Office 365 vs. the hosted Desktop

First of all there are both great and depending on your individual and company requirements determine which fits best.  This blog is meant as a guide to understand both products better to help you decide.

So how to tell which one is best for you? Well let’s start with the fundamental differences between the two.

Both are cloud based services which charge per user per month.

Office 365 is a business productivity suite and has different price plans however in order to edit documents online most business will end up on the £15.00 per user per month package (E3).

This will give you online and offline access to the entire Office suite of applications including:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Microsoft Lync

The offline part of this is fine and works just as you do today with a locally installed copy of Office and you will save your documents either locally or ideally your team space via SharePoint.

Other lower priced versions do not include licenses for local copies and or editing of documents online. To get a full breakdown of the different packages click here.

The hosted desktop on the other hand is simply this, your entire desktop including Microsoft Office and any other application your business runs all in the cloud.

You simply find any device with an internet connection and access your personalised desktop exactly as it is today from anywhere.

Which one suits best when?

So if you can say yes to all of most of the following questions Office 365 may be a better fit:

  1. If you are a small or growing company with no server/s looking to increase productivity.
  2. If you have little or no internal shared filing area.
  3. If you are or have to hand an IT savvy person that can guide you through the initial setup.
  4. If you have no other windows based applications only use online (SAAS) based services.
  5. If you are self sufficient and happy to use the self service help and training.

This list is not absolutely conclusive however if you feel that this is you, Office 365 could be a winner. There are huge companies using and adopting Office 365 this is just our opinion.


On the other hand if this sounds more like you a hosted desktop may be the better fit.

  1. You a Small to medium sized company with a least one server in house.
  2. You have a shared company network drive that users all use to save documents to.
  3. You would like to not have the worry of IT and consume it as a service on demand.
  4. You like working just as you are today with your personal desktops and applications
  5. You would like the ability to access your full desktops and applications from anywhere at anytime or any device.
  6. You don’t have or would rather not have an internal IT person to maintain PCs and servers.

Again this list is not conclusive.

A hosted desktop is more expensive (about £55.00 per user per month) however you get a lot more than just access to office.  You don’t need to own or upgrade servers ever again and you can choose to work on whatever device you or your employees want. You can add and remove users in minutes and you only pay for what you use.

Microsoft Office often means distributed information some bits are in the cloud and some bits are in databases running on servers in house and linking them all together is not easy if at all.

The user experience of office 365 is different to how you use it today, not good or bad but different whereas the hosted desktop acts and feels exactly as it does today.

Why not give them both a trial and any questions drop as a line.


David Shaw

David Shaw

CEO at Modern Working I have a passion for technology and Digital Marketing.

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