By Beth Watts
Oct 11, 2017
If you’ve ever done any research into business productivity tools, then you’ve definitely come across Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite. You may be using one right now. Perhaps you’re like most, and have used both, but still have no idea what they do, or why they even matter to a business. If that’s the case, then this blog post is just for you.
Both Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite for Business are comprised of business productivity and collaboration tools that help enable you to do work for your business from anywhere at any time on any device with anyone in the cloud. In a nutshell, both suites provide you the ability to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations in the cloud with others easily by providing tools like video conferencing, as well as cloud storage.
There are wide distinctions in terms of pricing when comparing the two platforms. G Suite for Business by Google simply offers two options (three, if you count Enterprise): G Suite Basic and Business. The Basic plan costs $5/email user per month and the Business plan costs $10/email user per month.
Microsoft Office 365, on the other hand, presents several SKU’s to their consumer base. Most notably, Microsoft offers Business, Business Essentials, Business Premium, Professional, E1, E3 and E5 licenses. Microsoft differs from Google in that they offer installable, client-based software functioning outside of the cloud and locally installed on your machine. Their SKU’s, specifically the Business and Professional licenses, which include only the installable software, such as Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access), without email or online storage can be installed locally on up to five machines per user and do not require an online connection to work. Since most businesses need email and online storage, as well, they offer Business Premium, Business Essentials, E1, E3 and E5, which include online storage and email. The license costs vary between $6/user/month up to $35/user/month, depending on what features you need. The more features you want, the more you pay. I could write an entire blog article on the differences between Microsoft SKU’s alone, since there are so many of them, but for the purposes of this article, I will stick with an overview, but I invite you to contact me for details, if that interests you. I’m happy to schedule a call or demo to show you key differences, if you have your heart set on Microsoft.
Where to begin … I’ll start with storage, since that’s the arena Jungle Disk knows a little something about. If you compare G Suite Basic to Business Premium in terms of pricing, it’s a pay-for-what-you-get scenario. G Suite Basic gives you 30GB/per user for both email and online storage, which may present a problem for your data hoarders. This compares to Microsoft Business Premium which offers 50GB/user for email data alone and another 1 TB of data for online storage in OneDrive. However, the tables turn very quickly on Microsoft when you look at G Suite Business versus Microsoft E1. In G Suite Business, for only $10/user/month, your user can use an unlimited amount of data in email or data storage; whereas Microsoft’s E1 license starts at $8/user/month and you have the exact same limitations of the Business Premium plan, minus the installable software, so more Gmail like in nature, but you get nothing more other than the ability to have more than 300 users for less money. Its big brother SKU, E3, offers the same capabilities as Business Premium with a couple bells and whistles (including Azure Rights Management which adds a layer of encryption to email and other data loss prevention (DLP) capabilities), but nothing more in terms of extra or “unlimited” storage options offered by their competitor in Google.
As far as email is concerned, evaluating Google versus Exchange (the platform offered in Office365), falls largely on whether you prefer IMAP or MAPI. If you just said “gesundheit” to the screen, it’s okay if you’re not a mail platform expert. I won’t bore you with the details, but the main difference in terms of what the technology does is: IMAP (what Gmail is) offers email syncing between devices (delete an email on your phone, it shows deleted when you open it on your desktop), BUT mail is NOT necessarily cached in a client. Gmail does not have a desktop client in the way that Exchange has a desktop client in Outlook. This means, for the most part, users absolutely need an internet connection in order to access and reference their emails. MAPI is a little different. Exchange was created with a client (Outlook) in mind, designed to organize and store mail in one’s desktop/laptop AND in the cloud. Thus, users have a way to review emails and do work, even if they don’t have an internet connection (though, make no mistake you NEED either way, a web connection to send and receive email). The main takeaway: If you live and die by Outlook features on your desktop, you’re obviously going to ride or die for Microsoft and you’re best off choosing the Business Premium or E3 or E5 license, if that’s a necessity. Apart from that, I can’t think of one thing Exchange can do, that Gmail cannot. If you can, feel free to comment. We’d love to amend the blog article to include corrections (I’ve never done that, but have always wanted to).
Let’s chat support. I sit directly across from my solution engineer, so I often overhear him on calls to Microsoft and Google support, since Jungle Disk has recently began offering to support both platforms. Honestly, ANY day, I’d rather call into Jungle Disk support rather than Microsoft or Google, since our Support is not outsourced and our support team can handle our account base, which is much more than I can say for either of the giants we compare in this article. Microsoft outsources their support and have openly advocated for partners, such as Jungle Disk, to take resell their product, layered with partner support. Google has similarly recommended partners, despite having a better support model than Microsoft (probably because their Support team members are treated to organic fruit and sushi everyday in between their company-funded back-rubs). Admittedly, here though, I recommend neither Google nor Microsoft’s support team, since I know Jungle Disk can support either platform better. Neither Google nor Microsoft are in the business of support. Jungle Disk is. So please, give us a shot, if you are considering either platform (shrugs shoulders at shameless plug).
There are so many things I’d like to cover, but I don’t want to write a book, so again, please feel free to contact Jungle Disk if you’d like me or someone on my team to help you flesh out the differences. Neither platform is the overall “right one” but one of them is definitely the right one for you, and since you need to focus on your own business, let us help you find the right fit. Even if you choose to buy directly from Google or Microsoft, remember, we can always help you backup OneDrive/Exchange or Google Drive/Gmail to help keep your data safe.