Hosted SharePoint Services: A Cost-Benefit Analysis
SharePoint is a powerful platform developed by Microsoft that allows organizations to create websites, intranets, and collaboration tools. It offers a wide range of features and functionalities that can be customized to meet specific business needs. In this article, we will explore the benefits and costs associated with hosted SharePoint services, and how they compare to on-premise SharePoint deployments.
What is Hosted SharePoint?
Hosted SharePoint refers to the deployment of SharePoint on a cloud-based infrastructure, where the platform is managed and maintained by a third-party provider. This eliminates the need for organizations to invest in their own hardware, software, and IT resources to support SharePoint.
Benefits of Hosted SharePoint Services
1. Cost Savings: One of the main advantages of hosted SharePoint services is the cost savings it offers. Organizations do not need to purchase and maintain their own servers, which can be a significant expense. Additionally, they do not need to hire and train IT staff to manage the infrastructure, further reducing costs.
2. Scalability: Hosted SharePoint services allow organizations to easily scale their infrastructure as their needs grow. They can quickly add or remove resources as required, without the need for significant upfront investments.
3. Accessibility: With hosted SharePoint services, users can access the platform from anywhere, at any time, as long as they have an internet connection. This enables remote work and collaboration, increasing productivity and efficiency.
4. Security: Hosted SharePoint services often come with robust security measures in place, including data encryption, firewalls, and regular backups. This helps protect sensitive information and ensures compliance with industry regulations.
5. Expert Support: When organizations opt for hosted SharePoint services, they gain access to a team of experts who are responsible for managing and maintaining the platform. This means that any technical issues or updates are handled by professionals, freeing up internal resources.
Costs of Hosted SharePoint Services
1. Subscription Fees: Hosted SharePoint services typically involve monthly or annual subscription fees. The cost will vary depending on the provider and the level of service required.
2. Customization Costs: While SharePoint offers a wide range of out-of-the-box features, organizations may require additional customization to meet their specific needs. This can involve additional costs for development and integration.
3. Data Transfer Costs: If organizations need to migrate existing data to the hosted SharePoint environment, there may be additional costs associated with data transfer and storage.
4. Training Costs: If employees are not familiar with SharePoint, organizations may need to invest in training programs to ensure they can effectively use the platform.
Hosted SharePoint vs On-Premise SharePoint
While hosted SharePoint services offer many benefits, it is important to consider the alternative of on-premise SharePoint deployments. On-premise SharePoint involves hosting the platform on the organization’s own servers and infrastructure.
On-premise SharePoint offers the following advantages:
1. Control: Organizations have full control over the infrastructure and can customize it to their specific requirements.
2. Integration: On-premise SharePoint can be easily integrated with other on-premise systems and applications.
3. Compliance: Some organizations may have strict compliance requirements that necessitate keeping data on-premise.
However, on-premise SharePoint also comes with its own set of challenges:
1. Higher Costs: On-premise deployments require significant upfront investments in hardware, software, and IT resources.
2. Maintenance: Organizations are responsible for maintaining and updating the infrastructure, which can be time-consuming and costly.
3. Scalability: Scaling an on-premise SharePoint deployment can be more challenging and may require additional investments.
Hosted SharePoint services offer numerous benefits, including cost savings, scalability, accessibility, security, and expert support. While there are costs associated with these services, they are often outweighed by the advantages they provide. However, organizations should carefully consider their specific needs and requirements before deciding between hosted SharePoint and on-premise deployments.