Office 365 vs Google Apps

OFFICE 365 – A HISTORY

Prior to Office 365’s introduction, many businesses were migrating to the cloud-based Google Apps for Business. Microsoft was starting to be perceived as the old stalwart when it came to business email and communications software. Meanwhile, Google was garnering a reputation as the young upstart in the industry.

Since Google was fully utilizing the cloud, small businesses and organizations were turning to Google Apps for Business to eliminate the need for an on-site server and to facilitate communications and sharing among an increasingly dispersed workforce in the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own- Device) era.

This meant that many businesses were bypassing the expensive licenses of the Office desktop suite for the more mobile and affordable Google Apps for Business. “Send us a Word attachment” suddenly became “Put that in a Google Doc and share it with us on the Google Drive.”

Rather than lose a share of their marketplace to a competitor, Microsoft opted to introduce a cloud-based suite of their own targeting enterprise customers, small businesses, non-profits and the education market, all of whom were being priced out of the desktop Office 2013 suite.

After several missteps, Office 365 was introduced. Here are the four key components that make up Office 365’s cloud-based services

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THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN OFFICE 365 & GOOGLE APPS

You’ll note different names, yet very similar capabilities, during a quick side-by-side comparison of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Business. This is because Google basically developed their software to be cloud-based replicas of the already established enterprise-grade Microsoft Office products. The following table is a breakdown of each comparable function between Office 365 and Google Apps. Capture3

Despite the old adage of “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Microsoft versions have been around for quite some time and are much more refined than Google’s offerings. For instance, while many appreciate the simplicity of Gmail for personal use, a much larger percentage of workers are likely to be more familiar with Outlook for business email. When it comes to note taking, OneNote has advanced capabilities and better integration with other programs than Google Keep. Anyone who has ever used Google Docs has likely experienced formatting nuisances and understands that the software’s format and layout options aren’t always WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get).

EIGHT SIMPLE REASONS SMBs ARE CHOOSING OFFICE 365

  1. Ensured Privacy and Better Security

Whenever cloud migration is suggested, security is one of the first subjects to come up, as many SMBs fear their data is less secure in the cloud. However, only a very small number of security breaches have been linked to data stored in the cloud. In fact, the cloud offers SMBs a level of consistently updated security that many otherwise can’t afford. Here are a few ways Office 365 keeps your business information private and secure:

  • Not only does the data reside in a well-secured state-of-the-art data center, but data encryption and frequently updated antivirus and spam protection also offer greater protection.
  • Microsoft’s privacy policy states your data WILL NOT be scanned and given or sold to third parties. In contrast, Google’s Privacy Policy states that any data they collect CAN BE used for advertising purposes. Make no mistake about it; Google’s cash cow is Google Ads. Google crawls your data in search of specific keywords to trigger ads from paid advertisers. It’s important to read all fine print as many businesses, particularly those that must adhere to HIPAA regulations, may run into a compliance conflict with Google Apps. Office 365 protects against data crawling and adheres to its privacy standards at no additional cost beyond its base price.
  • Microsoft provides detailed documentation on their privacy policy and security measures.
  • Microsoft has long been regarded as one of the most cooperative cloud-service providers when it comes to signing a liability agreement committing to HIPAA compliance.
  1. Work from Anywhere at Anytime

Although Google has enhanced its capabilities offline, there are still limitations to its offline app. Meanwhile, Office 365 allows users to access documents, spreadsheets, Outlook, etc. from virtually any device with a Wi-Fi connection and a web browser. Here are a few reasons Office 365 is strengthening productivity.

  • In addition to the web-browser based Office suite, most Office 365 plans include desktop installations of Microsoft’s software for up to 5 PCS/Macs per user. The standard Small Business package is the one exception. Otherwise, anyone who needs to create, review or edit documents without a Wi-Fi connection can still get work finished using software installed on his or her laptop or Macbook.
  • Office 365 offers a consistent experience across online and offline platforms regardless of the device used. 11
  1. Ease of Use Both Online and Offline

Office 365 users can get started immediately with a minimal learning curve because Microsoft’s products are widely recognized and have been used in workplaces and homes for decades. The same tailored experience is applied across all platforms – mobile, online and desktop applications. Anyone that has already used Microsoft Outlook and desktop Office has an instant familiarity with the products that should help them smoothly transition to the cloud.

  1. Effective Integrated Solutions

Familiarity goes a long way and morepeople are proficient at using the Microsoftsoftware than its competitors. The cloudenhances the Microsoft Office Desktopsuite experience because it facilitatesgreater collaboration. Office 365 allowsSMBs to:

  • See real-time presence and calendar availability
  • Initiate a web conference within Office applications or Outlook, Sharepoint or Lync

Google on the other hand relies on third parties for features like video conferencing and many of its core services.

  1. A Uniform Look Regardless of Device

Have you ever opened a Word document in Google Apps only to see disheveled formatting or a missing table of contents, headers, footers, watermarks, page numbers and tables? 12

It’s pretty common.

