Is It Time to Retire Your SharePoint On-Premise Intranet?

by Yvonne Harris

SharePoint on-premise is slowly becoming a thing of the past as organizations move to the cloud and Microsoft ends support for on-premise intranets.

COVID-19 has undoubtedly sparked a turnaround in the way companies do business. It’s no secret that the vast majority have faced supply chain shortages, government-mandated closures, and a drastic reduction in their employee base.

Considering all the new challenges they were forced to address, organizations struggle to pinpoint what the new “normal” will be moving forward. However, one thing is becoming clearer: the need to transition from on-premise software to the cloud to maintain better flexibility.

As many people were forced to work from home during the pandemic, there was a quick realization that on-premise software may not be the best option moving forward. On-premise software refers to software that is run on computers at the location of the person or organization using the software.

Compared to things like the cloud or server farms, on-premise software is greatly limited. So, the problem that organizations commonly faced at the height of the pandemic was an inability to access information remotely.

Even prior to the pandemic, it was predicted that data centers would eventually be a thing of the past. In hindsight, COVID-19 seems to have sped up that process.

Microsoft has weighed the options and decided to do away with the latest version of SharePoint premises software, or SharePoint 2013, and now encourages users to switch to online SharePoint for various reasons discussed more in depth below.

How is SharePoint doing today?

Some have expressed concern that SharePoint may die out in the coming years, but this is not the case; far from it. SharePoint certainly continues to grow, and Microsoft has backed this claim by saying that more than 85% of Fortune 500 companies and 500,000+ organizations use the Microsoft SharePoint intranet for their day-to-day operations and internal communication.

SharePoint has seen explosive growth over the last few years, mostly due to the widespread adoption of Microsoft Office, now known as Microsoft 365 Suite, where SharePoint Online is included with the subscription edition.

Traditionally, organizations have used the SharePoint On-Premise intranet to help run their operations, but Microsoft has identified an innovative way to reduce the tedious work associated with running SharePoint prem – the cloud.

What is SharePoint On-Premise?

Let’s start with the rundown of SharePoint On-Premise. To run SharePoint On-Premise software, a company must physically run on-site hardware to access the program.

SharePoint On-Premise is commonly maintained by a company’s IT team at a company’s data center. The team must keep it up to date via patches and other relevant updates. The on-premise SharePoint runs on a Client Access License model (Server/CAL), which gives users the legal right to access services within a server.

Microsoft has now officially ended support; the SharePoint 2013 end-of-life happened in April 2023. It’s recommended that users make plans to officially switch and migrate to SharePoint Online to leverage the modern SharePoint experience.

EN - Whitepaper : Building an Effective Intranet While Migrating to SharePoint Online

Differences between SharePoint On-Premise and SharePoint Online

Updates and maintenance

SharePoint Online: Microsoft will take care of any needed updates and patches.

SharePoint On-Premise: Must be maintained by company IT professionals. They are responsible for all updates and patches.

Data storage and backups

SharePoint Online: All data will be stored within the cloud, and Microsoft will manage backups. However, there are limitations to this offering. For more information, see their Shared Responsibility Model.

SharePoint On-Premise: All backups must be locally created and managed by an IT professional. All data is stored within a company’s local network.

Hardware requirements

SharePoint Online: This does not require onsite hardware, as all data is stored at Microsoft data centers.

SharePoint On-Premise: Users must purchase onsite hardware.


SharePoint Online:  Data is compliant with industry-specific security standards. Microsoft Teams are built upon an enterprise-grade cloud that provides advanced-level security capabilities with files being stored in SharePoint. Microsoft and SharePoint’s partnership allows data to always remain encrypted, including when in transit.

SharePoint On-Premise: Organizations are responsible for their own data security.


SharePoint Online:  Integrated into Microsoft 365 plans and is billed monthly.

SharePoint On-Premise: Users will be responsible for purchasing hardware, maintaining it, and paying for any required licensing, among other costs.

SharePoint Online has more possibilities (for the lowest price)

With SharePoint On-Premise, purchasers are responsible for the following:

  • Integrating any new tools and/or functions
  • Locating options for scalability
  • Finding solutions for connecting external users & implementing said solutions

On the other hand, SharePoint Online takes care of integrating any new tools, introducing options for scalability, and easy expansion for external users through services with Microsoft Azure (“Azure”), a cloud computing service that is used to manage applications. Overall, Microsoft SharePoint Online is the ideal solution for introducing an optimal team collaboration environment. Both internal and external collaboration efforts are made simple and easy.

In addition, there are several advanced customization options with SharePoint Online. One such feature is the modernized look for libraries and lists. This helps users access their most important information quickly, along with easy ways to move it around through tabs like “Move To” or “Copy To.”

Allow Powell Software To Assist with Your SharePoint Online Project

Powell Software is a trusted Microsoft partner that builds customizable intranets on the SharePoint Online platform. As previously mentioned, the SharePoint On-Premise model is becoming obsolete and will officially be unsupported in April 2023. This will leave systems more vulnerable to failure and cybercriminals intercepting protected information. Learn more about creating a fully customizable social intranet.

Organizations must begin planning their migration effort now to avoid any substantial delays in their systems. In addition, it’s likely that users who choose to remain on the unsupported version will eventually face compatibility issues and other risks.

Act now. Data migration projects can take weeks to months to complete, depending on the amount of data needing to be transferred. SharePoint Prem’s end-of-life date will be here before you know it.

EN - Whitepaper : Building an Effective Intranet While Migrating to SharePoint Online

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