Why is SharePoint Online better than On-Premise?

August 23rd, 2022 by Yvonne Harris

Intranet IT Marketing & Comms

SharePoint is a Microsoft 365 service primarily used by organizations to create websites for internal communications, document management, and knowledge sharing. It was first launched in 2001 while SharePoint Online became available in 2013. As of December 2020, SharePoint has over 200 million users.

Many of us are familiar with Microsoft SharePoint from a user perspective but don’t know the ins and outs of it. If you’re reading this article, we’re guessing you fall into one of two camps:

  1. You’ve been tasked with building an intranet, heard of SharePoint, discovered that there are two versions – SharePoint Online and On-Premise – and are unsure which you should use.
  2. You already have an intranet on SharePoint On-Premise and wonder if you need to move online and why.

This article will explore the difference between on-premise and online SharePoint intranets and why online is a better option for many organizations.

What is the difference between SharePoint Online and On-Premise?

In simple terms, SharePoint On-Premise requires a company to run on-site hardware to access the program. While SharePoint Online is accessible from the cloud.

What is SharePoint On-Premise?

SharePoint On-Premise is commonly maintained by a company’s IT team at its 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.

When it comes to SharePoint On-Premise, there are two time-sensitive considerations to make:

1.       Support for some SharePoint On-Premise versions is coming to an end

Microsoft is ending support for certain SharePoint On-Premise versions, including SharePoint 2013. Users with an existing on-premises SharePoint 2013 intranet should make plans to migrate over to SharePoint Online before the end of life (EOL) date of April 11, 2023. By 2026, SharePoint 2019 and 2019 will also be obsolete.

Theoretically, users do have the option to keep their current SharePoint 2013 server running unsupported. However, this does pose some significant risks and is certainly not recommended.

Read more about the risks of staying on SharePoint 2013 and the options if you decide to move.

2.       On-premise software is becoming out-dated

The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the limitations of on-premise software. 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 simply refers to software run on computers at the location of the person or organization using the software.

When 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.

Read more about why it’s time to retire your SharePoint On-Premise intranet.

What is SharePoint Online?

SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service offered by Microsoft as part of a Microsoft 365 or SharePoint subscription.

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Why is SharePoint Online a better option?

The cloud version of SharePoint offers a myriad of benefits to users, including straightforward ways to store, share, and keep track of information. External collaboration and communication efforts can be made easily as SharePoint Online connects with many outside customers and vendors.

SharePoint Online comprises both web and cloud-based technologies. It eliminates high data storage costs, subscription charges, and other SharePoint on-premises deployments.

The primary benefits of migrating to the SharePoint Online platform are:

  • The ability to integrate with Microsoft 365 applications
  • High-level security features
  • Compatibility with mobile devices, so information is accessible on the go
  • Easy external collaboration efforts with users
  • HIPPA, FIMSA, and ISO27001 compliance, among others
  • Ability to create document libraries for enhanced collaboration efforts

How to migrate to SharePoint Online

If you have an on-prem SharePoint intranet and decide to migrate to SharePoint Online, there are a few essential things to remember:

  • Migrating is a technical project you must undertake with your technology partner or IT team using a SharePoint migration tool.
  • Your SharePoint migration project is separate from your intranet project.
  • As you migrate, you’ll likely also want to update your intranet and take advantage of all SharePoint offers, like the Modern SharePoint experience
  • Even the cloud version of SharePoint might not cover all your needs regarding employee engagement. Consider a third-party tool such as Powell Intranet to supplement it.

If you’re going to migrate to SharePoint Online or have already started, we have the guide for you. Learn how to build a more effective intranet as you migrate to the cloud.

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