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IT Tips & Tricks

10 Points to Consider: SharePoint Online vs
On-Premises

Published 22 April 2024

While SharePoint® Online and its on-prem counterpart, SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, have many similarities, it’s most likely their differences that will sway your decision one way or the other. A couple of primary considerations are cost and security, but hardware, updates, infrastructure, backups, customizations and scalability have an impact too, so we’ll address all those points here.

Key Differences That Will Make a Difference toYou

As you know, the most obvious difference is that SharePoint Online is in the cloud, while SharePoint Server Subscription Edition (SPSE) is on-premise. It is precisely that difference that accounts for the variables in the ten points mentioned in the title. But how do they impact your decision as to which way to go? Let’s dig into that.

Unless you’re willing to contract out your maintenance services, you may still require an IT department — albeit a scaled-down crew.

Dedicated Hardware

  • SharePoint Online: Relies entirely on Microsoft® Cloud data centers. While it requires no dedicated on-site hardware nor the personnel to run and maintain it, every user is still going to need a computer to access SharePoint Online. Here are Microsoft’s
    recommended requirements:
    • Computer and processor: Windows® OS: 1.6 GHz or faster,
      2-core processor.
    • Memory: Windows OS: 4 GB RAM.
    • Hard disk: Windows OS: 4 GB of available disk space.
    • Display: Windows OS: 1280 x 768 screen resolution.
    • Graphics capability.
    • Operating system.
    • Internet connection.
  • SharePoint Online: Relies entirely on Microsoft® Cloud data centers. While it requires no dedicated on-site hardware nor the personnel to run and maintain it, every user is still going to need a computer to access SharePoint Online. Here are Microsoft’s recommended requirements:
    • Computer and processor: Windows® OS: 1.6 GHz or faster, 2-core processor.
    • Memory: Windows OS: 4 GB RAM.
    • Hard disk: Windows OS: 4 GB of available disk space.
    • Display: Windows OS: 1280 x 768 screen resolution.
    • Graphics capability.
    • Operating system.
    • Internet connection.
Maintenance-services

Maintenance: DIY or contract it out?

Updates and Infrastructure

As you no doubt already know, IT infrastructure is the required collection of components that allow a company to build and run applications that support its business. This includes hardware, networking, operating systems, data storage and software, much of which requires updates to remain fully functional and secure. (If you’ve ever noticed that updates and infrastructure are often mentioned together, that’s why. Infrastructure and updates are like cake and calories — you can’t have one without the other.) Think about it, where would your infrastructure be without the required updates and security patches?

  • SharePoint Online: Microsoft releases Public Updates, which include SharePoint Cumulative Updates (CUs) every second Tuesday of the month. SharePoint Online also performs continuous crawls every 15 minutes to keep the search index up to date and ensure the freshness of search results.
  • SharePoint On-Premises: Infrastructure is maintained by your internal IT team who will need to install a single software update from Microsoft each month to be fully up to date with the latest security fixes, bug fixes and new
    feature experiences.
  • SharePoint Online: Microsoft releases Public Updates, which include SharePoint Cumulative Updates (CUs) every second Tuesday of the month. SharePoint Online also performs continuous crawls every 15 minutes to keep the search index up to date and ensure the freshness of search results.
  • SharePoint On-Premises: Infrastructure is maintained by your internal IT team who will need to install a single software update from Microsoft each month to be fully up to date with the latest security fixes, bug fixes and new feature experiences.

Whether you opt for the cloud-based flexibility of SharePoint Online or the on-premise reliability of SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, both platforms remain powerful tools for
your organization.

Whether you opt for the cloud-based flexibility of SharePoint Online or the on-premise reliability of SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, both platforms remain powerful tools for your organization.

Data Backups

  • SharePoint Online: Backups are managed every 12 hours by Microsoft and each backup is retained for 14 days. Additionally, in terms of data retention, any SharePoint Online documents, list items, versions, lists and libraries that are placed in the recycle bin are retained for 90 days or until a user manually deletes or restores them. After 90 days, anything remaining in the first recycle bin is moved into a second-stage recycle bin where they are kept for a further 90 days, effectively giving admins 180 days to restore an item, if needed, before it is
    permanently deleted.
  • SharePoint On-Premises: Backups will need to be created, tested and managed by your IT support team within your local environment.

