Many small businesses upgrading to the cloud debate going with Google vs. Microsoft products. Both are trusted companies with millions of users worldwide. Their cloud-based solutions offer easy file sharing and collaboration (which is essential as businesses are seriously considering the benefits of full-time remote work for their staff), and the data security features really can’t be beat.
If you’re looking for a tie-breaking reason to choose one or the other, we’ve got you covered. The choice really comes down to the unique needs of your small business, the services you provide, and which productivity suite is a better fit overall to keep your business growing.
Google vs. Microsoft: Security and Support
One of the primary reasons to switch to the cloud is the impressive level of security you get with cloud-based systems. With that comes a generous array of support services. We’re grouping these as one item because security and support are deeply intertwined.
When it comes to cybersecurity, Google and Microsoft have comparable benefits and both are managed from a web interface. But Microsoft apps does offer more management controls and better account security for admins while also making it easy to manage from a mobile device.
On the support end, what we all want is 24/7 service and quick response time, right? G Suite does offer this via phone, email, and chat, but the service is limited to administrator roles only. So if you’ve got a staff member working late who runs into a tech hiccup, if they don’t have administrator access, they’re not going to get a quick solution from the G Suite support team. But Google’s general help page and their Workspace Learning Center are available to anyone, so if it truly is a minor hiccup, any member of your team should be able to find the solutions they need.
With Microsoft, you also get 24/7 support via phone, email, and chat, but again, only available to administrators. However, Microsoft’s non-admin support options go further than Google’s. Your non-admin staff can access the Microsoft help center, the 365 Training Center and Office Help & Training which all provide video training and tutorials, and a wide array of forums that can help the average user troubleshoot common problems.
Google vs. Microsoft: Email
Of the two email options, Gmail has an easier search function. That’s no surprise, given that Google started as an internet search engine. Google Workspace also provides 30GB of storage, and allows users to send up to 2,000 emails a day and receive more than 86,000 daily.
Comparatively, Microsoft 365 Business Email has a 5,000 a day email send limit with 50GB of storage. In addition, Microsoft’s email send limits are separate from their overall cloud storage. So, if your small business deals with an extremely high volume of emails, you don’t have to worry about your email clogging your OneDrive storage.
Google vs. Microsoft: Documents and Files
Google offers Docs, Sheets, and Slides compared to Microsoft 365’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The options are comparable, but with Google, file saving is automatic and can be shared at the click of a button. This is only true when working in Microsoft 365, and that could be either a positive or negative depending on how you look at it.
That’s because Microsoft’s cloud version comes with free installation of the full desktop version. What this means, practically, is that you can work offline using all the standard Microsoft applications. Many small businesses still send and store files locally. This makes a solid argument for Microsoft being an easier adjustment for small businesses moving to the cloud for the first time. Microsoft for desktop also offers more functionality in terms of what Word can do, when compared to Google Docs.
However, because Microsoft’s apps aren’t quite as functional as their desktop versions, if you are wanting to have your team work fully from the cloud, there may be an argument there for choosing GSuite. Again, you have to take overall functionality of the suite into consideration. From a pure user standpoint, the document and file sharing between the suites is a comparable experience and often comes down to user preference or familiarity with one product over another.
Google vs. Microsoft: Collaboration & Productivity
Google gets our vote for best collaboration when it comes to documents, simply because shareable documentation is baked right into their design. You can work from Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets and easily share and edit with or without tracking changes, in addition making notes and tagging specific team members within these notes. You can even have multiple people reviewing and commenting on the same document simultaneously.
However where Microsoft really shines is with their enterprise-wide collaboration features through Teams. Teams combines group chats, online meetings, customized workspaces and more, while also offering seamless integration with other products like Outlook, SharePoint, and OneDrive. If your main need within the suite of collaborative tools is a robust chat feature that integrates with other management and task tools, then Microsoft Teams is the way to go.
The other benefit to Microsoft Teams is, again, their desktop versions. When using Microsoft, your staff won’t lose any downtime to network outages. Google being entirely cloud-based has the drawback of losing precious work hours to unexpected outages.
On the other hand, if your team is already fully remote and planning to stay that way for the foreseeable future, utilizing only cloud-based apps means that your team can work from anywhere and won’t run into a situation where they’re on the road and something urgent happens, but they can’t access a file saved to a specific device back at the office. Again, the best choice is the one that works for your needs right now.
Google vs. Microsoft: App Updates
When you sign on for a cloud-based tool, one of the major benefits is being privy to upgrades, updates, and patches. It’s also an opportunity for productivity suites to test out new layouts and functions.
Microsoft 365 updates their design almost annually, which can make it frustrating to reorient to a new layout each year.
GSuite tends to rely on the same layout between upgrades, which makes for a seamless user experience. For the average user, it might be annoying having to get used to a new layout each year with Microsoft. Still, it shouldn’t disrupt productivity too much.
Google vs. Microsoft: Storage and Shared Files
Both Google and Microsoft offer unlimited storage for various premium packages. However, the more cost-effective packages only offer 3GB per GSuite per user, while Office 365’s cheapest plan provides 1TB of storage per user.
Both suites offer similar file sharing capabilities, so the choice here really comes down to cost.
The Bottom Line
Obviously, one of the biggest factors when deciding whether to choose Google vs. Microsoft productivity apps is budget.
Office 365 has a sliding scale based on your selected plan with a fixed cost per user. G Suite has a similar price-per-user fee for each of their business plans, though they offer fewer business plans that Office 365 does. Office 365 is pricier per user, but it also offers more functionality and features.
Most people are familiar with Microsoft’s products, so moving to their applications is a pretty seamless transition from the user end.
All the options and features available might get overwhelming if you have a team that just needs basic functions. You could end up paying for products you don’t use, whereas GSuite is easy to access and has a simpler learning curve for people who may not be as tech savvy. They don’t have to cut through a lot of bells and whistles to use basic functions like file sharing and email.
This article provides a great breakdown of the cost and benefits of each plan for both GSuite and Microsoft 365, while this article gives a brief overview of the plan options available with each.
Still not sure which suite of apps is best for your business? Tech Masters offers a free assessment that evaluates the crucial areas where your business technology can break down. This can help you understand where the most high-value improvements can be made for your small business. Contact us for your free assessment today!
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