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G Suite vs Office 365 – Google Drive, Sharepoint / OneDrive (Part 3)


Alpin is now CoreSaaS.

Continuing with our theme, Google Drive contains fewer advanced features than Microsoft’s products. However, most people would not need those features. Sharepoint exemplifies this scenario perfectly.

This review will differ from Part 1 and Part 2, for a couple reasons:

  • Cloud storage comes with more security concerns than the other products we have discussed. We cover that.
  • These product’s respective histories help us understand their functions, so we explore their origins briefly.

TL;DR G Drive is a personal file storage and sharing tool that’s been adding more enterprise features like Team Drive. Sharepoint is a much more complex tool built for organizations that can require a lot of management. G Drive currently has little in common with Sharepoint; instead, Google’s features completely overlap with OneDrive for Business.

Bonus helpful comparison table: See this nice table from UW-Madison that puts features side-by-side. Despite what UW’s table implies, Google Drive is HIPAA compliant.

Security Concerns For Both Google Drive And OneDrive For Business

For the most part, Google Drive and OneDrive for Business handle security in the same way. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Google Drive uses AES-128 and OneDrive employs AES-256; most will tell you the difference is negligible or that 128 is better (and faster). Quantum computing could change that and give credence to the more bits = better argument; see some lively debate on this Reddit thread.

However, the greatest threats to security continue to be people — adventurous or careless users. Users in both OneDrive and Dropbox can change privacy settings and broadly share sensitive files or folders with few proactive tools or oversight. (Note: Alpin offers tools to help control and manage data for both these tools. Check out our feature highlight blog post for more information – we help remove security as a drawback for either Google Drive or OneDrive for Business.)

Google Drive, Including The New Team Drive

How Google Drive Started And Where It’s Headed

Google Drive started as a way for individuals, including those within an organization, to store and share files in the cloud. In 2017, Google introduced Team Drives, which enabled administrators to generate organization- or team-owned folders; previously, all folders were tied to individuals.

Things We Like About Google Drive At Alpin

Drive’s web interface looks and performs very well. Google has grown this product on and with the web, so we might expect this.

The mobile applications for Drive work very well and look fantastic too. I’ve seen some complaints about mobile OneDrive but few if any for Drive.

In general, we appreciate that Drive, for the most part, keeps things simple. As they add more features and functionality, complexity and the issues that come with it may arise. We will see where that goes.

The Backup and Sync application works well on desktops, as you would expect from any major player in cloud storage. We also see great potential in Google Drive File Stream, which offers complete access to Drive files and folders without using your hard drive space. That said, it tends to crash our computers at Alpin. We stick with Backup and Sync for now.

Sharepoint And OneDrive For Business

Some History On Sharepoint

Sharepoint started as an enterprise, internal-focused file and folder repository. Eventually, it gained many more features, enabling the creation of whole intranets and dashboards. And now, Sharepoint power users everywhere enjoy pushing the program to the point of breaking, only to be reigned in by a frustrated administrator. If you’ve been there, you may have experienced that scenario many times.

Sharepoint’s organizational folders align with Google’s Team Drive. OneDrive for Business came later and resembles Google Drive’s traditional file and folder storage for individuals.

Things We Like About Sharepoint And OneDrive For Business

Sharepoint’s workflows were described to me by two Sharepoint experts as their favorite part of the program (now Microsoft Flow in the 365 suite). Here are some time-saving workflow examples.

Checking out files still works effectively, and if you do not want people syncing files locally, it serves as a great alternative.

The many tools and customization in Sharepoint make for a powerful tool that comes with your Office 365 subscription. Just take a look at these 30 not-completely-terrible websites built in Sharepoint. The author called them “awesome,” but I felt that was pretty generous.

However, Sharepoint comes with a double edge: some poor soul in IT will be taking plenty of Sharepoint support requests from people pushing Sharepoint’s limits.

Final Thoughts – Why G Suite Is Growing So Fast

As you may have guessed, I see no reason for paying more for Office 365, despite my longtime work and appreciation for it. It’ is very well made software. However, most people do not take full advantage of Office products in their day-to-day, so the increased license cost would simply be wasted on most employees. Specialists can probably get licenses if they need them.

In Part 1, we discussed some differences not usually discussed between G Suite and Officie 365, drilling-down on Gmail and Outlook. There was not a clear “winner.”

In Part 2, aside from really high-end, computationally-intense activities where Excel would beat Sheets, we didn’t see a definitive winner for documents, presentations, or spreadsheets either.

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