Data Storage

Data-Storge

The Cloud: “Plenty of storage” does not translate to “Ignore the data sprawl.”

  • SharePoint On-Premises: Data storage capacity is determined by your servers and is stored on your local network. Preventing sprawl and minimizing redundant, obsolete and trivial data is, yet again, a
    smart choice.
  • SharePoint On-Premises: Data storage capacity is determined by your servers and is stored on your local network. Preventing sprawl and minimizing redundant, obsolete and trivial data is, yet again, a smart choice.

Costs

Data Security

Infrastructure and updates are like cake and calories — you can’t have one without the other.

Customizations

  • SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online offers a variety of customization options, including the ability to create custom lists, libraries, workflows and web parts. Some of the main elements that can be
    customized include:
    • Design: This includes modifying styles, colors, landing pages, master pages, logos, and page layouts.
    • Navigation: This helps users quickly access relevant information.
    • Page content: This includes the search functionality.
  • SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online offers a variety of customization options, including the ability to create custom lists, libraries, workflows and web parts. Some of the main elements that can be customized include:
    • Design: This includes modifying styles, colors, landing pages, master pages, logos, and page layouts.
    • Navigation: This helps users quickly access relevant information.
    • Page content: This includes the search functionality.

Beyond the above, limited customizations are available.

  • SharePoint On-Premises: As the king of your castle, you get the flexibility of unlimited customizations. Your turf = your rules.

External Users

Backups are managed every 12 hours by Microsoft and each backup is retained for 14 days.

Scalability

  • SharePoint Online: Microsoft takes care of scalability, ensuring seamless growth without compromising functionality. Scaling up or down is easy and will be reflected in the monthly cost.
  • SharePoint On-Premises: Scalability is your responsibility and will be limited by the size of your servers.

New Tools

Pricing for SharePoint Online vs.
On-Premises

Pricing for SharePoint Online vs. On-Premises

If the nature of your business dictates specific security requirements or precludes cloud hosting, on-prem is your best solution.

Online vs. On-Prem: Data
Security Differences

Online vs. On-Prem: Data Security Differences

Data-Security

Are five layers of security enough for you? If not, on-prem might be your best bet.

SharePoint Server Subscription Edition:

The SharePoint on-prem version provides a robust business solution characterized by scalability, reliability and fortified security measures. It enables the use of cutting-edge hardware advancements and computing technologies, combined with fast and efficient data processing at a reduced cost. This on-premises option offers:

Unless you have an IT budget to burn, preventing data sprawl is
a must.

Unless you have an IT budget to burn, preventing data sprawl is a must.

Dealer’s Choice: No Poker Face Required

Ultimately, choosing between SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server Subscription Edition depends on your organization's specific needs, resources and long-term goals. While SharePoint Online offers advantages such as accessibility, scalability and seamless updates, SPSE provides greater control over infrastructure, customization and
security options.

Whether you opt for the cloud-based flexibility of SharePoint Online or the on-premises reliability of SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, both platforms remain powerful tools for enhancing collaboration, productivity and information management within your organization. Understanding the nuances of each solution empowers you to make an informed decision that best aligns with your business objectives and IT capabilities. What’s your choice going to be?

Ultimately, choosing between SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server Subscription Edition depends on your organization's specific needs, resources and long-term goals. While SharePoint Online offers advantages such as accessibility, scalability and seamless updates, SPSE provides greater control over infrastructure, customization and security options.

Whether you opt for the cloud-based flexibility of SharePoint Online or the on-premises reliability of SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, both platforms remain powerful tools for enhancing collaboration, productivity and information management within your organization. Understanding the nuances of each solution empowers you to make an informed decision that best aligns with your business objectives and IT capabilities. What’s your choice going to be?

Preventing a Common Cause of Data Loss During Migration

The standalone version of SharePoint is ideal for small- to
mid-sized companies.