Starting up or running a business is tough. You don’t need us to tell you that. There are a handful of opportunities to make opening or running a business just a little bit easier, both on your sanity and on your wallet. You have possibly opened your store and had your website designed by Nicely Done Sites but what are you going to do about email and other features that can help make your business run smoother? There are some tools out there and two of the most prominent are Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s G Suite.

Office 365

If you have a Windows computer chances are you have seen a notification pop up offering you a trial of Office 365. For veteran users of Microsoft products this is the next evolution of the Microsoft Office Suite that became popular in the 1990s. It includes all of your favorite office programs like Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint as well as other newer programs like OneDrive (file hosting), One Note (digital note taking), Skype and others.

G Suite

For everyone who has worked with Nicely Done Sites you have heard us mention G Suite. In the interests of full disclosure, we are an official reseller so we may be a bit biased when it comes to this, but we utilize G Suite for our operations and we couldn’t get along without it. G Suite’s offering is similar if not better than Office 365. Included is Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, Keep (note taking), Hangouts and Photos. You have probably used some of these programs already.

Where they are similar?

Both services utilize cloud-based computing. That means information is stored in the Cloud so it is accessible from anywhere in the world that has Internet access so you can keep your WordPress site up to date. It is great for anyone who travels or runs a remote business and both offer streamlined Cloud storage.

Both also allow for the creation of professional business email addresses. What says I am a professional more: someone using a gmail or outlook email address or using an email address with your businesses’ name on it? You can answer that.

Pricing

For any small business this is a major sticking point and both Google and Microsoft recognize this. Both products offer competitive pricing plans. Office 365 has both monthly plans and annual plans. The monthly plan offers three different tiers running from $6 to $15 per month per user. Annual pricing ranges from $5 to $35 per month per user. All plans come with one terabyte of Cloud storage and 50 gigabytes of email storage.

G Suite is much simpler with only three different plans. The basic plan starts at $6 per user per month and provides 30 gigabytes of Cloud storage, perfect for getting your business off of the ground with minimal expense. The business tier prices at $12 per user per month and comes with one terabyte of storage, as does the enterprise tier which is priced at $29 per user per month. That is not all though. For both the business and enterprise tier if you have more than 5 users you get unlimited storage. For a growing business this can really come in handy. You will be surprised how quickly that storage gets used and for this G Suite is superior.

Where do they differ?

Professional Email Addresses

So far these two options are relatively similar in terms of pricing and what they offer. There are some differences though. One of the major differences is regarding the professional email addresses. G Suite allows for the creation of 30 aliases per user and uses the Gmail interface or the Gmail app. Office allows for the creation of 400 aliases per user and uses not only the Outlook client that many people are familiar with but also a web interface and a mobile app. While Outlook’s web portal and apps may not be as streamlined as G Suite is, the number of aliases could be a huge plus on Office 365 for you. It depends on your needs.

Offline Connectivity/Productivity

G Suite is designed to work with Internet connectivity. The apps have very limited offline functionality though some parts of it can be set to be edited while offline but it offers no desktop apps or widgets. Office 365 works both with the Cloud and on your desktop. If you have a Windows computer many of those apps are already installed on your machine so they will be available at all times. Office 365 mobile apps do have the same limitation as G Suite Apps.

Collaboration

When it comes to collaboration, G Suite truly shines. Hangouts can be used for both video conferencing and text messaging and when Google Voice is integrated, local calls and texts in the US and Canada can be made for free! Multiple users can also work on a document at the same time, where you can actually see their typing in real-time, and reverting back to a previous version can be done in seconds. You cannot do that with Office 365 though users can leave suggestions and comments. Skype is used for video conferencing and while it is free for Skype-to-Skype calls Skype-to-phone calls will cost money and a Skype number will need to be purchased to make calls. Skype is also not prepackaged with all plans.

Security

Last is security. With the rash of data breaches that occur, security should be on everyone’s mind. Both companies, Microsoft and Google have good track records when it comes to data security. Office 365 allows for Multiple Factor Authentication for all user passwords and has a tool to protect your account from data theft. Microsoft’s AI can be configured to learn your user’s habits and can flag them if something looks out of place. It also utilizes Microsoft’s spam, virus and malware protection tools for all documents, emails and attachments on their service.

G Suite uses the same security features that Google’s corporate offices do. Suspicious activity can be automatically detected. Different policies and permission levels can be set so no one can access the administrator console or any user account. Two-Factor authentication can be implemented to make the service even more secure. Like Office 365, Google also has built it tools for virus, spam and malware detection.

Conclusion

You alone know what you need for your business. You may prefer to use or are already using Office 365, both because you are familiar with it and because it is already on your computer. That is fine but at Nicely Done Sites we believe that G Suite offers a superior service. Both have their pros and cons but with most of the above tilting towards G Suite why not have a look? You might be pleasantly surprised. If you would like help determine if it is right for you we can help. Schedule a free discovery meeting through Calendly today!

*Update January 17: G Suites raised its prices on January 16. The Basic Edition moved from $5 to $6 per user per month and the Business Edition went from $10 to $12 per user per month. The article has been updated to reflect this change.

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