Google Drive for Work vs MS OneDrive for Business

Cloud-based productivity tools for businesses took a leap at the end of June, when Google introduced Google Drive for Work. Read on to learn how Google’s new offering is putting the pinch on Microsoft, and why that’s good for business users…

What’s New in Google Drive for Work?

For starters, unlimited storage per user ends the space-race between cloud storage vendors, and the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents in native format, online or offline, puts Google toe-to-toe with the leader in office suites.
Just two months earlier, Microsoft had announced expansion of storage space on its OneDrive for Business servers from 250 GB per user to 1 TB. That was welcome news, but other limitations remain a sticking point with some customers. SharePoint limits syncing to files of 2 GB or less and a maximum of 5,000 files per library. Google Drive for Work will handle files up to 5 GB in size, with no limit on the number of files that users can share.
Google Drive for Work
Google Drive for Work is a step up from Google Apps for Business, priced at $10/month per user vs. Apps’ $5. Google Drive for Work includes new enterprise-oriented features such as:

  • Unlimited storage per user and the ability to upload files as large as 5 GB each
  • Access to Google productivity software including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Hangouts, and Sites
  • Google QuickOffice for Docs, Sheets, and Slides, with Office Compatibility Mode that allows users to open and edit MS Office files in their native formats without first converting them to Docs formats. This feature works online or offline. QuickOffice capabilities are currently available on Android devices and by using the Chrome browser. Apple iOS users will get them later.
  • Files are encrypted during transmissions between users and Google, between Google servers, and while files are “at rest” in Google data centers.
  • Tools for IT administrators, including compliance with eDiscovery and other document retention and retrieval legal requirements via Google Apps Vault; global file deletion capabilities; control of app installation permissions for end users; and the ability to customize the Google Drive user interface. An “audit API” is slated for developers later this year.

Google Drive for Work comes with an uptime guarantee of 99.9 percent, plus security and compliance support for “SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II, SOC 2-audit, ISO 27001 certification.” Not up to speed on all your tech buzzwords? No problem. Loosely translated, those acronyms mean that Google takes every conceivable measure to protect your data, and can prove that they are doing so.
Microsoft seems to be sweating over Google’s competition. The price of OneDrive for Business has been cut in half, to a mere $2.50/month per user, for new customers who sign up before September 14, 2014. Still not impressed? Microsoft throws in email service; Active Directory integration; online conferencing; the eDiscovery Center equivalent of Google Apps Vault; and the full desktop version of MS Office. No free steak knives, though.
This battle for the business cloud services market is heating up nicely for buyers. Google Drive is becoming easier to use with Microsoft Office, a critical factor for most business users. Microsoft, in turn, is getting serious about curing the limitations of SharePoint that keep many mid-sized businesses from signing up for OneDrive.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below…

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