Office 365 preserves formatting whether documents are edited using a desktop version of Microsoft Office or a mobile device in the cloud. This gives you the confidence of knowing that the documents you’re sending to customers, clients, or prospects look just the way you intended.

  1. Flexible Solution

Office 365 offers a hybrid environment allowing you to easily do business both in and outside of the cloud. If certain parts of your business operations aren’t necessarily “cloud-ready”, they can stay out of it. Users of Google Apps can’t experience this kind of hybrid deployment.

Additionally, Google also has very limited management and administrative capabilities in comparison to Office 365. With Office 365, you will know exactly who has access to your data and control their conditions and privileges.

  1. Financially Backed Service-Level Agreement

The most successful SMBs are confident that their business critical operations are optimally running at all times. Not only does Microsoft provide a Service Health Dashboard that lets you see the current status of their online service, but they are also one of the few cloud-service providers to offer a financially backed service level agreement (SLA) any time their service availability drops below 99.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Google offers a less transparent approach to system availability. They only begin to count downtime when at least 5 percent of their users are affected. This doesn’t work very well for any business relying on meaningful performance metrics to assess productivity.

  1. No Surprises

SMBs get exactly what they pay for with Microsoft – ready-to-go features that are fully supported with predictable pricing and no hidden fees or gotchas. Office 365 is also flexible enough that it allows SMBs to change or remove services based on their needs. Office 365’s technology roadmap means no surprise updates. Advance notice accompanies any significant update.

SUMMARY

Office 365 offers a tried-and-true business standard in a new technology environment. Although it may seem to be priced slightly higher than Google Apps, the enhanced security, superior MS Office software, and better flexibility actually make it a more cost-efficient solution for SMBs. Since Office 365 allows for a hybrid deployment of both cloud and on premise servicers, Office 365 also allows SMBs to gradually move to the cloud with less anxiety.

For even more support transitioning to an Office 365 environment, an expert managed services provider that has successfully deployed SharePoint, Exchange and Link both on-premises and in the cloud can help minimize the administrative burden of Office 365; helping you achieve a greater ROI on your Microsoft investment.

Cognoscape can also provide Microsoft services. CLICK HERE for a free network assessment.

Five Things to Know About Office 365

1 If you’re trying to decide if Office 365 fits the specific needs of your business or organization, here are five things to know about Microsoft’s cloud-based version of Office.

What’s the Difference? Chances are you’re already familiar with the desktop version of Microsoft Office. Components like MS Word and MS Excel have been staples on our home and office PCs for years. Office 365 and Office Web Apps are the most recent add-ons to the family.  Office Web Apps is a free, albeit limited, version of Office that integrates with Microsoft’s cloud storage service Skydrive. Importantly, it allows users on a device without Office installed to view and do basic edits of Office files via the web. While Web Apps is great for viewing and making basic text or formatting edits, Office 365 offers full desktop Office functionality in the cloud through a subscription-based plan. Office 365 has become increasingly popular among small-to-medium sized businesses since it’s a near hybrid of the desktop and web-based versions of Office and it supports multiple devices.

What are the System Requirements? Office 365 requires Internet access, Windows 7 or 8, OS X 10.6 (or later) on a Mac, and compatible browsers such as IE9, Chrome 18, Firefox 12 and Safari 5. Optimal performance will require systems to have 3 GB of free hard drive space for Windows and 2.5 GB for Macs, either 1 GB of RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit), and a 1 GHz processor for Windows or Intel processor for Macs.

How Much Does It Cost? There are multiple Office 365 subscriptions to choose from:

  • Home Premium Plan: For your personal and family use, you can have Office 365 for $9.00 monthly or $99.99 for the year for up to five devices.
  • Small Business Plan: For businesses with up to 25 users, Office 365 is available at a monthly “pay as you go” rate of $6.00 per user or $60 if they pay annually. A Premium package priced annually at $150 per user includes the desktop version of each Office app.
  • Enterprise Plans: Enterprise Office 365 plans for midsize businesses with up to 300 users and large enterprises accommodating over 300 users are available for anywhere from $8 to $24 monthly per user.

Is It Compatible with Older Versions of Desktop Office? For businesses already using older versions of desktop Office, Office 365 is compatible with both Office 2010 and 2013 but some functionality is lost with Office 2007. A compatibility pack for Office 2003 users will no longer be available after January 2014. Is It Secure? Security is a concern of any small business moving to the cloud. Office 365 has the very same Trust Center and user-level security options as desktop Office. Each Office application supports encryption and allows permissions to be set. With files stored offsite in secure specialized data centers, it can be argued that small businesses are actually more secure using Office 365 than they are on their own. If you feel Office 365 may be the right fit for your business or organization, contact us today and we’ll ensure your technology infrastructure is ready for Office 365 installation and deployment.

CLICK HERE for a free technology assessment.

 

Cognoscape LLC, Dallas based IT Support firm to sponsor 2014 Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Golf Tournament.

