The Difference Between SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server


SharePoint has become a key tool for companies managing their data and information. It is an online tool that allows you to easily organize, store, share and access documents using both mobile and desktop devices. Currently, SharePoint offers two product options – SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server, and in this article, we’re going to go over these options and help you choose the best one for your company.

SharePoint Online vs. SharePoint Server

With SharePoint server, you own and operate the software on a locally-hosted platform. You will have to set up and manage the server architecture, file storage, and active directory among other factors. With SharePoint Online on the other hand, the software is based on a cloud-infrastructure provided by Microsoft. They will handle architecture and identity management, and all you have to do is create and name the sites. Both of these platforms have their own pros and cons, and the choosing between them usually comes down to the size of your company. Here are the most noticeable differences between the two solutions:

  1. Hosting

If you choose SharePoint Online, you will not have to worry about resource management, setting up the architecture and running the servers. This version will allow you to integrate SharePoint with the full range of Office apps, including Excel, Exchange and Word, creating a seamless connection between the software and the business solution. In terms of costs, you will have to pay for the number of registered users based on a license system.

However, with the Online solution, you do not have much control or autonomy when it comes to the data and architecture of your system, even though this version of SharePoint offers a large range of integrations.The issues start to become apparent when you have legacy systems on your business servers which may be hard to integrate. On top of that, you may be weary of having all your sensitive information hosted by someone else in data centers around the globe.

  1. New releases

One of the main advantages of SharePoint Online is that you will receive the newest releases straight from Microsoft sooner than you would with the SharePoint Server version. Of course, there can be issues with new releases, even if they are extremely rare. There are cases where a new release comes with features that break an existing customization with little warning. With a self-hosted solution, you do not run this risk, but you lag behind when it comes to new integrations.

Making the choice

Choosing between the two versions will come down to your business needs. If you run a small company that needs limited features such as integration with existing apps, some degree of customization, and document management, SharePoint Online is the right choice. Larger organizations on the other hand will gravitate towards the SharePoint Server version, where they can implement sophisticated custom applications and design SharePoint to fit their business needs.

If you are currently interested in implementing SharePoint for your company, we at Alcero, can help you map out your business needs and determine which solution works best for you. Contact us today for more information regarding our services and what implementing SharePoint entails for your company.

We offer a free consultation at 514-316-5064 or through our website.