Top 10 Reasons for Enterprises to
Choose Microsoft® Office 365
Enterprises are considering cloud-based productivity services for reasons such as:
- Increasing business agility.
- Having the latest technology.
- Supporting mobile workers.
These reasons allow businesses to get more for their money and have more time to focus on core operations. With Microsoft Office 365, customers can receive these benefits. There are lots of good reasons to choose Microsoft as your solution provider, but the most important one is trust: with business-critical capabilities such as email, calendars, and collaboration, you want a partner that treats enterprise productivity as their center business, not a side project. Microsoft has provided enterprise-class productivity solutions for more than 20 years, and Office is the number one productivity suite worldwide, with hundreds of millions of users. What better partner would you need?
At Microsoft, we take cloud-based productivity solutions just as seriously. Office 365 is an enterprise-grade service, designed to meet the most rigorous requirements for security, privacy, reliability, and manageability. Hosted in Microsoft’s secure, $9 billion network of state-of-the-art data centers, it brings together our most trusted productivity solutions—Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint® Online, and Microsoft Lync™ Online—with Microsoft Office across platforms and devices.
Here are ten reasons to choose Office 365 over Google Apps.
1. Privacy matters.
Office 365 keeps customers’ data safe in state-of-the-art access-controlled data centers and secure mobile access for users. Office 365 customers know where data resides, who can access it, and what Microsoft does with it. Microsoft is focused on providing feature-rich, enterprise-grade productivity solutions, and enterprise software and services form the core of our business.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is reducing its focus on Google Apps to give more resources to its advertising business. Gartner vice president and research fellow John Pescatore said in PC World, “Google isn’t an enterprise IT provider. It’s a consumer-grade advertising provider. Enterprises have to be very careful when they enter into contracts for Google services that they make sure they’re getting all the liability protections and agreements that they’d seek if they were looking at Microsoft, Oracle, IBM or anybody else.” The question is this: Do customers trust their privacy and data to a company whose primary business is based on advertising?
Get the peace of mind that your privacy is intact and your confidential data is secure, not being used for advertising.
- Office 365 does not “recycle” users’ information for advertising. Customer data are only used to provide services back to users.
- There is a clear separation between business and consumer services and their needs.
- Customers know exactly who has access to what data and under what conditions due to the granular permission settings available.
- Google bypasses some browser security settings, on purpose.
- Google is known for releasing new products before they are fully ready and puts users’ privacy at risk. For example, Google Buzz leaked users’ private contact information.
- Google maintains the right to their customers’ information unless that right is explicitly excluded under a contract even after it is deleted. This presents a privacy risk down the road and the exact policy can be found on Google’s Terms of Service under “Your Content in our Services.” When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps).
- Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for consumers run on the same infrastructure, increasing privacy and security risks.
- Google may sign contracts specifying that it will keep data in the U.S. or EU without providing specific proof that this will happen.
- Advertisements in Gmail show that your email became fodder for targeted ads that may put privacy at risk.
- There are basic group policies, but for more granular privacy settings such as complex inherited permissions, Google Apps does not offer these policies that are expected of enterprise-grade software.
2. Serious about security.
Office 365 is designed to meet enterprise security requirements through strong governance and security-aware engineering at every step. Our industry-leading Security Development Life Cycle ensures that security best practices are followed at every stage of service development and delivery. We proactively monitor our services to protect from both known and unknown threats, and we approach security with enterprise businesses top of mind. Office 365 is hosted in Microsoft’s network of highly available data centers, built and operated with a defense-in-depth approach to people, processes, and technology. Microsoft Forefront™ Online Protection for Exchange, included with Office 365, protects organizations against viruses and spam and is highly configurable to meet business needs. User connections to the service are protected with 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) encryption. Office 365 natively supports additional security measures such as Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) for public key encryption and digital signatures. To learn more about the capabilities enabled for Office 365 security, read this whitepaper.
An editorial on Datamotion highlights Google’s loose approach to security:
“[A recent FCC settlement] highlights a practice at Google in which engineers seem to be able to take large corporate risks with little oversight. And given that Google is trying to sell into an enterprise market, that governance model, or more accurately lack of one, should likely eliminate Google as a viable vendor.
The issue isn’t that Google might steal information; it is that an employee in what is an increasingly complex company could make a decision and implement it without corporate oversight. This means that decisions like this could not only land Google in hot water, as it clearly did in this instance, but it could land a company using the Google solution in hot water or do avoidable damage…
…this revelation about Google’s process suggests we should also look at a firm’s governance. Because if that governance is lacking, there is no way to assure that what we are being kept informed, no matter how truthful the sales rep or technical representative is, because they are not in the loop.”
With such poor governance over its own engineers, how can Google provide the security customers need for peace of mind?
