The Microsoft Office suite of products we have today is worlds apart from the earlier versions. Just think about it; it’s been almost three decades since Microsoft Office was initially launched and yet it continues to be one of the most popular. But, Microsoft Office has many different options to choose from that it can be very difficult to choose one particular subscription.

The good news is all of their subscriptions come with a full suite of familiar yet updated programs, including but not limited to OneNote for taking notes, Outlook for email, Access for database management, PowerPoint for slide shows, Excel for spreadsheets and Word for word processing.

Prior to grouping Word, Excel, PowerPoint and others into one package, Microsoft used to offer these applications as individual products. Now, they’re the puzzle pieces of a mega productivity suite. Through most of the 21st century, Office has been an integral part of business and home productivity. But, a lot of competitors have stepped into the scene as well. This includes Google’s suite of productivity apps. But, Microsoft has not been resting on its laurels either. Microsoft teams continue to innovate and come up with new offerings and adapting to customer’s changing needs and advances in technology.

Should You Choose O365 Cloud?

The answer to this question depends on individual user needs and preferences. Everyone is into cloud technology nowadays and businesses have plenty of options to choose from in terms of the computing environment they choose to be a part of. It’s up to you whether you want to go all out and put all your eggs in the cloud “basket” as it were, or to keep it 50/50 and place some of your technical resources in a physical environment and the rest in a cloud. You can also split the data you store in the cloud, which means keeping sensitive data in a private cloud and the rest in the public cloud. This approach is known as “hybrid cloud.” Alternatively, you can use shared resources such as O365 cloud.

What is Microsoft Office 365?

One of the most commonly asked questions is whether O365 cloud is a software service or a cloud solution. It’s actually a combination of the two. Most companies are opting for an O365 cloud subscription because it comes with a lot of benefits. For one thing, it’s suitable for any organisation regardless of the scale. It can be used for project management, email and for dissemination information with internal and external stakeholders.

SaaS vs. Cloud

Before you can fully understand O365 cloud and how it works, you must first establish the difference between Software as a Service aka SaaS and Cloud. Cloud is a component of Cloud Computing. On the other hand, Cloud Computing is an IT model which gives the user complete access to a group of shared system resources and complex services that are low maintenance but easy to provision quickly. Some of the resources that Cloud Computing allows you to share include O365 cloud and similar services. That’s why most people confuse Microsoft Office 365 for the Cloud.

The difference between the two is that O365 cloud won’t give you access to a shared pool of easy-to-use information and files like Cloud. In addition to sharing data and files, Cloud technologies are complex and require businesses to switch from offline to office online. You can use it for both private and shared technologies using SharePoint online.

The great thing about using Cloud is that you won’t have to deal with IT solutions like telephone equipment and server maintenance. Everything is based online which means it can be accessed from any device and from anywhere in the world, granted that you have the right credentials.

On the other hand, SaaS is subscription based and hosts your software in a central location. The only way to access SaaS is through a web browser which makes categorisation easier when using Microsoft Office 365. In short, SaaS is an externally housed application.

What is the Difference?

Since O365 cloud is subscription-based, you mainly access it through the web instead of storing it in your computer like previous iterations. While SaaS can be operated from the Cloud, it isn’t integrally a Cloud.

Now, you need to access Microsoft Office 365 through a web browser which is similar to what happens with cloud computing. The latter enables you to handle different projects and share work across various locations without struggling with communication problems. The Cloud is based on virtual servers and computers, and determines networks, messaging, communications, development environments and data storage capacity.

In order to determine which system to choose between the two, you must consider whether the services they offer meet your needs. Generally, Cloud typically works best for large enterprises especially those that are involved in complex computing processes, software development, as well as cyber security and compliance.

However, SaaS is primarily suited to enterprises that rely on software apps, which is pretty much everyone. The benefit with Office 365 is that it’s accessible and easy to use. That’s why it’s so popular across the spectrum and is used by everyone from housewives and college students to CEOs and public sector administrators. As a result, most people consider Office 365 to be Software as a Service.

What Should You Choose?

First of all, it’s not necessary to choose between SaaS apps like Microsoft Office 365 and Cloud. That’s because O365 cloud is versatile enough to operate on physical servers and cloud servers as well. It’s like an app that offers a wide range of options that make it so much easier to maximise productivity.

The best advice we can offer is to consider Microsoft Office 365 as a web-based system that acts as a conduit between you and the files and information that you want to focus and use. It’s not a server whose performance is determined by data storage and capacity.