Microsoft Readies OneDrive 'Personal Vault' Feature and Other Improvements

More storage options and a new secure "Personal Vault" feature are coming to the Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage service.

On the storage side, Microsoft plans to double the capacity of the current storage-only "standalone" plan -- which costs $1.99 per month -- from 50GB to 100GB at no additional cost. Users of the current 50GB plan will get upgraded automatically, although the announcement didn't clarify when it would happen.

Office 365 users, who already have access to 1TB of OneDrive storage as part of their subscription plans, are getting the option to buy additional storage. In the coming months (Microsoft wasn't specific), they'll be able to add 200GB of additional storage for $1.99 per month.

Other options include getting 400GB for $3.99, 600GB for $5.99 and 800 GB for $7.99 per month. The extra storage options are capped at 1TB for $9.99 per month maximum. It's possible to decrease the added storage "anytime" after subscribing, Microsoft indicated.

Personal Vault
Another new OneDrive enhancement is a new feature called "OneDrive Personal Vault." The Personal Vault is defined as a "protected area in OneDrive," Microsoft's cloud-based storage service, that provides added security assurance for a user's stored files.

Personal Vault works on Windows 10 PCs and mobile devices (Android 6.0 or higher or iOS 11.3 or higher). On Windows 10 systems, "OneDrive syncs your Personal Vault files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive," Microsoft's announcement explained. BitLocker is Microsoft's disk encryption technology for devices.

Users gain access to the OneDrive Personal Vault via a secondary identity verification method. They can use a "fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS," Microsoft explained.

OneDrive Personal Vault will lock access to its stored files after a period of inactivity, but Microsoft claims it's easy to use. It's also possible to access OneDrive Personal Vault via the Microsoft Authenticator App.

Office 365 subscribers can store files in Personal Vault up to their storage limit. For users of Microsoft's free or standalone OneDrive 100GB storage plans, it'll be possible to "try Personal Vault with a limited number of files," Microsoft's announcement indicated. 

Microsoft plans to make the OneDrive Personal Vault feature available "soon in Australia, New Zealand and Canada." It'll be available more broadly "by the end of the year," Microsoft promised.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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