Office 365 is designed for enterprises, offering strong security features and policies that put customers in control.
- Office 365 works with Information Rights Management, allowing customers to prevent document sharing, editing, or printing and manage content expiration.
- Office 365 with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Support gives federal agencies the highest level of data isolation.
- Office 365 provides strong password policies including length, complexity, and aging combined with account lockout.
- Office 365 provides seamless integration with leading multifactor authentication systems.
- Customers control which device can access Office 365 and under which network.
Google provides a business version of a consumer product with an attendant one-size-fits-all approach to security.
- Google relies on third-party applications to offer on-par functionality with Office 365’s security offerings, and not purchasing these ISV solutions may add risks to security and compliance.
- Google supports only password length, not complexity, history, or account policy enforcement so accounts are more likely to be hacked.
- Google has minimal auditing capabilities, limiting the understanding of what users do with data and hampering the ability to track and eliminate data leaks in the organization.
- Google does not offer Information Rights Management and has limited ability to lock down documents using advanced security.
- Google’s privacy settings are high level, which enables users to accidentally release something to the public For example, a Google employee’s infamous critique of Google was released to the web because of the privacy settings, as he’d intended it to be an internal memo.
3. Compliance leadership.
With Office 365, compliance doesn’t have to be a barrier between the business and the cloud. It’s the first major cloud-based productivity service to employ security frameworks based on International Standards Organization (ISO/IEC 27001:2005) standards and is ISO 27001 certified by independent auditors. Office 365 is also contractually committed to the EU Model Clauses and HIPAA Business Associate Agreements. Furthermore, Exchange Online includes comprehensive, integrated archiving and e-discovery tools, making it possible for many organizations to meet compliance and governance requirements within a single infrastructure.
Customers enjoy the confidence that they are entrusting their data to the leader in cloud-services compliance and industry standards.
- Office 365 was the first cloud-based productivity suite to achieve the following:
- ISO 27001 certification.
- EU Model Clauses and Data Processing Agreement available for all customers.
- U.S.-EU Safe Harbor self-certification.
- HIPAA BAA requirements signed with all customers.
- Office 365 has received FISMA moderate-level authority to operate.
- Office 365 has met the SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type I and Type II audit standard (previously known as SAS 70 Type I and Type II).
- Microsoft agrees to be a “school official” with “legitimate educational interests” in customer data under FERPA for Office 365 Education customers.
- Customers who are subject to GLBA can use Office 365 and comply with GLBA requirements.
- Email retention and document records-management capabilities enable customers to meet compliance requirements.
- Google Apps offers limited HIPAA compliance. Google now offers BAA covering only Gmail, Calendar, Drive and Vault services. Any other Google services used are not covered by the BAA, thus leaving customers to assume the risk.
- Separate contractual agreements and bolt-on third-party products are needed for Google Apps to meet compliance regulations such as FERPA, PII and PCI.
- The need for third-party products increases the cost per user and the total cost of ownership of Google Apps.
4. Allow users to access their content anytime, anywhere.
Workers need to remain productive no matter where they are. Office 365 allows businesses to achieve this commitment to employees by delivering a consistent and optimized experience across PCs, mobile devices, and browsers. With Office on the desktop, users can get work done when they are offline. Archived emails and documents are accessible to employees, allowing them to work efficiently without Internet connectivity. Google Apps is accessible only via the web, so without Internet connectivity, employees do not have the same level of functionality for viewing or editing email and documents. Issues will arise for Google Apps users when they only have offline access, such as file fidelity loss of images, comments, and highlights when transitioning Google Docs on the web browser to the Google Docs offline client.
- Office 365 provides productivity resiliency. Users expect and get a consistent user experience across platforms and devices. Whatever users can do with their email online that doesn’t require Internet connectivity, they can do the same while they are offline, such as access the Active Directory address book, see an unlimited number of emails available for review, set up meeting invites, and use rich text formatting to compose emails.
- With Office Client on the desktop, Office 365 users can keep working when even when they have network issues on spreadsheets, slide decks, and more.
Google Apps provides limited functionality for offline support and the user interface is inconsistent between the online and offline clients.
- Offline experience is for Google Docs only and not available for Presentations, Drawings, or Forms.
- Google Docs offline still has several limitations (e.g., unable to print, insert images, broken coauthoring).
- Google Apps requires Chrome 13+ browser to work effectively.
- Google Apps has no printing capabilities while in offline access mode.
- Not all of the emails stored are accessible and only a subset of attachments are accessible while offline.
- While Google Apps has improved its offline capabilities, its HTML5-based offline app is still extremely limited.
- Google’s SLA does not cover offline availability.
