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G Suite versus Office 365 – Which is best for your business?

(IgorTishenko / depositphotos.com)

(IgorTishenko / depositphotos.com)

Businesses of all sizes have a wealth of options available to them for productivity suites. The two solutions standing head and shoulders above the competition are Google’s G Suite and Microsoft Office 365, both of which offer a full range of collaborative cloud-based productivity apps including email, word documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, cloud storage and much more.

With each solution boasting unique features and having its own competitive advantages, it can be difficult to decide which is best for your business. We’ll walk you through all the essentials when making your evaluation.

Pricing
G Suite is available to users on a monthly basis without any user obligation, and in three tiers:

Basic ($6/user per month)
Business ($12/user per month)
Enterprise ($25/user per month)
Office 365 is available to users on a monthly basis, but requires an annual commitment for each:

Business Essentials ($5.00/user per month)
E1 ($8.00/user per month)
Business ($8.25/user per month)
ProPlus ($12.00/user per month)
Business Premium ($12.50/user per month)
E3 ($20.00/user per month)
E5 ($35.00/user per month)
Cloud Storage
All G Suite Business and Enterprise accounts with more than five users gain access to unlimited cloud storage in Google Drive. In addition, G Suite Basic accounts have access to 30 GB of cloud storage. Google Drive allows for easy file sharing with other users and features the might
of Google’s search capabilities, ensuring that your team members can track down files, folders, and team drives quickly and accurately.

Microsoft Office 365 gives users 1 TB of personal cloud storage on subscriptions with more than five years. In addition, 1 TB of OneDrive storage per user is available to OneDrive for Business accounts, with users having the option to upgrade to 5 TB/user.

Mobility and offline use
Using G Suite, your team can create documents offline from anywhere, and edit, view, and open recent offline files while on-the-go. Mobile users with an Internet connection can also access, edit, and collaborate with other users in files. G Suite administrators can also be proactive in keeping important data secure through Google Mobile Device, allowing you to easily manage connected mobile devices, distribute apps, implement workplace policies, and identify security threats through the administrator console. G Suite users also have the option to download files in a wide assortment of file formats for offline use.

Microsoft Office 365’s desktop version can be accessed on PC only, only allowing users to access files offline if they have first been opened in the online app. Microsoft does offer Mobile Device Management features for Office 365 users, allowing administrators to easily lock out devices that have been compromised, as well as manage mobile devices and enforce company practices.

Collaboration
Since G Suite originated as an exclusive cloud-based solution, collaboration has been a major part of the platform since its inception. Native tools like Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides are built for multiple users to access, edit, and work within at all times, no matter where they’re working from or what device they’re using. Version history, one of G Suite’s most celebrated features, makes reverting to previous versions of a file seamless, meaning your team will never lose important data again. Version history also allows team members to view information about when edits were made, who made them, and where the edits are in a document, making it extremely easy to track changes and access history. G Suite also comes equipped with tools like Hangouts Meet, making it easy for employees to make audio and video calls to one another, or just stick to text chat. Google Voice is also integrated with G Suite, making it easy to get the most out of your Voice over Internet Protocol system.

Office 365 has also adopted a number of collaborative features, allowing multiple users to edit and access files in real-time, letting them easily leave notes, comments, and suggestions for other team members to see and respond to. Office 365 uses Skype for conference calls and other chat features, letting your team communicate easily and efficiently in an app that they’re comfortable using. Unfortunately, Skype for Business isn’t available to a number of Office 365 subscription plans, and Skype-to-phone calls require a Skype number and credits for local or international calls. Google teleconferencing options are included with all paid versions of G Suite, and calling within North America with Google Voice, to any phone number, is free.

Security
Google has worked diligently to implement groundbreaking security features in G Suite. The summer of 2018 alone saw the addition of a brand new administrator security center, increased email security features, and much more. The security panel allows your company administrators to proactively identify user devices and accounts that have been compromised, allowing you to lock them out and reset them to avoid further infection. It also lets administrators more effectively control business data and enforce data guidelines and policies, giving you the option to store data in specific geographic locations.

On the email side of things, G Suite users can set their emails to expire within a certain period of time, send self-destructing emails that vanish from the recipient’s inbox, and even password protect emails with text messaging passcodes. Anti-spam measures have also been implemented to automatically detect spam, ransomware, and phishing attempts, greatly lessening the risk of a costly data breach.

Microsoft has taken the security aspects of Office 365 seriously, implementing a number of anti-spam and phishing measures that work to filter out potentially harmful emails. Third party security integrations are also available to further protect email accounts, allowing for better recognition of spoof emails, unsafe links, and more.

Machine learning and AI
Applied AI and machine learning is an extremely effective way to improve employee productivity and accuracy, lessening the amount of menial but time-consuming tasks that can quickly eat up your day. Whether it’s searching for files or emails, completing sentences through auto-fill, suggesting commonly used words and phrases, or detecting spelling and grammar errors, applied AI and machine learning features are an invaluable tool for businesses and are a great addition to any worthwhile productivity suite.

Applied AI and machine learning capabilities are where the technological might of Google becomes apparent within G Suite. The platform has added a number of machine learning features over the years, including the acclaimed Smart Compose and Smart Reply features, which allow users to easily send canned replies to lower priority emails and compose emails more efficiently without sacrificing quality. Applied AI features have also been added to Google Calendar to automatically decline meetings that are held outside of established work hours or during times where users have marked themselves as unavailable. These features help your team maintain a healthier work-life balance, which in turn increases employee satisfaction and lessens the chance of workplace burnout.

Similar to the Smart Reply feature in G Suite, Office 365 lets users quickly send out emails through suggested replies, though no Smart Compose feature has been implemented in the platform. File suggestion and prediction features have yet to be added to the platform, with G Suite having a clear advantage in terms of machine learning and applied AI features at this stage.

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