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Microsoft 365 vs. Office 2021: Which Office Suite Is Right for Your Organization?

In the world of office productivity software, Microsoft has been a dominant force for decades. Their wide range of products and services has become a go-to choice for individuals and enterprises. In recent years, Microsoft has offered two prominent options for office software: Microsoft 365 and Office 2021. These two suites cater to different needs and have their own features, benefits, and drawbacks.

In this article, we aim to help you make an informed decision by comparing Microsoft 365 and Office 2021, focusing on the right fit for your organization.

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Microsoft 365: A Comprehensive Cloud-Based Solution

Subscription-based Microsoft 365 offers a comprehensive suite of applications and cloud services. It includes well-known productivity applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more. Microsoft 365 is also equipped with collaborative and cloud-based tools such as Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.

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Let’s look at the key features of Microsoft 365:

1. Cloud-Based Collaboration

Microsoft 365 stands out for its cloud-based approach. This enables real-time collaboration among users, whether they are in the same office or on opposite sides of the globe. Documents are stored in the cloud, which makes it easy for teams to access, edit, and collaborate on projects. This feature is ideal for organizations with remote or distributed employees.

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2. Automatic Updates

As a subscriber of Microsoft 365, you are always up-to-date with the newest security updates and features. This helps maintain a secure and up-to-date software environment without manual installations and updates.

3. Access Across Multiple Devices

Microsoft 365 allows users to install its applications on multiple devices, including computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. Thus, users can work seamlessly across various platforms, which is crucial for organizations that prioritize mobility and flexibility.

4. Enhanced Security

Microsoft 365 offers robust security features to protect data and prevent cyber threats. Features like data loss prevention, threat protection, and advanced security management make it an attractive choice for organizations concerned about data security.

5. Subscription Model

Microsoft 365 operates on a subscription model, meaning users pay a monthly or annual fee. This can be advantageous for organizations as it spreads the cost over time, eliminating the need for a large upfront investment in software licenses.

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Office 2021: A Traditional One-Time Purchase

Office 2021 is a one-time purchase software suite. When you buy Office 2021, you own it forever, and it does not require a recurring subscription fee.

However, there are some key differences:

1. Perpetual License

Office 2021 provides a perpetual license, which means you pay for the software once, and it’s yours indefinitely. This can be cost-effective in the long run for organizations that don’t require frequent software updates.

2.  Less Storage compared to Microsoft 365

Unlike Microsoft 365, Office 2021 does not offer the same level of cloud integration. It offers only 5GB cloud-based storage, which can be a limitation for organizations looking for a modern, connected work environment.

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3. Limited Cross-Platform Compatibility

Office 2021 is mainly designed for desktop use. While it’s possible to use it on multiple devices, it may not be as seamless as with Microsoft 365. This might be a drawback for organizations with a strong mobile and remote workforce.

4. No Ongoing Support

With Office 2021, you do not receive continuous support or updates. While this can be a cost-saving measure, it also means that you may miss out on the latest features and security updates over time.

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Choosing the Right Office Suite for Your Organization

The choice between Microsoft 365 and Office 2021 largely depends on the specific needs and priorities of your organization. Here are some factors to consider:

Budget: Office 2021 offers cost-effective one-time purchases, while Microsoft 365 spreads costs over time.

Security: Microsoft 365 offers enhanced security features, making it a good choice for organizations that prioritize data protection.

Platform diversity: Microsoft 365 is available on a broader range of platforms than Office 2021, making it a good choice for organizations with diverse device needs.

Future-proofing: Subscribers of Microsoft 365 will always have access to the latest security updates and features.

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Final Words

In the comparison of Microsoft 365 and Office 2021, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The choice depends on your organization’s unique requirements, budget, and priorities. 

It’s important to assess your organization’s specific needs and consider the long-term implications of your choice. Both options are from Microsoft, so you can expect high-quality software and compatibility with various file formats and services. 

About Nurture IT

Nurture IT, one of the leading IT service providers in Bangalore, offers customised scalable technology solutions specifically designed for our client’s unique needs. Our solutions accelerate growth, reduce costs and enable collaboration. As a preferred partner to technology leaders like Microsoft and Cisco, we deploy the most advanced business technology solutions to ensure optimal reliability, productivity and value.

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