Office 365 vs Office 2013: Which Is Right For You?

by Jeremy Miller, Technician

You’ve probably heard a lot of things in the news about Microsoft’s Office 365.

Let’s explain the difference between Office 365, and the traditional version of Microsoft Office you’re used to using on your computer.

Standard versions of Office 2013 are licensed or boxed product. You can purchase a license to this product from any local or online retailer.

Office 365 is a subscription based product. You purchase this license either monthly or annually. You can also use this product on more than one computer and it is transferrable to other computers. This license is not transferrable to another user.

You should know right away both versions of Office will not run on any Windows Operating system prior to Windows 7.

The Office 2013 license is very straight forward: You simply install Office like you always have. However, unlike previous Office versions, you cannot remove it and install it on another computer.

The Office 365 license is much more malleable, and is licensed and sold by version. Office 365 comes in four versions: Home Premium, Small Business, Midsize Business, and Enterprise. Office 365 is licensed per user.

Office 365 Home Premium comes with Word, Excel, Power Point, One Note, Outlook, Publisher, Access, 20 GB of Skydrive cloud storage, and 60 minutes of calling if you have a Skype account. This version is not available to businesses.

Office 365 Small Business includes everything Home Premium has plus Microsoft Lync and business email which will offer 25 GB per month, and many other features.

Office 365 Midsize Business requires an annual commitment. This version will allow you to have up to 300 users. This has everything Small Business has plus Microsoft InfoPath.

Office 365 Enterprise also requires an annual commitment, but there are no limits as to the number of users you can have.

This version has everything that Midsize Business has plus Unified Discovery, Data Loss Prevention, and Role-based access.

Unified Discovery will allow you to search across Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync.

With Role-Based access you can control access and assign it to different groups.

You can create data loss prevention polices and templates for protecting sensitive information. These features will aid in keeping your business compliant with various regulatory requirements.

Choosing your version of Office is pretty straightforward. If you’re a light Office user, or only use a few features of Office then Office 2013 is best for you. You can choose which version you need based on the Office tools that you use.

If your company uses many features of Office, and you want to avoid large upfront software costs, then Office 365 is your best bet.

You will still be able to use Office 365 with no Internet connection. It does require an Internet connection to install and sync, however, and of course for email access.

You can access Office from anywhere using Office on Demand, which is not full-featured, but will allow you to read and edit documents.

Office 365 is the best bet for small and growing companies. You can add and remove new users and computers.

When you upgrade computers you will be able to remove Office from the old computer to install on a new computer.

You will also get more features like business email and calendars, a public website, team sites, web conferencing, and instant messaging.

If your company needs any help making a decision about which version of Office would best suit you, or if you would like help installing and configuring Office, please give us a call. We’d be happy to help.