Microsoft 365 or G Suite: which one is right for you?

Microsoft 365 or G Suite: which one is right for you?

Suites, bundles, packages… You know the right tools will work wonders for your productivity and business growth—but which ones are the right ones?

The two biggest competitors for your business are Microsoft 365 (known until recently as Office 365) and G Suite. At first glance they might seem similar, and in many ways, they are. However, you should consider their key differences before deciding which one to go for. Media Hosting Services is here to help you make the right investment!

What’s included

Microsoft 365

It’s the applications you know, and then some. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook—the gang’s all here. And they’re available in both web and desktop versions for those of us who still like access to local copies of their documents.

For video calls and messaging, there’s Teams, a sleeper hit of the Great 2020 Work-From-Home Revolution. This tool is very user-friendly and allows up to 250 participants per call.

Also included is SharePoint, the ultimate collaboration application. It provides a secure environment for employees to work on the same document, store and share files.

G Suite

Google’s brand authority is undisputed. Their communication and data management solution includes popular applications such as Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Slides. Chances are you‘re already familiar with some of these!

Video calls are possible via Hangouts. While the maximum number of participants might be lower (only 25), the overall experience is smooth and seamless.

For storage, there is Google Drive. Widely regarded as the benchmark of cloud storage solutions, it offers superior data security.

Keeping your data secure

Microsoft 365

ISO27001, ISO27018, SSAE 16, FISMA, HIPAA BAA, EU Model Clauses, and Cloud Security Alliance. Yes, Microsoft 365 complies with all of these standards. On top of that, there are server-level encryptions.

The features don‘t stop there, however. An additional layer of security is provided thanks to two-step verification.

G Suite

Nothing to scoff at, either. In addition to being HIPAA compliant, G Suite also boasts SO 27001, ISO 27018, EY Point, and AICPA/SOC certifications. Two-step verification is also available.

And if all the spam and phishing attempts drive you crazy, we have good news: G Suite features special protection to ensure these annoyances will soon become but a distant memory.

Accessibility and storage

Microsoft 365

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sure, Microsoft 365 offers subscription-based access to online apps, but if you like things a bit more conventional, the offline functionalities are still very much available. No internet connection necessary!

For storage, you get 1 TB of space with the Business Essentials plan. That’s plenty, but you can always buy more if needed.

G Suite

Although known for being entirely cloud-based, some G Suite apps are accessible offline—it just takes some configuration. Administrators can manage and set policies for offline access for various users, but there are a few limitations to consider such as having to use Google Chrome, for example.

While that may sound worrisome, if you do not envisage issues with staying online, chances are it won‘t even matter to you. Basically just less stuff to download and manage on your laptop!

Storage options depend on the plan you choose. With the Basic plan, you get 30 GB including email space. But if you buy more than five user accounts under the Business plan, each user gets unlimited storage. It’s up to you to decide how much space you need and which plan works best.

How much?

Microsoft 365

Ah, yes, the all-important question. With Microsoft 365, there are options to suit all budgets.

Business Essentials, Business, and Business Premium are plans intended for companies with fewer than 300 people. The difference between Business Essentials and Business plans lies mostly in the fact that the Business plan also comes with the desktop versions of the applications.

For large companies, there’s the Enterprise option with various plans available.

G Suite

There are three plans for you to choose from: Basic, Business and Enterprise.

All include the essential communication tools, but the Basic plan comes with a storage limit. The Enterprise plan, on the other hand, includes handy features such as data loss prevention for Gmail and Google Drive.

Which one’s for you, then?

When it comes to productivity and streamlining, both Microsoft 365 and G Suite are solid options. Can you go wrong? Perhaps not, but you want to make absolutely sure you go right! To summarize:

Microsoft 365 is for you if…

  • you have a few hundred employees
  • you regularly need to work off a native computer
  • you are a more conventional organization that prefers tried-and-tested methods of productivity management
  • you have been using Microsoft Office applications for a while
  • you have a well-established IT infrastructure

G Suite is for you if…

  • you are a startup
  • you are a relatively small company
  • you are looking to keep costs low
  • you want branded email through Google’s Gmail
  • you need an easy-to-handle, hassle-free solution

Of course, you’re free to mix and match as you see fit. More and more companies opt to use both suites to streamline their operations. One thing is for sure—to grow your business, you need to suit(e) up!

