An increasing number of organizations are setting up their infrastructures on cloud platforms to improve accessibility and centralization. Although not every cloud solution is created equal. There are many components to consider, from functionality to design, and most importantly, security. As the digital landscape skyrockets, so do the associated cyber threats. As a result, many businesses want their cloud platforms to be safe first and foremost.

With this in mind, two of the most deployed cloud platforms for businesses are Office 365 and Google’s G Suite. It goes without saying that Microsoft has retained its dominance in the business world, but G Suite has witnessed a quick rise as a formidable competitor. Not to mention, the G Suite is quite user-and-budget-friendly, as well. Further, Google has made security a priority in the digital age.

Why would you need Office 365 or G Suite?

Both Office 365 and Google’s G Suite offer powerful business tools such as file storage, documents, calendar, notes, emails, video conference tools, spreadsheets, presentations, etc… With Google’s G Suite, you get the following:

  • Google Docs
  • Sheets
  • Slides
  • Gmail
  • Google Drive
  • Keep
  • Hangouts
  • Calendar

On the other hand, these are the tools you would get with Office 365:

  • One Note
  • Outlook
  • OneDrive
  • Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Skype

The benefit is you don’t need to purchase and maintain software licenses for each tool or hire a new IT department to manage the apps. Why? Well, because all your files are stored in the cloud. So then, your business and your employees can access documents from anywhere – especially great for remote teams and remote working during a pandemic.

Office 365 vs. G Suite – which suite costs more?

Cost isn’t the main factor, but it is significant, especially when you want something secure. In addition, it’s critical to find a solution that aligns with your budget. So, which platform offers more bang for your buck?

G Suite

Google offers three pricing plans:

● Basic – $5 per user per month with 30 GB cloud storage.
● Business – $10 per user per month with unlimited cloud storage.
● Enterprise – $29 per user per month with unlimited storage.

Unlimited storage is only offered for organizations with more than five users.

Office 365

Office 365 also offers three pricing plans with an annual option:

● Business Essentials – $6 per month per user
● Business – $10 per month per user
● Business Premium – $15 per month per user

Billed one-time, annually:

● Business Essentials – $5 per month per user
● Business – $8.25 per month per user
● Business Premium – $12.50 per month per user
● Enterprise E1 – $8 per user per month
● Enterprise ProPlus – $12 per user per month
● Enterprise E3 – $20 per user per month
● Enterprise E5 – $35 per user per month

Which pricing system is more competitive? Both the G Suite and Office 365 appear relatively cost-effective. Neither of these suites will require an expensive and upfront capital investment – which is a good thing.

The main difference is G Suite offers unlimited storage for plans with over five users, where Office 365 caps cloud storage at 1 TB.

In terms of voice calling, Google Hangouts offers free local calls, but Skype requires a credit purchase to make calls.

Let’s talk about security

Now we’re going to get to the meat of it all. Any business should be concerned about cyber security in this day and age, where data can sell at a premium. Not to mention the need for regulatory compliance.

G Suite on security

G Suite is built on top of Google’s cloud infrastructure and uses the same levels of security used by Google itself. This includes automatic detection of suspicious activity, phishing attempts, and other hacking attempts.

Since the G Suite is built atop of Google’s cloud infrastructure, it utilizes the same security features such as automated alerts and detection of phishing, hacking, and other suspicious activity. In the administrator role, you can also set access policies for your user accounts such as 2FA and more. Moreover, it includes data leak protection and embedded spam, malware, and virus detection. Not bad for a budget-friendly business tool suite.

Office 365 on security

Office 365 allows you to enable Multiple Factor Authentication for all user passwords. It also uses their own AI tools to learn each user’s work habits to detect suspicious activities and flag them if something looks out of place.

Regardless of the user, Office 365 lets you enable MFA for all passwords. And, Office 365 comes with AI detection tools that flag suspicious activities. You also have a data loss prevention tool. Additionally, you can use a device management tool to limit usage to designated devices.

With Office 365, you will get spam, malware, and virus detection that scans every document and file.

This or that on security

Now let’s get into a few more security details. G Suite provides comprehensive data encryption at rest and in transit. Google has a large network of data centers where it monitors all threats directly. Google’s track record for safeguarding user data is unparalleled. It also comes with machine learning tools that are intuitive around threat detection. For malware protection, Google uses both manual and automated scanners to prevent infection. In terms of compliance, Google employs industry-wide best practices making G Suite fully compliant. Google also has the following certifications:

  • ISO 27001, 27018
  • SOC 2, SOC 3
  • HIPAA
  • FERPA
  • COPPA
  • EU Data Protection Directive
  • GDPR

Another aspect for consideration is the Admin Console that let’s administrators facilitate user controls such as user permissions. With the API console, you can find every activity log. Since G Suite has always been cloud-based, all updates are pushed out quickly, conveniently, and consistently.

On the other hand, Office 365 has updated its Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) which can identify even the most sophisticated spam and malware threats with real-time protection. Office 365 comes equipped with multiple layers of data encryption technologies protecting data at rest and in transit.

Looking at compliance, Office 365 has 900 built-in controls. As a result, Office 365 is always ahead of evolving compliance standards. In fact, Microsoft has a compliance team that regularly monitors standards to update their controls.

Office 365 also has these certifications:

  • ISO 27001, 27018
  • SSAE16
  • SOC1 Type II & SOC2 Type II
  • FISMA
  • HIPAA
  • EU Data Protection Directive
  • GDPR

As an Office 365 administrator, you have complete control over your desired security policies in terms of sharing and user access. This is one area where Office 365 excels.

Unlike the G Suite, you can erase activity logs in Office 365. As such, you can reduce your storage use and make it easier to search through your logs.

Of course, since Office 365 is cloud-based, all updates are automated, seamless, and consistent.

Make the final decision

As can be seen, both G Suite and Office 365 have dynamic and layered security infrastructures, designed to protect business users strategically. While both have their shortcomings and bugs to work out, either platform could be attractive to business owners of all kinds, depending on their unique security preferences and demands. However, when looking at the big picture, Microsoft inches into the lead. Here’s why.

Both the G Suite and Office 365 have their pros and cons. They’re also two platforms that are well-received by business users on a global scale. Yet, Office 365 still retains a slight lead. Why? For the most part, it’s all about threat detection and privacy. The G Suite doesn’t maintain data privacy as well as Office 365. Remember, Google is also an advertiser, and to do that successfully, they need to send data to their clients. In contrast, Microsoft is clear about not scanning your data or sending it to third parties. It’s up to you to decide whether or not this aspect makes a difference.

Have more questions? Our SSI engineers are ready to assist you. Contact us today to learn about the G Suite or Office 365 managed services.