How is Office 365 different than the standard version of Office?

12/15/2020 | by Josh Yarbrough

How is Office 365 different

If you’ve ever wondered “What’s the difference between Office 2016 and Office 365?”, we hope to clear up that distinction and maybe even answer some questions you might have about the two products. It’s confusing. I know. And visiting Microsoft’s official website makes it even more unclear and can cause you to leave there feeling even more confused. Microsoft has created two separate products that are very similar. Actually, they are almost the same product.

Two Different Versions

The first version is Office Standard (standalone, Microsoft calls it their “one-time purchase”). This is the software that you buy once, receive an activation key, and get to keep forever. Then there’s the second, Office 365 (Subscription). It’s the monthly subscription model of the software. This is the software that keeps on giving and taking.

Pros and Cons

From simply a cost perspective, Office Standard could be cheaper in the long run. You pay once for it and that’s it. This is the better solution for those that skip several versions of Office. On the other hand, if you find yourself running out and buy the newest version every time that they are released, then your pocketbook would benefit from Office 365. As far as updates and patches, Microsoft is consistently releasing these fixes for Office 365 but only releases choice updates to its Standard versions. This means that if a bug or vulnerability is found, your chances of a fix taking place are way higher more rapidly resolved with the subscription model, Office 365.

This leads to another handy side to Office 365 and where its value really comes to light. With it, you get free tech support included in the subscription whereas the Standard version only comes with 60 days of support from the time of activation. Office 365 also includes cloud products such as Skype, business class email hosting,  OneDrive etc. Whereas Office Standard does not. Sure, not everyone needs Skype but no business can do without email. And because it is Microsoft’s hosted Exchange email service, you get what is equivalent to an automatically backed up Exchange server without the added cost of upkeep and maintenance.  OneDrive also comes with some plans and gives you secure cloud storage space which is almost a must in today’s decentralized business environments where you need access to your data no matter where you are on the planet.

Which Option Is For Me?

Microsoft hasn’t mentioned any word about discontinuing the standard product but is trying its best to get everyone onto its subscription product. This leads some to believe that this will be the only option one day and only a matter of time. So to sum up, if you’re one to keep your Office software for way too long before upgrading and are on an extremely tight budget, Office standard is for you. If you want rapid bug fixes and the latest versions of Office, the subscription is more your thing. If you are a non-profit organization, Office 365 is a no-brainer. Let’s get it set up. If some of this is still not clear or you would like to move forward with Microsoft’s Office subscription, please give SandStorm IT a call at 901-475-0275 and we will get you that solution.

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