5. Rich set of capabilities.
No other cloud productivity service offers the richness of Office 365. It includes industry-leading email powered by Exchange Online, one-click voice and video conferencing with Lync Online, and flexible and powerful team collaboration with SharePoint Online. These online Office servers integrate seamlessly with the Microsoft Office desktop applications that users rely on every day. Microsoft has been perfecting Office productivity applications for decades, and Office 365 is a natural extension of that process.
Office 365 enhances the familiar Office productivity experience with tried-and-true ways to create, collaborate, and communicate.
- Users can rest assured knowing that their email is integrated with their availability in IM, others can see their free/busy schedule from data pulled from the calendar, and groups can gather for video conferences and share desktop and applications in real time.
- File fidelity is preserved when users switch from Office desktop to Office Web Apps and vice versa, so businesses can maintain employee productivity and look professional to their clients and partners.
- All the features and capabilities of Office 365 are supported by the SLA and enterprise support.
Google Apps does not offer the rich, integrated functionality of Office 365.
- Google relies on third-party solutions for core services and features such as single sign-on, security, and video conferencing.
- Google+ offers web conferencing but limits the maximum number of users who can join a Hangout to 10. For a video conference or internal webcast, this simply will not work and customers will have to look for a third-party solution to fill this gap.
- Google Voice and Google+ are not supported by the Google Apps SLA but enterprises need a unified communications solution.
- Google Video offers one-on-one video chats not group conferencing.
- Customers on Outlook 2003 think that they will continue to receive the same level of functionality they rely on, using Google Apps, but the Google Apps Sync Tool for Outlook is missing support for several core business features.  Google’s comparison matrix about what shows that critical scenarios such as draft emails, inbox rules, follow up reminders and flags, recalling messages, rich text formatting, integration of other calendars outside of Outlook Calendar, progress status and start dates for Tasks, and more are not available via the Sync Tool.
6. Less training required.
When customers switch to the cloud, they want to give users a productivity solution that is minimizes ramp up time. Office 365 offers this experience, because the mobile, online, and desktop applications share a consistent experience with the familiar Office applications, giving users instant facility with the solution. Employees can use Office 365 almost immediately, because Office 365 is built upon the on-premises versions of Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Office. Companies get the simplicity and flexibility of the cloud while improving the functionality that users expect and need.
Office 365 deploys a solution that users can take advantage of right away with minimal ramp-up and training.
- Improve ROI by reducing training costs and productivity disruptions.
- Users can IM, call, or upload documents as easily as they do with on-premises Lync and SharePoint using Lync Online and SharePoint Online.
- Outlook Web Access retains the familiar Outlook UI experience from the desktop client version.
- A learning curve is required to understand Docs, Sites, and Google+ Hangouts.
- Users may be disappointed when Google Apps lacks their favorite or essential features from the familiar Microsoft productivity solutions, which can waste their time in finding a poor substitute.
- After switching to Google Apps, users can find that routine tasks take more time than necessary because of the unfamiliar interface and meager online help.
- Users have limited formatting options, and file fidelity losses may occur, even when using Cloud Connect, which lowers employee productivity.
- With random features landing every week, capabilities change faster than training can be planned for and executed, leading to poor utilization.
7. Deploy it your way.
A business may not be ready to move all its information to the cloud at once. With Office 365, customers can choose between a pure cloud environment, an on-premises solution, or a hybrid environment that integrates cloud services into an on-premises IT infrastructure. Customers can move some users to the cloud and keep others on-premises for compliance or operational reasons. This enables customers to move to the cloud at a pace that makes sense for their business. If they choose a hybrid infrastructure, users will likely never know the difference, and customers can use the same management tools across online and on-premises servers.
Only Office 365 offers the options of cloud-only, on-premises only, and hybrid deployment models.
- Meet compliance, deployment, and operational needs specific to a business or industry.
- Easily manage both on-premises and online environments in Exchange with unified administrative tools.
- Deliver a seamless user experience across on-premises and online user groups.
Google offers customers a cloud ultimatum.
- Google offers no on-premises solution but a rip-and-replace situation for the customer.
- Google offers unsupported code to connect on-premises software to the cloud, but the code is immature.
- With no on-premises options, it does not offer customers choice and flexibility.
8. Rely on a financially backed, 99.9 percent SLA.
Customers need a guaranteed solution and something valuable in exchange if that guarantee is not met. Customers recognize that outages may occur, but when a business loses productivity, a responsible enterprise vendor should assume responsibility and help the customer. Office 365 is built for reliability, availability, and performance. Its proven service is powered by the enterprise ready email and collaboration products that businesses have been using for decades. Because of this commitment to businesses, Microsoft is one of the few cloud services providers that offer a financially backed service level agreement (SLA) when any Office 365 service drops below 99.9 percent availability.
Office 365 service levels are measured using a transparent methodology designed to give customers peace of mind.
- The Office 365 SLA is comprehensive across all services, giving customers assurance no matter which service they use.
