does have standard security in place for all users even without the extra oomph of Personal Vault, such as file encryption both in Microsoft Cloud servers and in transit to your device. The tighter security option seems intended to give Microsoft customers more peace of mind for backing up very sensitive or important personal information.


The debut of Personal Vault is the big development, but Microsoft has minor items from its storage team that are also welcome news. The OneDrive standalone storage plan is being increased from 50GB to 100GB without any change in cost. This change will be happening soon and won’t require any action from users.


For those of you accessing OneDrive as an Office 365 subscriber, you’ll also have the option to add more storage to the 1TB you’ve already got. Additional storage can be added in chunks of 200GB starting at $1.99 per month. If you’re managing a truly massive file situation, you can buy 1TB of extra storage for $9.99 a month. Additional storage can be increased and decreased at any time. Microsoft said it will be making this update in the coming months.




Source: Microsoft OneDrive gets a more secure Personal Vault, plus additional storage options (Ars Technica)

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The AchieVer

Microsoft OneDrive Users Can Now Get Up to 2 TB of Cloud Storage 

Microsoft OneDrive plans


Microsoft has just announced a series of improvements for OneDrive, and the most exciting is the addition of a new plan that allows customers to increase the maximum amount of storage space for their Office 365 accounts to 2TB.

First and foremost, the amount of storage in the OneDrive standalone plan (OneDrive without an Office 365 subscription) will be increased from 50 GB to 100 GB at no additional cost.

This means that for $1.99 per month you now get twice more storage, and Microsoft says all accounts will be upgraded free of charge when the rollout of this upgrade begins. No ETA is available just yet, but it should go live “soon.”Up to 2 TB storage for Office 365 subscribersIn addition, Microsoft now allows Office 365 subscribers to get a maximum of 2 TB of storage in OneDrive. Previously, users were limited to just 1 TB, and the increase to 2 TB is possible with an extra fee of $1.99 per month.

In other words, you can add a maximum of 1 TB to your existing storage with $9.99 per month, and the plan is offered in 200 GB increments.

“If you need 2 TB of storage, we now have an option for you. Pay only for what you need and increase, decrease, or cancel your additional storage plan anytime,” Seth Patton, General Manager, Microsoft 365, said in an announcement today.

Office 365 users, however, must know that only the primary account holder can get the extra 1 TB storage increase. As per the existing policy, Office 365 Home can be used by a maximum of six accounts, each receiving 1 TB per account. Following the storage increase, only the primary account would be expanded to 2 TB, while the rest of the accounts would still be limited to 1 TB.

Microsoft says the new plan will also be released in the coming months for Office 365 subscribers.
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Microsoft beefs up OneDrive security

The company is touting a new OneDrive Personal Vault feature that allows users to protect sensitive files and requires two-factor security.

Microsoft > OneDrive [Office 365]

Microsoft today announced changes to its OneDrive storage service that will let consumers protect some or even all of their cloud-stored documents with an additional layer of security.


The new feature - dubbed OneDrive Personal Vault - was trumpeted as a special protected partition of OneDrive where users could lock their "most sensitive and important files." They would access that area only after a second step of identity verification, ranging from a fingerprint or face scan to a self-made PIN, a one-time code texted to the user's smartphone or the use of the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app. (The process is often labeled as two-factor security to differentiate it from the username/password that typically secures an account.)


The idea behind OneDrive Personal Vault, said Seth Patton, general manager for Microsoft 365, is to create a failsafe so that "in the event that someone gains access to your account or your device," the files within the vault would remain sacrosanct.


Access to the vault will also be on a timer, Patton said, that locks the partition after a user-set period of inactivity. Files opened from the vault will also close when the timer expires.


As the feature's name implied, the vault is only for OneDrive Personal, the consumer-grade storage service, not for the OneDrive for Business available to commercial customers. Although OneDrive Personal is a free service - albeit with a puny 5GB of storage - many come to it from the Office 365 subscription service. There, users are allotted 1TB of OneDrive space. (The single stand-alone plan is $2 per month for 50GB.)


On Windows 10 machines, the Personal Vault synchronizes to a BitLocker-encrypted section of local storage; think of it as a specially-encrypted folder. Like OneDrive for Business, OneDrive Personal encrypts data during transit between the PC and Microsoft server (and back), as well as when the data is "at rest" (on Microsoft's server).

OneDrive for Business does not have a vault feature and is unlikely to get one. That should not come as a surprise, as it would allow employees to store data where the company and its IT staff had no visibility.


Because OneDrive Personal is associated with Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal, and because those consumer-appropriate subscription plans are not licensed for work-related tasks, on purely legal grounds, the vault isn't suitable for storing business documents and files. The truth, however, is that those Office rent-not-buy programs are often used by very small businesses and sole proprietors.

OneDrive Personal Vault would, in that context, be a suitable location for crucial business documents and data, such as customer contact lists and accounting software data files.


Microsoft's Patton said that OneDrive Personal Vault would be available "soon" to customers in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, then extended to all by the end of the year.




Source: Microsoft beefs up OneDrive security (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)

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