As businesses are looking for ways to utilize technology to become more efficient,
one of the more popular areas they are considering is cloud services. While there are many different terminologies and definitions surrounding what encompasses “the cloud,” basically what it boils down to is this, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology: “Cloud computing is internet-based computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked to allow sharing of data-processing tasks, centralized data storage, and online access to computer services or resources.”
For businesses of almost any size or industry, there are two major common business cloud services. They are Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps. These are two cloud services offered by immensely popular companies. Think of them as the Lakers and Celtics of the business cloud world. Wilt verses Russell. Magic versus Larry. Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape:
Both cloud service options have similar features in their email systems with similar price ranges in terms of their two plan levels. Microsoft's lesser expensive plan gives you 20GB more in storage as well as more maximum recipients per day. Google Apps gives you the option to have 20 additional domain aliases.
Office 365 and Google Apps both have clients for all major operating systems and devices (with the exception of Google Apps on Windows Phone), so each one can be utilized by business users regardless of device or workstation preference. Office 365 offers 1TB of storage in its combo plan, while Google Apps has the advantage of an unlimited storage option.
*Certifications list is not exhaustive
Both business cloud services have very similar security measures and security certifications. They also have options for complex passwords and multi-factor authentications as added security measures.
So, there you have it. As you can see, both services have plenty of features that can help run a business. As far as costs are concerned, Google Apps has a fairly simple pricing plan, while Office 365 has more complex options where costs vary based on the number of users. On a whole, Google Apps will come through as the slightly less expensive option, but that would ultimately depend on each business’s unique needs in terms of numbers of users and amount of storage space.
What should be the deciding factor between these two cloud giants? Ultimately, it comes down to the users and needs of the business. Many people are comfortable with Microsoft products, and Office 365 will work seamlessly with popular Microsoft programs such Word, Excel and—importantly—Outlook. Google Apps does have a plug-in that syncs with Outlook, but the service is best utilized with the Google Chrome OS (operating system) or with the Google Chrome browser. Gmail and other apps such as Google Hangouts, Calendar, Drive, Sheets and Google+ are becoming increasingly popular, so there may be some users who prefer them over their Microsoft counterparts.
Whichever route a business decides to go, it is important to first take into account the costs, the ease of implementation, and—most importantly—the ease of use. After all, the users will be the ones who will be performing their day-to-day tasks on the various programs and applications. It is important for them to be comfortable and productive.
What say you, business cloud users? We'd love to hear your thoughts on what you think the strengths and weaknesses of these two giants are. Share your input in the comments below.