- The SLA covers every user and every component of the suite.
- The Office 365 Service Health Dashboard gives customers up-to-date visibility into service health.
Google’s approach to measuring service reliability is not entirely straightforward.
- Google boosts its uptime figures by combining consumer and business services.
- Google tests its beta products with Google Apps users, but these are not covered by its SLA.
- Google offers service credits at the end of the contract—not money back—for its annual contracts.
- Google’s SLA covers only nine services and does not cover offline availability.
- Google throws in caveats about how downtime is determined. Downtime is defined as a user error rate of more than 5 percent.
9. Know the road ahead in order to plan accordingly.
Businesses cannot be hampered by the sudden disappearance or inconsistent delivery of new features. With Office 365, customers have advance notice of significant changes and clear offerings and can plan effectively. By helping businesses set their technical strategy, Microsoft helps customers understand the company’s vision and innovations.
Microsoft has more than 20 years of enterprise-readiness experience and takes a business-centric approach to the cloud, ensuring that customers can plan appropriately.
- Customers get what they signed up for, with no hidden costs or surprises.
- Office 365 is updated on a regular schedule and offers a 12-month advance notice of significant changes.
- Office 365 offers customers the flexibility to change services and number of seats licensed as needed.
- Customers avoid unpleasant surprises and gain visibility into the Office 365 technology roadmap via the publically available Service Update Wiki.
Google’s approach to innovation is to make a big deal about the release of beta features and then retract them with little or no warning or explanation. They provide customers with an unstable predictability and no ability to plan ahead.
- Previous Google Docs editors were able to use Google Gears for offline mode, but Google believed in HTML5 and deprecated Gears. The current version of offline Google Docs still is not there. It seems that Google grossly underestimated just how hard it would be to create a version of Google Docs that worked locally using just HTML5 and associated technologies. And it’s not just once, Google has been saying that offline Docs was just around the corner for so long that it had to come up with a crippled version just to shut people up. The current offline version allows people to view the files, but not edit them, making it useless in most cases.
- Google Wave was massively promoted at Google’s 2009 I/O conference but retracted without explanation.
- Google provides a one-week advance notice for new features to customers on the Scheduled Release track. Customers cannot postpone the deployment of new features.
- New features may have disastrous results (remember Google Buzz?). Google Buzz allowed serious privacy breaches to occur because by default—the people you follow and the people that follow you are made public to anyone who looks at your profile. In other words, before you change any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see the people you email and chat with most. This created government agency contacts being made public and insight to which patients were seeing what doctor.
- The FTC charged Deceptive Privacy Practices in Google’s rollout of its Buzz social Network. The agency alleges that by offering options like “Nah, go to my inbox,” and “Turn off Buzz,” Google misrepresented that consumers who clicked on these options would not be enrolled in Buzz. In fact, they were enrolled in certain features of Buzz. The complaint further alleges that a screen that asked consumers enrolling in Buzz, “How do you want to appear to others?” indicated that consumers could exercise control over what personal information would be made public. The FTC charged that Google failed to disclose adequately that consumers’ frequent email contacts would become public by default. Finally, the agency alleges that Google misrepresented that it was treating personal information from the European Union in accordance with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor privacy framework.
10. Enterprise-grade support.
When customers call a company for support, they don’t want to be told that they’ll be called back. Office 365 Enterprise plans deliver multilingual 24/7 phone support for even single-user outages. Office 365 is there to help from licensing to deployment and daily use and has more than 42,000 partners ready to help evaluate or deploy Office 365. Customers can work directly with Microsoft to deploy Office 365 with the CloudVantage program, which provides the highest level of service and support.
Office 365 enterprise-tested support has a proven methodology to keep customers informed during outages.
- 24/7 phone support is available for even one-user outages with no caveats or minimum number of users affected before considering the issue.
- Office 365 support tries to resolve the issue immediately but will escalate it to a higher tier if necessary.
- Moderated community forums help customers get answers to commonly asked questions.
- Microsoft Professional Direct and Cloud Vantage provide an unparalleled support experience.
Google’s support model is based on priority. To receive the highest priority support with the shortest turnaround time, an organization must have the majority of its users down.
- Phone support is available for Business edition customers, but incidents must meet a certain Google-defined level of severity before receiving priority attention.
- Google’s support sorts issues into different priority levels. To receive the highest priority (P1), the customer is having “service unusable in production.” Google’s definition of “Service unusable” is that the majority (more than half) of end users are not receiving inbound or outbound email.
- Google phone support is a callback model. Customers must wait for Google to assign the priority level status before receiving support. Learn more about Office 365 for Enterprise by reading the Service Descriptions at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=13602. To learn more about why Office 365 is the best choice for your enterprise, read the white papers at http://www.whymicrosoft.com.