It’s never easy to choose between Google Workspace or Office 365. Both Google and Microsoft have good offerings packaged for businesses of all sizes.
Gmail is a robust, fast and very easy to use
This is where Microsoft has the edge in terms of features and functionality available on its Word, Excel and Powerpoint applications. You can do a lot more on these compared to the basic features on Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. But, if you’re looking to do a lot of collaboration work, you can’t go wrong with Google Workspace. Since everything is done in the cloud, the document is easily shared with anyone and changes made to it are seen almost instantly.
Microsoft offers 1TB of cloud storage for all of its plans while Google offers unlimited storage as long as you have five or more users. For small businesses with less than five employees, Google only offers 30GB of storage which is combined with your email inbox.
In terms of messaging, Google uses Hangouts Meet to connect users while Microsoft utilises Skype for Business. Due to its basic features, Hangouts Meet is considered by some a consumer product rather than a business one. It doesn’t support file sharing or document previewing unlike Skype. On the other hand, Skype for Business supports up to 250 users in a meeting while Hangouts Meet is limited to 30. It is safe to say Hangouts Meet would suit a startup perfectly while Skype for Business is catered for a bigger business or enterprise.
Mobility is a very important feature that both sides managed to tackle quite well. Both Google and Microsoft have all of their apps on Android and iOS. Employees working on-the-go will be glad to know that they are covered when it comes to maintaining their productivity while they are moving around. Experience wise, it is what you expect from a mobile app. You’ll get less functionality compared to the full desktop apps but it is just enough to get things done. You can reply emails and get meeting reminders from Gmail or Outlook as well as get involved in the decision making through Hangouts Meet or Skype for Business, all on your smartphone.
Hardware is an area where Google has been slowly building its products to
The Google Workspace Admin Console has a very simple user interface but lacks some of the advance features that is available on the Admin Center for Office 365. For example, Office 365 has data governance policies such as for retention and legal hold that Google Workspace doesn’t offer. However, many of these features are available as add-ons that you need to pay. Google Workspace covers the key features for traditional small-to-medium businesses and schools that they target.
Right from the start, Google has built their products with very deep integration with one another. For example, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and Google Hangouts are built right into Gmail which makes it easy to attach a file, set a meeting or chat with your contacts. On the other hand, Office 365 is a group of products that work independently with minor integrations. OneDrive is deeply integrated
Both Google Workspace and Office 365 offer a long list of third party applications to complement their existing products. On the Google Workspace camp, there are AODocs and LumApps (just to name a few) which take care of document management and corporate portal respectively. Recently, Google introduced Gmail Add-ons which increases productivity in your inbox. Over at the Office 365 camp, they have quite a number of migration tools (most notably CodeTwo Office 365 Migration) which eases the transition to Office 365.
Certification & security
Google is not only HIPAA compliant but also certified with ISO 27001, ISO 27018, EY Point, FERPA, COPPA and AICPA/SOC (SOC 2 & SOC 3). Google Workspace comes with Spam, phishing, and malware prevention. They also have brand phishing defense as part of their security infrastructure. On the user-controlled side, administrators can turn on two-step verification which forces users to use an alternate code in addition to their log-in credentials to access their files. Google offers data loss protection (DLP) to allow administrators to protect proprietary information from being emailed to outside sources.
Just like Google, Microsoft is certified with ISO 27001, ISO 27018 but they also have certifications from SSAE16 SOC1 Type II, SOC2 Type II and FISMA. Microsoft uses service-side encryption to protect data both at rest on servers and during transfers between the user’s device and Microsoft’s servers. This encoding includes Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). Microsoft uses Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to filter potentially dangerous email messages from company Office 365 inboxes (available on select plans). Microsoft offers the same two-factor authentication that Google provides their customers. The authenticating code arrives by text, phone call, or using a mobile application.
Google and Microsoft have a different approach when it comes to managing customers’ data at their respective data centres. Google stores data in a global network which consists of multiple data centres located all across the globe. Google’s data centres are geographically distributed to minimize the effects of regional disruptions such as natural disasters and local outages. In the event of hardware, software, or network failure, data is automatically shifted from one facility to another so that Google Workspace customers can continue working in most cases without interruption.
Unlike Google, Microsoft uses regional data centres to store customers’ data. The regional data centres decreases the latency times and increases efficiency for backing up, restoring, and exporting data. That’s good for an office in one region but what about businesses with multiple offices in multiple regions? Well, you’ll have to pay extra to have your data on another regional data centre.