Google Workspace and Microsoft 365: Which productivity suite is better for RIAs?


Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are the two most popular office suites in the market today. Both offer tools that tick all priority items on any RIA firm’s communications and productivity checklist: email, cloud storage, and file creation and sharing. These business productivity suites also come with advanced security and compliance features like two-factor authentication and archiving, which are crucial in handling sensitive client information.

Let’s explore the different offerings of each solution and why your RIAs might want to use one over the other.

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: Packages and prices

There are four Google Workspace plans to choose from:

  • Business Starter ($6 per user, per month)
  • Business Standard ($12 per user, per month)
  • Business Plus ($18 per user, per month)
  • Enterprise (custom pricing)

By contrast, Microsoft 365 has a diverse dizzying array of options: three Business plans aimed at small and/or new businesses, three Enterprise plans for larger organizations, plus an Apps package and old Office 365 plans that include only cloud-based apps and services. There are also separate plans for educational institutions, US government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

The Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise plans are as follows:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic ($5 per user, per month)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard ($12.50 per user, per month)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium ($20 per user, per month)
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for business ($8.25 per user, per month)
  • Microsoft 365 E3 ($32 per user, per month)
  • Microsoft 365 E5 ($57 per user, per month)
  • Microsoft 365 F3 ($8 per user, per month)

The pricing options for Microsoft 365 may be complicated, but they offer a lot of flexibility. Microsoft 365 even lets you mix and match individual services to create a personalized plan for your RIA practice’s unique needs.

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: Features

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 tout a similar list of impressive features. In fact, both offer apps that have an equivalent in the other suite. For instance, there’s Google Docs and Microsoft Word for word processing, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams for video conferencing, and Google Keep and Microsoft OneNote for note-taking.

Some apps even have identical features. For example, the suites’ respective email clients, Gmail and Microsoft Outlook, have just about everything an administrator needs in terms of email security, including anti-malware protection, spam filtering, and group aliases.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two productivity suites isn’t in the services that they offer but in how these are implemented.

The most popular Microsoft 365 plans include access to the latest releases of the Office 365 desktop apps on Windows PCs and Macs as well as their web versions. On the other hand, Google Workspace apps are designed to work exclusively online and can only be accessed through a browser or mobile app.

The availability of desktop apps is a clincher for some RIA firms, as these programs don’t need internet connectivity to run.

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: Security

Both business productivity suites are designed to meet stringent data privacy and security standards. Their apps are updated regularly and allow administrators to customize security protocols to control user access and permissions, which keeps them secure.

What’s more, Google and Microsoft data centers are built with custom servers and special operating systems, which ensure the high performance and enhanced security of their respective solutions. They also employ a variety of strategies to keep their clients’ data and systems safe from malicious threats.

However, Microsoft has been in the industry for longer than Google, which means the former has had more time to perfect its security offerings and build a highly customizable environment of advanced tools. Microsoft 365 lets organizations implement their own security policies and measures, providing a degree of control that Google Workspace is still working to match.

For instance, Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) suite comes with Intune, a service that allows organizations to manage mobile devices used for work. With this tool, administrators can monitor suspicious activity, prevent unauthorized app downloads, and even remotely wipe company data from lost devices.

Essentially, Microsoft’s measures support the continuous protection of sensitive data, which helps RIAs remain compliant with industry regulations and data privacy laws.

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: The verdict

Ultimately, both office suites are excellent for managing productivity in your RIA firm. However, Microsoft 365’s comprehensive data governance and management features give it a definitive edge over Google Workspace. The familiarity of Microsoft 365 programs also offers a clear advantage in terms of ease of use and adoption, making it the perfect choice for RIAs already operating in a Microsoft environment.

If your RIA firm wants to fully leverage the benefits of Microsoft 365, our specialists at RIA WorkSpace can help. Contact us or get a free quote to get started.