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SharePoint Server 2019 vs Office 365 – which one should you choose?

As the name suggests, Microsoft’s latest version of its SharePoint model launched this year, SharePoint 2019 but is rivalled by the entirely cloud-based Office 365.

The decision to stay on premise, move to the cloud or even hybrid the two is one that many companies have been trying to make for the last few months. In order to simplify things for both companies and users, we look at some of the differences between SharePoint 2019 and Office 365.

The upgrade from SharePoint 2016 to 2019 sees some new ‘modern’ features, designed, according to Microsoft, to be ‘compelling, flexible, mobile, and easier to use.’ These include the SharePoint Start page, lists and libraries, new team sites and communications home pages.

Office 365 however includes security patches and platform updates, the hosting of SharePoint farms in the cloud infrastructure and increased availability in their service level agreement. It also involves moving from on-premise to the cloud, a move that involves more than just a change of user interface. It also comes with Microsoft Teams, the office messaging and file sharing service, Yammer and Power Apps and Flow.

Switching to the cloud can bring about greater time efficiency, new features and the reduce the need to maintain your SharePoint environment. However, a lot of organisations prefer an on-premise solution, favouring the move to keep things in house and avoid potentially costly and complex migrations. For many companies, especially end users, a SharePoint upgrade is very low down on their to-do list. They would rather keep things as they are, the way people know how to use, and spend their IT budgets elsewhere.

A move to the cloud means that computing and therefore work, can be done anywhere and at any time. You could be at a conference in the Bahamas and upload a spreadsheet for your colleagues to edit in Bristol. Making work accessible 24/7 is a controversial topic as society’s work life balance is becoming more and more unbalanced, however it does undeniably open up the possibility for home-based working, widening horizons for professionals from all walks of life. It also removes the bulkiness of a physical server, instead releasing all data into a metaphorical cloud.

Therefore, when deciding what is best for your company, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of on-premise versus a cloud-based system. The features that come with Office 365 might not be applicable to all businesses or end users therefore simply upgrading to the latest on-premise version of SharePoint could be the best move. However for those wanting the latest technology, the use of Microsoft Teams as a messaging and file sharing service as well as heightened security, Office 365 could be the one for you.

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