While cloud services are expanding more and more, the level of security is always a concern that comes with each cloud-related offer. One question is: "Where are my files stored", another surely the one how much those files are secured against third party-access. WeTransfer, for example, was the best example how privacy in today's cloud environments was handled in the worst-possible way. Microsoft now tightens the security on OneDrive, giving (personal) users a new feature called "OneDrive Personal Vault" which serves as another layer of security throughout the rest of this year.

Personal Vault is told to be a protected area in OneDrive that you can only access with a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS. Your files locked therein will have an extra layer of security, keeping them more secured in the event that someone gains access to your account or your device. In addition, Microsoft promises that this added security doesn’t mean added inconvenience. All documents, photos, and videos in Personal Vault will and can easily be accessed on Onedrive.com, your PC, or capable devices on Android and iOS.

Microsoft states that Personal Vault will - besides the robust privacy and security that OneDrive currently offers - add some further features: Amongst the is the file encryption at rest and in transit, suspicious activity monitoring, ransomware detection and recovery, mass file deletion notification and recovery, virus scanning on download for known threats, and version history for kind of file types.

Easy Usage

As we got used to in nearly all modern applications, the Two-Factor-Authentication is the way of accessing the Personal Vault: Just enter a PIN or use your fingerprint, face, or a code delivered by email or SMS to unlock and access your files one OneDrive. Like in the business plans for Office 365 there is no need to remember multiple passwords as the vault can also be unlocked with the Microsoft Authenticator app. Whichever way you choose, Microsoft certifies that unlocking will quick and convenient while locking the vault will help to secure your data. Mentioning "secure", Personal Vault will sync to a PC while putting itself on a Bitlocker-enabled part of your harddisk, so encryption on your Windows-device is certified as well.

More Features ahead

A feature that already works is the direct scanning documents, taking pictures or shooting videos directly straight from the App. New features will give you the chance to put these media directly into your Personal Vault, keeping them off less secure areas of your device—such as the rather public camera roll. It’s told to be easy to scan important travel, identification, vehicle, home, insurance documents, and more directly into your Personal Vault while having those files available on-the-go. After a certain short period of inactivity, the vault locks itself and goes for another round of authentication in case you want to access the files again. This feature will be standard on PCs and mobile devices, Microsoft says.

Availability

Microsoft says it is excited to provide these new capabilities to people who use OneDrive on the web, with the mobile app, or on a Windows 10 PC. Personal Vault will begin rolling out soon in Australia, New Zealand and Canada and will be available to everyone by the end of the year. Users who already own OneDrive, Personal Vault will appear as a feature update when it launches later this year in the specific region.

By the way: If you are using OneDrive’s free or standalone 100 GB plan, you can try Personal Vault with a limited number of files. Office 365 subscribers (who this feature is definitely aiming at!) can store as many files as they want in Personal Vault, up to their individual storage limit. There is currently no further information on how and this feature will be implemented in the Office 365 Business and Enterprise plans as well but time will tell!

New Storage Plans ahead

Besides, Microsoft did also share some news regarding the storage plans: Redmond is increasing the amount of storage in the OneDrive standalone plan from 50 GB to 100 GB for the same $1.99 ( 2 EUR) per month. That should be enough space to store over 5,000 pictures (at 2 MB per photo). This new plan is told to be perfect for automatically backing up your phone’s camera roll and scanning and saving documents, receipts, and more right from your phone. You can also use it to back up your files and share and collaborate on documents. This new plan will roll out soon - a specific time hasn't been scheduled yet. If you’re currently using the 50 GB plan, you’ll automatically get 50 GB more storage added to your account at no additional cost.

The paid Office 365 subscription starts with 1 TB of OneDrive storage and - according to Microsoft - many people have asked for even more storage. As of today, the company did also announce OneDrive additional storage which lets you add more storage - as you need it - to your existing Office 365 subscription. You can add storage in 200 GB increments starting at $1.99 per month, going up to 1 TB of additional storage for $9.99 per month. Prices in EUR haven't been announced so far, but I guess we will go with 2 EUR for the increments and ten EUR for the additional 1 TB-storage-tier.

Even if you should need 2 TB of storage, Microsoft now also has an option for you: Pay only for what you need and increase, decrease, or cancel your additional storage plan anytime. OneDrive additional storage will be available in the coming months wherever Office 365 is available so stay tuned for the new features!