Microsoft 365 vs GSuite - which is best for small businesses?
Whether you are an individual trader or the owner of a small business, both Microsoft 365 and Google’s GSuite provide you with access to the essential Microsoft software that you need for your business. For many years, Microsoft was virtually unchallenged in this space, but now it faces competition from several directions.
GSuite is its main competitor and the rivalry between the two suites has influenced how their respective developers approach maintaining and upgrading them.
What Do They Do?
Both Microsoft 365 and GSuite are productivity suites that contain the full range of software that businesses need on a day-to-day basis. Among the bundled software packages are word processors, spreadsheet makers, and email clients. Both Microsoft 365 and GSuite contain more or less the same tools, and they feel very similar to use, although there are some key differences that we will come on to.
You can try out most of the individual components of GSuite for free. For example, you can use Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Gmail for free. If you are a sole trader or one-person business then you might be able to access all the tools you need free of charge. However, if you are running a small business and want to take advantage of collaborative and communications tools, you will want to look at a GSuite subscription.
Microsoft doesn’t offer its products for free, but it does offer a free trial that you can take advantage of to make sure that Microsoft 365 is right for you.
Gsuite costs £9.20 per user per month. Microsoft makes Microsoft 365 available for £9.40. Microsoft does offer a couple more basic packages, but these won’t provide parity with GSuite.
Both GSuite and Microsoft 365 provide their users with cloud storage. Microsoft is more generous in this regard, providing 1 TB of cloud storage to users even on their most basic plan. Google, on the other hand, provides 30 GB of storage on its most basic plan. However, if you’re willing to spend more Google can provide you with access to unlimited cloud storage.
How much storage you need will depend on the kind of business you are running. Some businesses will burn trough 1 TB (1,024 GB) with surprising speed. However, the majority of smaller businesses will find 1 TB more than enough. If you’re only handling text files, spreadsheets and the like, this will be plenty.
With regards to email storage, both Microsoft and Google offer their email services for free, via Outlook and Gmail respectively. However, they both also offer premium variations on their email clients for users who buy a subscription.
On paper, Gmail offers users more storage. If you are paying for five or more users each month, your Gmail will come with unlimited storage. However, while Microsoft’s Outlook doesn’t officially offer unlimited storage, their ‘auto-expanding archiving’ feature means that old emails are archived in an archive that does offer effectively limitless storage.
Gmail has a range of third-party apps available that enhance its functionality in a number of ways, something that Outlook doesn’t offer. However, Outlook is a major selling point of Microsoft 365, and with good reason. You will find it much easier to keep your emails organized using Outlook. Whereas Google’s entire GSuite, including Gmail, is cloud-based, Microsoft offers an offline desktop client for Outlook - something that isn’t available with the free account.
Cloud Vs Desktop
One of the most important factors in deciding whether Microsoft 365 or GSuite is right for you is whether you are happy with an entirely cloud-based solution. All of Google’s services are hosted online. You can download mobile apps that enable you to create and edit documents and spreadsheets, but on a desktop or laptop, you will access Google’s services through your web browser.
While it is hard to envisage a situation where Google becomes unavailable, temporary outages are not unheard of. If you opt for GSuite and Google suffers technical issues then you won’t be able to use their Microsoft apps. With Microsoft 365, you download the software to your desktop and can use it offline.
Both GSuite and Microsoft 365 allow the user to save their files locally, as well as taking advantage of cloud storage. If you choose to store your files in the cloud then you will be relying on the service providers keeping things up and running. If the service does go down, you will lose access to online files.
So, which one is better overall? It comes down to both personal preference and the nature of your business. However, Microsoft has much more experience in this area and while Google’s GSuite is perfectly suited for many businesses, it is not quite as refined an offering as Microsoft has crafted. Microsoft 365 has a notable advantage in terms of its communications apps, including both email and video conferencing. On that basis alone, it gets our vote.