IT Tips & Tricks

March 8, 2020

Updated 23 June 2022

SharePoint Latest Version: On-Premise vs. the Cloud — Which is Better?

Banner-6 (1)

Maybe you’re a business owner looking for a robust enterprise content management system, and you’re asking yourself, “Should I use the latest version of Microsoft SharePoint?” Or perhaps you already use the on-premise version of the software, but you’re interested in what the SharePoint cloud version can offer your business.

The critical question is how do you decide which one is right for you?

Whatever the reason for your interest, it’s important to understand the differences between the two versions so you can make the right choice for your organization. Read on to learn more about the benefits and limitations of SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online.

What Exactly Does SharePoint Do?

SharePoint is a powerful enterprise content management and collaboration tool with a myriad of features that allow you to manage content, host files, integrate third-party apps, and communicate and collaborate within and outside of your organization.

First launched in 2001 by Microsoft, an estimated 190 million professionals in approximately 200,000 businesses across the globe currently use it. Of course, since you need the most advanced technologies to ensure your business can operate securely and efficiently, you might be wondering what the newest version of SharePoint is. The answer is SharePoint 2019.

Whatever the reason for your interest, it’s important to understand the differences between the two versions . . .

This is a follow up to the 2016 version, and the 2019 version exhibits a range of new and improved features that enable a more seamless and effortless user experience.

Here are some other questions you might have when it comes to understanding SharePoint:

What Are the Benefits of Using SharePoint?

There are several distinct advantages:

  • The software provides a unified and centralized platform, so you don’t have to rely on multiple different solutions.
  • Since it’s developed by Microsoft, it’s always on the cutting edge of what today’s business users need most.
  • It can be integrated with Microsoft Office — another business tool used by the majority of organizations worldwide — which provides a more streamlined user experience.

Is Office 365 the Same as SharePoint?

SharePoint Online offers the convenience of scalability since you can purchase more capacity when you need to.

No, Office 365 is not the same as SharePoint. Office is Microsoft’s subscription-based productivity tool and offers key business applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Skype. The main difference between Office 365 and SharePoint is that Office enables file-based storage and non-complex collaborations with small amounts of content, whereas SharePoint provides the ability to manage complex content and collaboration requirements, create custom workflows, and enforce specific security requirements. What’s so interesting is that Office 365 can be integrated with SharePoint Online. This makes it easier to manage documents and workflows across the organization.

Plus, since it becomes easier to share content, it facilitates collaboration between users and teams.

In short, SharePoint allows you to create a robust, compliant environment where your team can use all of the Office 365 applications and SharePoint’s features to create, share, and manage content, as well as communicate and collaborate with other professionals inside and outside of the organization.

Is SharePoint the Same as OneDrive?

Again, the answer is no. OneDrive is Microsoft’s Cloud-based document and file storage system. While it’s available for free for anyone, the business version can be integrated with SharePoint 2019, which can automatically sync content to it.

SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online

Since a growing number of companies are looking to digitize all of their operations, one of the most frequently asked questions about this software is, “Is SharePoint on the Cloud?” The answer is that the software comes in two different versions: SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Premise. SharePoint is used among enterprise leaders all over the world thanks to its easy integration with Microsoft programs and its effective data management tools.While both the Online and On-Premise versions of SharePoint offer great benefits for business collaborative efforts and other increasingly digitized operations, they are each unique in terms of cost, setup, and customization. It’s important to understand the difference between SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Premise before you decide which platform is right for your company.

. . . updates and patches are automatically installed without your IT or admin teams ever having to worry about them.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the features and advantages that define these programs so you can get started right away.

Physical Requirements and Infrastructure Setup

SharePoint Online is Cloud-based, meaning that the infrastructure required to run the application and store the data is entirely online. Because of this, it takes up no physical space in your facility. However, your IT team will need to create the infrastructure to migrate your existing data to the Cloud.

In addition, your admin team will have to set up your business’s SharePoint environment in the Cloud. Admins and key stakeholders will need to organize site content and determine which features will be needed for content management.

Physical Requirements and Infrastructure Setup

Collaboration is the name of the game.

Admins, developers, and site owners will be tasked with customizing the various sites with apps and solutions as well. So what is on-premise SharePoint? This is also referred to as SharePoint server, and it’s the version that’s installed locally on your business’s server.

There are quite a few different hardware and software requirements for this version, depending on your exact setup and hardware capacity. You can find a detailed overview of the requirements on Microsoft’s website.

It should go without saying that the implementation of SharePoint On-Premise and the migration of your data to the new environment will require significant IT expertise.

Moreover, just like with the online version, your admins and stakeholders will need to set up the new environment to meet your business’s needs.

Maintenance and Updates

When it comes to maintenance and updates, SharePoint Online provides a considerable amount of convenience and ease-of-use. The Cloud platform is maintained by Microsoft, while updates and patches are automatically installed without your IT or admin teams ever having to worry about them. Matters are more complicated if you’re hosting the application on-premise. First of all, your IT team will need to make sure the server hardware is always in good working order to maximize operational speed and minimize downtime.

When it comes to updates and patches, Microsoft is continuously making improvements to reduce the downtime needed to install them. Nevertheless, before every update, it’s necessary to document the environment, manage the various customizations, create an update strategy, prepare the farm items, test the update, and finally, implement it. While this newest version of SharePoint On-Premise is likely to have fewer updates than the 2016 version, ensuring they’re installed correctly and in a timely manner will certainly require considerable input and effort by your IT team.

