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Microsoft debuts Personal Vault for OneDrive, offers more storage

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addresses a news conference in Berlin, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Microsoft (MSFT) is adding a new level of security to its OneDrive cloud storage service. Called Personal Vault, the new feature is available to Office 365 users, and creates a secondary portion of your cloud storage drive that lives behind an additional layer of security to prevent anyone from seeing or stealing your files.

The rollout of Personal Vault comes as Microsoft says attacks on cloud-based user accounts have increased in recent years. In other words, criminals are trying to break into your online storage and work services more often.

So what makes Personal Vault different from your usual version of OneDrive? Microsoft says that beyond using your standard username and password to log into OneDrive, you'll need an additional login method to access your Personal Vault, whether that’s biometrics via your fingerprint or facial recognition technology on your phone, or a text message or secondary app to generate a one-time passcode.

Seth Patton, Microsoft's GM of Office 365 Product Marketing, says the feature is meant to help differentiate Microsoft's OneDrive from competitors like Google (GOOGGOOGL) Drive and Apple's (AAPL) iCloud, which don't yet offer an individual folder that can be locked down in such a way.

Patton says the idea behind Personal Vault is to give users a section of their online storage where they know their most sensitive documents are as safe as possible. We're talking about things like photos of your license or passport, important billing information, and more.

For times when you access your OneDrive on a friends' PC or a communal computer, Patton says that Personal Vault will automatically log you out after three minutes of inactivity. The idea is to ensure you don't leave your most important data open to prying eyes.

Personal Vault is rolling out to users in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada first, with the rest of the world getting access to the service later this year.

In addition to its new Personal Vault feature, Microsoft has announced that it's upping the amount of storage you can purchase from 50GB for $1.99 per month to 100GB. That puts Microsoft's OneDrive on the same playing field as Google Drive, which also offers 100GB of storage for $1.99 per month.

Apple's iCloud is available with 50GB of storage for $0.99 per month, but then jumps to 200GB for $2.99 per month. Dropbox (DBX) offers 2GB of storage for free, then zips all the way to 2TB of storage for $11.99 per month.

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Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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