What is SharePoint Online?

SharePoint Online (SPO) is the new cloud-based version of SharePoint which is part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of tools. USask has had the on-premises version of SharePoint for a number of years but this service will be ending in spring 2023.

Just like SharePoint on-premises, SPO allows users to store, share and manage content seamlessly. However, SPO offers enhanced security technologies, is easier to manage, and can be accessed from almost anywhere. Due to its easier-to-use interface as well as increased user-managed functionality, USask’s SPO service will be delivered as a primarily self-managed service.

Must new SPO sites be moved?

I’ve already built a SharePoint site using SharePoint Online. Do I need to move it?

USask began piloting SharePoint Online in 2020, so some staff and faculty have already been using it. Those new sites will stay put – no moves needed!

Moving old SharePoint sites

I have an old SharePoint on-premises site. What do I need to do?

USask has many Sharepoint sites that were built using SharePoint on-premises. In May of 2023 we will no longer have support for SharePoint on-premises, so we have to decide what to do with those sites.

We have many migration options to transfer your site. Migrating to SharePoint Online is one option, but other options might be more appropriate, such as:

For all migration options and instructions, click  here.

Requesting a new site

How do I request a new SharePoint Online site?

Request an SPO site using the Collaboration Space Request. Additional information about requesting a site is available here.

What's new in SPO?

Tell me more about the differences between SharePoint (on premises) and the new SharePoint online

There are some great new features with SharePoint online! The old SharePoint required IT support to use. The new SharePoint has an easier to use interface, is more user friendly and easier for non-IT folks to use. And it’s in the cloud, meaning you can access your files from anywhere, at any time (not just while on the USask network!).


Old (SharePoint on premises)


New (SharePoint Online)


Files could only be accessed while at USask or by dialing in using VPN

SharePoint has moved to the cloud. This means you can access your files from anywhere, at any time (just visit www.office.com!)

Ease of use

On premises SharePoint sites were difficult to build and maintain. IT support was often relied upon to build or add site features.

Microsoft resources exist to support users to create and maintain their own site content. An updated look and feel brings SPO in line with other familiar Microsoft products.


Documents on SharePoint on-premises had to be checked out for editing. Multiple users could not edit the same file at the same time.

Co-author, collaborate, or edit documents with colleagues in real-time. See the changes as they happen or review previous file versions to compare changes. Multiple users can edit at the same time!


SharePoint on Premises was a stand-alone service that did not allow for easy integration with other Microsoft products,

Integration with Microsoft Office 365 products, including Teams! Behind every great Team there is automatically a SharePoint site. Or you can build a free-standing SharePoint site. The choice is yours!

Site Structure

SharePoint on-premises used a hierarchy system of sites and subsites. Once the sites and subsites were built it was an inflexible system, with complicated permission structure.

SPO uses “Hub” sites which act as a central access point where all users can then navigate to sites that they have permission to view. This means that associated sites can share navigation, branding, and other elements (called a hub site). This structure is more flexible.


Learn more about SPO here.


What support is available to me?

Your College IT Coordinator, or ITSS Hub Manager  will be your principal point of contact. Where necessary, the SPO migration team will be available to advise with more complex cases.

Visit Microsoft's SharePoint help and learning page 

Complete a SharePoint Online training course from LinkedIn Learning.