We’ve seen it all before. iPhone vs Android. Windows vs Mac, Xbox vs Playstation, Pizza Hut vs Dominoes. Now the latest debate that will leave you umming and ahhing over which side to choose. G Suite vs Office 365. A battle for the ages. And we’re here to confuse you even more. Or help you decide. One or the other. What do they offer? Which one is better? How do you decide?
There are a myriad of factors that can influence your decision here, and in all seriousness, there is no one right choice. You might choose G Suite, simply because you’ve had Gmail forever and it’s the logical choice for you. Perhaps Office 365 makes more sense to you because you’re a loyal Microsoft customer. Either way. But if you want to truly evaluate both tools and understand what sets them apart, you’re in the right place. We’ll have a look at what strengths and weaknesses they have, what features they both utilise, and how they differ. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll be comparing the two most relevant and comparable subscriptions — the business model offered by both.
G Suite VS Office 365 the Main Differences
Round 1: Email Hosting
Both G Suite and Office 365 offer business email accounts using your own domain name, ensuring all your correspondence looks very profesh. But from here they do differ slightly; let’s have a look:
- Each user can have up to 30 email aliases with G Suite, O365 offers up to 400 email aliases per user.
- G Suite utilises Gmail (obviously) whereas O365 uses Outlook as its native mail app. However, you can route your G Suite emails through Outlook if you prefer a desktop mail client.
- Email storage is up to 50 GB with O365, whereas G Suite offers unlimited storage (or 1 TB if you have fewer than 5 users). O365 offers an unlimited archive option however, so you can easily store older emails to maintain your inbox storage levels.
- Gmail, uses labels for organizing messages, which allows you to apply multiple labels to an email. Essentially they look like folders. Office uses folders.
Round 2: Cloud Storage
Let’s take a look at cloud storage options between our combatants. Both services offer online cloud storage for your business.
- If you have more than 5 users, G Suite provides you with unlimited storage. If you have less than 5 users on your subscription, you’re looking at 1 TB per user. Office 365 gets you 1 TB of storage per user on OneDrive. If 1 TB doesn’t cut it, you can definitely purchase extra storage. With G Suite, it seems to work out cheaper to just purchase additional accounts to hit that 5 user tier, than to upgrade your storage.
- The search function within Google Drive is incredibly advanced, using a Smart Cloud Search to identify your needs across the entire company content from Gmail to G Drive.
- Both clouds will instantly update and sync across the board, making it easy to share files with colleagues without fuss.
Round 3: Pricing
Both Office 365 and G Suite offer competitive pricing for their respective plans, as well as different subscription tiers depending on your needs.
- The ‘Business’ edition for G Suite rings in at $10 AUD per user, per month. This is a month-to-month plan that allows you to add and delete users at any time and change as your needs do.
- The Office 365 Business Premium subscription rings in at $15.90 AUD per user, per month. This price is dependent on an annual commitment, rather than month-to-month. However, a 12 month commitment is really not so much in this context.
- If you want the month-to-month option for O365, it rings in at $19.10 AUD per user, per month.
- G Suite offers a 14 day free trial. Office 365 offers a free trial for one month, with a one-time option to extend your trial for an additional 30 days.
Round 4: Communication & Collaboration
In terms of being a business tool for collaboration, both G Suite and Office 365 have their strengths. Being cloud-based, they are both targeted towards collaborative work.
- In both systems, users can simultaneously work on and edit files. Files will update and sync instantly across users for ultimate teamwork.
- You can easily leave notes, comments, suggestions and review changes on both systems.
- Google Calendar and Keep are your G Suite tools for creating tasks, meetings, to-do lists, events and deadlines which you can easily share with teammates. Office 365 has Microsoft Planner which is an excellent visual tool for planning and organising team tasks.
- G Suite has Hangouts for video conferencing, instant chat and calls, and Office 365 of course, has Teams which is their platform for workplace chats, meetings, and conferencing.
Round 5: Included Features
We’ve already established that both G Suite and Office 365 provide email hosting with business domains, cloud storage and chat/conferencing tools. What else do these packages come with that you might not know about?
- G Suite also comes standard with the following features: Mobile Management (for mobile device management within your business), App Maker (low code environment so you can create apps for your business), Vault (your hub for data retention and archiving email, files and chats), Google Research Pane (for reducing all those multiplying Chrome tabs), and Sites (for creating high quality internal web pages).
- Office 365 swipes back with the following inclusions: Microsoft Office applications (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access), Mobile Device Management (manage all mobile devices within the business), Outlook Customer Manager (track and grow customer relationships within Outlook), Microsoft Bookings (customer booking management tool), PowerApps (for making custom business apps with no coding), and a newcomer to the Office 365 suite, Sway (a great way to make interactive, web-based presentations and documents).
- Note that G Suite does have Google Docs, and Sheets which are compatible with Microsoft Office Word and Excel — these are web-based however.
Round 6: Security
Microsoft and Google are both titans in the tech industry, and as such, you can (and should!) expect top quality, cutting-edge security to come with their products. Without further ado:
- G Suite and Office 365 both have integrated single sign-on, and multi-factor authentication for secure accounts.
- Office 365 has Azure Information Protection as an optional add-on to your O365 package. This helps you control viewing permissions, encryption and protects files downloaded to a local machine. O365 supports message encryption so you can share protected emails with anyone, while controlling sensitive data.
- G Suite gives you control over archiving and retention policies, create custom policies that identify and control sensitive data, encrypted emails and use the Vault to monitor and review user activity for security.
- Microsoft boasts of ISO 27001 certified security, meaning all your data and emails are incredibly well-protected against attack. They meet the requirements for EU Model Clauses, HIPAA BAA (Health industry requirements) and FISMA (Federal Information Security requirements). For a minimal cost, you can also add Advanced Threat Protection to your subscription to monitor your emails, files and applications against unknown threats and attacks.
- G Suite also has an array of security certifications and approved seals. ISO 27001 (information security), ISO 27017 (information security more specifically for cloud services), ISO 27018 (data ownership), and more.
Final Round: The Tie-Breaker
By this point, you should be starting to get a clearer picture of where each one stands in terms of what they offer and what needs they can meet. Where one lacks, the other seems to shine, but in many ways they are very balanced. Both services have a 99.9% guaranteed uptime and both offer round the clock 24/7 support for your issues.
To review, both are excellent cloud-based productivity suites that enable you to collaborate effectively, work remotely, share files and store them online. User experience tends to vary wildly as well. Some report that Microsoft support is far more responsive and thorough compared to Google, and many report that Google Drive is far superior to OneDrive. Ultimately though, you need to consider your business requirements:
- What are your file storage needs? Are your needs more focused on high or unlimited cloud storage? You probably want G Suite.
- Are you running a very small business, or are you on a larger scale with a large office presence? Office 365 is probably more suitable for an office running a lot of PC/Windows devices.
- Is your business widespread, or quite large? G Suite gives you unlimited users, and works seamlessly across multiple devices.
- Do you regularly need to work with Microsoft Office files? While you can work on Word Docs either way, Office 365 gives you access to the full, unhindered desktop versions of these apps.
- Do you need comprehensive email functions? Outlook enables you to share your mailbox, contacts, and sort/group emails with a click.
Hopefully this hasn’t muddied things for you further, but given you some clarity over which would suit you and your business better. Both systems offer trial versions which can also help give you some real perspective on what works for you. If you’re considering moving to G Suite or Office 365 within your business, we can help you with a successful and painless migration to get you up and running.