Cost is usually the first thing businesses consider, but a true and proper SharePoint cost calculation depends on a lot of factors . . .

Securing Your Data

When you use a Cloud-based application to manage your data, that data is outside of your physical reach. This can be a concern for businesses that want to — or are required to — protect sensitive data. SharePoint Online provides recommendations for three basic levels of protection: baseline, sensitive, and highly confidential protection.

SharePoint environments and their various strengths and weaknesses differ, which can make it tricky to navigate their subtle nuances.

Of course, these configurations can be further customized to meet your needs.

With SharePoint 2019 On-Premise, you have more control over who accesses your data, as well as how it’s encrypted when it’s stored and transmitted. The software provides various Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols you can enable according to your requirements.

In addition, there are various third-party cybersecurity software packages available that have features specifically geared to SharePoint.


It’s becoming more and more common for businesses to customize processes and integrate third-party apps to improve their workflows. Both versions of SharePoint enable the customization of add-ins. However, considering the myriad of Cloud-based APIs, the online deployment doesn’t have the versatility yet that the on-premise version does.

That also means if you’re planning to migrate your on-premise application to the Cloud, it’s wise to first determine whether or not customizations will be supported. If not, you may have to look for alternative solutions.

Scaling Up

Scalability plays a big part in the battle between SharePoint 2019 and SharePoint Online due to the constant evolution of technology and customer demands. If your organization is expanding, SharePoint online offers the convenience of scalability since you can purchase more capacity when you need to. That said, it’s important to properly manage your data to avoid storing duplicate content and driving up costs unnecessarily. SharePoint On-Premise isn’t as easily scaled up, as it will require your IT team to add the necessary hardware to your servers. However, since they have complete access to the system, it can be easier for them to implement the governance and compliance policies your business and industry require.

. . . the 2019 version exhibits a range of new and improved features that enable a more seamless and effortless user experience.

Cost Considerations

For organizations of all types and sizes, costs are, of course, a major consideration. SharePoint Online offers three different plans. Plan 1 is $5 per user per month and offers the features most needed by small to mid-sized organizations.

Plan 2 is $10 per user per month, and it offers all of the features of SharePoint online, so it’s fully capable of handling the needs of an enterprise.

Cost Considerations

Cheap can be expensive in the long run.

Plan 3 is $20 per user per month and requires a 12-month commitment. It includes all of the features of SharePoint, as well as a host of Microsoft Office applications.The licensing for SharePoint on-premises is based on a Server/Client Access License (CAL) model.

A CAL is needed for each device or user that accesses a server.

For an accurate estimate of the costs involved with licensing, it’s advisable to contact Microsoft directly.

In addition, you’ll need to ensure you have the right hardware and software to run SharePoint, which may require an initial investment, as well as periodic expenses related to maintenance, repairs, and upgrades.

How to Decide Which Version of SharePoint Is Right for You

SharePoint 2019 and SharePoint Online have their differences, and what works for someone else’s business may be less effective for yours. You’ll need to consider a few questions before deciding on a new data management solution. Some of these questions include:

How much can my company afford?

Cost is a huge point to consider when you implement a company-wide data sharing solution. Because SharePoint On-Premises requires heavy IT support, manual updates, and additional resources, it’s usually a less popular option for smaller companies that are on tight budgets.

Larger, well-established businesses are more likely to benefit from the local version over the long-term.

How sensitive is my data?

Due to security concerns that surround Cloud applications, you might be wondering whether your data will be safe on SharePoint Online.

Cloud service providers are constantly working to develop the latest safety solutions so businesses can protect their most confidential data.

These may include regular backups, multi-factor identification features, and even data center monitoring.

That said, some business leaders who work with more sensitive data prefer the on-premise platform, which offers more control over security methods.

One of the core differences between the two SharePoint configurations is how your data will be managed, especially in terms of compliance, security and general business continuity.

Which is more important: full control or scalability?

The advantage of SharePoint Online is that it offers more storage flexibility and automatically keeps you up to date with the latest features and technology. SharePoint 2019 has to be upgraded manually and is less likely to scale as easily as its online counterpart. In an ever-changing world of data and information technology, this level of scalability is often essential. On the other hand, SharePoint On-Premises gives you more freedom to customize and adjust features according to your preferences and specifications.

Your Data Migration Partner

How stringent are your security requirements?

You’ll have full control over your data location, management, and settings, while the Cloud platform offers a little bit less customization flexibility. This can be a deal-breaker for some business owners, so it’s up to you to decide which option best aligns with your goals.

All things considered, both the on-premise and the online versions of SharePoint 2019 offer significant advantages — but they also each have some limitations. Of course, the version that’s best for your company will depend on several factors, including cost, scalability, compliance requirements, and ease of implementation.

To learn more about the advantages of SharePoint online vs. on-premise, contact us today.

Our team of experts is dedicated to providing you with correct and comprehensive information so you can make the right choice for your business.

Your Data Migration Partner

We hope this guide put you closer to making the right decision for your business. LinkTek is here to support your SharePoint usage and make it easier on your IT team every single day. We do that by offering tools like LinkFixer Advanced that make SharePoint migration simpler by fixing or even preventing broken file links.

Try the software yourself by requesting a free trial today!

1805 Drew Street
Clearwater, Florida 33765
Phone: 727-442-1822

Feel free to share this article on your social media:

Copyright © 2014–2024 LinkTek and IntelliProp.  All Rights Reserved.  LinkTek and LinkFixer Advanced are trademarks of IntelliProp. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Other trademarks are held by their respective owners. Not responsible for inadvertent errors.