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Sharepoint in 2018, 2019: Cloud or On-Premise?

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This article is an extension to our recent article, Microsoft Exchange in 2016: Onsite or Offsite?  

While traditionally, companies have always preferred to host sharepoint onsite for control and security reasons, today’s services and cloud technology offer lower cost options make it a little more appealing and easier to make the decision.

In addition, the latest Office 365 and Sharepoint versions are made to run well on the cloud, and work together, with improved support for mobile devices.  Here are some key points, pros and cons on the differences of running onsite/offsite.

Onsite Sharepoint


  • You have full control over system (plus backups, security)
  • You are accountable, responsible for your own data, and if there is an issue, have a better idea of when it will be fixed
  • Security and infrastructure is all yours.  Data is backed up and available to people who need it.  Access outside of the company is limited.
  • No monthly costs
  • If internal needs require an unusual configuration, there is no need to negotiate with a hosting company to get it setup


  • Cost: Licenses and hardware are expensive
  • Reliability: External hosting companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a reliable system than a normal company would be able to afford on it’s own
  • Accountability: Instead of running to the server room to check on things, you can contact the host from anywhere you are
  • Security: Depends if your company feels safer from external threats when internally hosted or externally hosted.  The risk is equal for internal threats, and a hosting company will likely have better reliability and backup/recovery process, because they have likely spent the money on a quality infrastructure.

Offsite Hosted Sharepoint


  • Hosted Sharepoint is made to run well on the cloud, and with today’s resources, cloud based apps are getting less expensive.  The going rate of a hosted Sharepoint Server for unlimited users is  only 9$ starting/month/1GB.
  • You don’t have to buy the expensive licenses or hardware
  • Migrating to new software is not your problem nor are the licenses
  • No energy costs
  • 24×7 dedicated Sharepoint staff
  • 24×7 dedicated Windows staff
  • 24×7 dedicated networking staff
  • Dedicated security teams means that even the Fortune 100 can’t match the security of the big providers.
  • Super high reliability datacenters with multi-regional failover.
  • Storage and backups are included in the cost
  • Smart Hosting is included (this is often $2/user/mo for on premise – so this alone almost pays for switching)
  • You have better things to do with your time that are unique to your business.
  • Upgrades, licensing and patching are included.
  • Support is included including escalations all the way to the developers.
  • Just because you have Sharepoint skills doesn’t mean that everyone on your team does or will in the future. Requiring expensive and increasingly rare Sharepoint skills to maintain an internal system introduces risk. What if you quit, get promoted, get hit by a bus, etc.
  • No license management.
  • Opex rather than Capex spending.
  • Pricing is directly tied to real usage and no projections or budgeting processes are needed (which are very expensive to do.) And you never need to “buy ahead”, you pay as you go and that is all that there is.
  • Access when offsite doesn’t tax the company network.


  • No full control over system (backups, security)
  • Limited number of outgoing email per day
  • You have to trust the security and infrastructure of another company
  • Monthly costs
  • You are a middle man
  • When Sharepoint access goes down, it is out of your control

Resources: What’s New in Sharepoint 2016

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