Cognoscape is pleased to sponsor the 2014 Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Golf Tournament to benefit the Dallas Volunteer attorney Program tomorrow May 1st, 2014.   Please join us for a cold beverage when we pull up to your foursome in the beverage cart :-)   The drinks are on us for this great cause and we hope to see you.

Cognoscape talk on the news about XP and Heartbleed security issues!

Cognoscape Security Services

Click on Video

An apparent security flaw found on most websites is allowing hackers to use the Heartbleed virus to breach private information — including your emails, passwords, and credit card numbers.

Join us on November 14th to amp up your LinkedIn profile and learn how to use LinkedIn…

cognoscape|LinkedIn

Special Lunch Event November 14th at Bent Tree Tower II

AMP Up Your LinkedIn Profile:

Want to get more out of THE social media site for professionals?
Join us for Lunch!

  • Be Searchable
  • Be FOUND
  • Be Interesting
  • BE CONTACTED!

THE social media site for professionals is LinkedIn.

Are you getting enough “juice” from your profile?

Are the right people finding you? Do you stand out if/when they do?

Make your Profile POP! Treat your headline like a headline!

Make LinkedIn work for you…

AMP UP your profile!

Please join us in Addison for an informative lunch and learn on this valuable business tool. Lunch will be provided.

Come learn about formatting, keywords, recommendations, and more.

When:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

From 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Where:

Bent Tree Tower II

16479 Dallas Parkway,  3rd Floor

Addison, TX 75001

Space is limited,
Please register here

Keeping up with Technology – Speaker for your event?

With the rate of technology ever increasing and the importance it has on becoming a successful business, Michael is increasing his number of speaking engagements as a value add activity to surrounding communities.   He can easily adapt his talk to the audience or topic and speaks on all things technology and how to maximize it for your desired results.   Please let us know if you are interested in having Michael speak at your upcoming meeting.   Read Michael’s full bio below.   Thanks!

Keeping up with Technology Michael St Martin|Cognoscape|ITServices

Michael St. Martin

Learn what’s up with the latest technology trends and how “Strategic Technology Acceleration” can rocket your business forward.  Is your technology a competitive advantage?  Do you know how to leverage Cloud Computing? Mobile Devices? Is your network secure? Michael St. Martin will provide information and real world tips that you can use immediately to make your systems an asset instead of a liability.

Michael St. Martin is an entrepreneur and founder of Cognoscape, a Business Technology company that specializes in bringing Enterprise Class technology solutions to Small and Medium Business. While Cognoscape is the newest of Michael’s successful business ventures, his experiences include executive positions with Accenture, building sales organizations with NetIQ and Permeo and adding value to multiple IPOs’ and M&A’s.   His current passion resides in assisting business owners to utilize technology and gain a competitive advantage while streamlining their business.  

Michael has spoken to audiences both large and small, always imparting insight into the latest technology and how to apply it to the audience.   “My goal as a speaker is to give the audience something to take away immediately and apply to their business that day, while entertaining them along the way,” says Michael.   So… great and timely content, mixed with Michael’s engaging style motivates the audience into action!

Cognoscape helps host North Dallas Chamber AM Exchange Breakfast

Just had a great time helping host the North Dallas Chamber AM Exchange Breakfast. It was hosted by Hudson Peters,  Armour Wealth Management and Cognoscape LLC.   Awesome attendance with 65+ and made some great contacts!   Thanks to all who were involved.   Chad King  Director of  Sales and Marketing for Cognoscape remarked “We are happy to help out the North Dallas Chamber and other business partners whenever we have the opportunity.”   Charles Tholen owner and CIO was also in attendance.   Please visit the Chambers website as well as return to Cognoscape’s website for more great networking opportunities. AM Exchange 3

Cognoscape LLC Dallas based IT services company is hiring again!

Here we go again!   Our team approach and client success incentives create a unique working environment that is definitely not like your typical IT company.   Take a look at our blog pages and website.   Then check us out in the community… then give us a call if you desire to directly contribute to growing and building a company.   We are looking for Customer Support Technicians and a Network Administrator to support our ever growing client base.

Cognoscape LLC nominated for Addison’s Favorite IT Services Company Please Vote!

Cognoscape, the Dallas based IT Services and Consulting company has been nominated for the third year in a row for Addison’s Favorite IT Company by Addison Magazine readers.   We are thrilled about this nomination and look forward to winning again but can only do so with your help.   Please vote asap as the deadline is June 7th!   Thank you so much, it is greatly appreciated!

Cognoscape IT Services nominated for Addison's Favorite It Company

Cognoscape Dallas IT Company is honored again to help sponsor the Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Golf Tournament

DBA Pro Bono Golf Cognoscape Benefiting the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program – Join us for a beverage at the DBA Pro Bono Golf Tournament – Chad will the one in the Beverage Cart  helping to keep you hydrated.

Date: Thursday, May 2, 2013

Time: Registration: 10:00 a.m.

Tee-off: 1:00 p.m.

Location: Brookhaven Country Club Registration: To register, click here. For more information: Contact Rhonda Thornton.