5 things to consider when integrating a phone system with Microsoft Teams

5 things to consider when integrating a phone system with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a unified communications platform offered by Microsoft to help enable those who work for businesses and organizations to easily collaborate and communicate in a variety of ways. Teams allows intelligent communication via chat, email, video meetings, file storage, and app integration from anywhere, so team members can keep in touch no matter where they are.

Having said that, one of the most common forms of communication between co-workers is still the traditional phone. Phone calls are still needed when a more detailed discussion of a subject is required or when a more personal level of communication must take place. And because a lot of business communication happens over the phone, Teams can also integrate with Voice over IP (VoIP) systems, which might just make your work life even easier.

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What will happen to my phones?

Microsoft Teams can now connect office PBX systems, which means that anyone can place and receive internal and external calls with anyone at anytime, anywhere. This is a system that makes telephony easy for your clients, even if they are working from a different office, while on the road or at home.

Benefits of calling with Teams

Several fantastic benefits come with integrating a phone system with Teams. Here is the best of them:

  • Streamlined communications and collaboration in one window
  • Less expensive
  • Works for remote team members and those working from home
  • Offers flexibility to choose the feature set you need (Teams, Microsoft Business Voice, UCaaS)

This is all done from within the Teams app, whether it is on a laptop, desktop computer, phone, or tablet, and can be used with any Teams-compatible headset conference room collaboration bar or desk phone.

How to set up calling services in Teams

Telephony in Microsoft Teams is available as an add-on to Microsoft 365 plans. When you go into Teams, you can access the telephony service by doing one of the following:

  • Use direct routing to leverage the telephony engine you want and connect it to the Microsoft environment
  • Enabling phone systems and calling plans with Microsoft

This being said, when it comes to making the best use of calling in Teams, you may face some unique challenges. With this in mind, there are some important things to take into consideration when integrating business phones with Teams.

Five things to consider when integrating a phone system with Teams

In general, our team of experts can make calling integration with Teams fairly straightforward for you. However, there are some specific considerations worth noting regarding where employees are working, the equipment they are using, and how phone numbers work.

1. VoIP with your current phone system

One thing to think about when it comes to VoIP via your PBX system is what happens when team members don’t have access to their desktop phones.

It’s possible to link your existing PBX system to Microsoft Teams with the help of Media Hosting Services Teams connector, which will provide the necessary middleware and hardware to bridge the two systems.

2. Which phones should I use

With calling integration with Teams, in most cases, you can use your existing phones. This means no additional costs in terms of replacing your equipment. If you have SIP phones, integration is easy to accommodate. There are two ways to accomplish this:

  1. Adding Teams-certified hardware (phones, collaboration bars, headsets, etc.)
  2. Using your existing hardware (BYOD) with the help of Media Hosting Services team

3. Working remotely

There are times when you will rely heavily on enabled remote communications. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is a prime example of this type of situation. With so many people working from home, the deployment of communications and collaboration tools becomes a critical aspect of operations. It can also come with a few challenges, particularly when it comes to connectivity. For this reason, you should take the following into account:

  • The quality of the network connection matters: Ideally, it should be a high-speed, low latency connection with little to no packet loss. Perform a soft deployment, and test calls to verify how everything sounds.
  • Make sure you can remotely connect back to the phone system.
  • Make sure you can remotely connect back to the phone system.

4. Faxing and local conference calls

Faxing documents is still an important way to stay connected and share information. Fortunately, with our UCaaS solution, we offer fax-to-email and email-to-fax services as part of your plan.

Perhaps even more important is the use of conference calls for when you need to hold important team meetings. This is possible, too, provided you have the conferencing add-on with your licensing (which is included in all Microsoft 365 Business Voice plans). This will provide you with a regional number (available in most countries) that your team members can use to connect to the call.

5. Finding the easiest way to get VoIP up and running

Whichever way you choose to integrate a phone system with Teams, it is made easier by having someone do it with you. With our UCaaS solution, Media Hosting Services comunications and collaboration. This leaves you time to focus on what matters most—your business growth. Give us a call to learn more about our solutions.