Office 365 ProPlus vs. Office 2019

What’s The Best Fit For Your Future Workplace?

Office 365 ProPlus vs. Office 2019: The Best Fit For Your Future Workplace

Enabling the workplace in the digital era can bring a lot of tough choices. The tools you choose can either empower your employees or hinder them. The software purchasing decisions made by your organization can set the tone for a more connected and efficient workplace - or it can stand in the way, threatening progress and innovation. With so many solutions and choices, it is hard to know if you are selecting the correct tool that will lead to greater productivity and collaboration.

With the introduction of Office 2019, there are now even more options to enable your team to do their best work. Companies that upgrade from Office 2016, will find that this new office suite represents additional capabilities that could impact the daily lives of every employee.

However, Office 2019 may not be the best fit for everyone. For companies who’ve already made the transition to Office 365 ProPlus, the choice isn’t clear-cut. On the surface, the two products might look and feel similar, with some obvious feature differences. Both give access to your favorite Microsoft apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But differences in the way Office 2019 and Office 365 ProPlus products are packaged, delivered, secured, and licensed may not work for every organization.

Subscription Service vs. One-Time Purchase

Office 2019 is a standalone version of Microsoft’s most popular applications. It is a one-time purchase. Once installed, the applications will forever be available on that device. Besides basic security and usability updates, the capabilities of Office 2019 will remain static throughout its lifecycle. This means that if an organization would like to stay on the cutting edge of Office technology, they will have to purchase the newest standalone version of office. Otherwise, they must continue using their old version as is.

Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription service, which eliminates the need to repurchase the software. Users will have immediate access to new features and tools as they’re developed and delivered by Microsoft. And, because it’s a cloud-based service, users may log on from anywhere, collaborate in real-time, and enjoy access to company documents whenever they need them.

However, the cloud-based nature of this service is exactly what many late adopters to the cloud fear. They believe that moving their data and their work processes to the cloud will leave them vulnerable. However, Microsoft has been thorough in addressing those concerns.

This brings us to the next main difference between Office 2019 and Office 365 ProPlus: Security.


While traditional workplaces might feel more secure with a locally-installed version of Office such as Office 2016 and now Office 2019, it’s becoming increasingly clear that cloud computing is the way of the future.

With Office 2019, organizations will be missing out on intelligent security features that are available with cloud-based Office 365 ProPlus. Local installations don’t have access to enterprise-grade user and admin controls, either, which serve to further secure the environment. For organizations running older versions of Outlook Client 2013, updates to more recent versions of Office 365 ProPlus are especially important. Older versions are still running Basic Authentication – a program Microsoft announced the retirement of for Exchange Online, for EAS, EWS, IMAP and POP connections, in favor of modern authentication protocols. Although Basic Authentication simplified set up and use, it made user credentials more available to cyber-criminals with modern tools. It is therefore recommended customers move to the modern releases by October 31st 2020.

There is a whole host of security features that come with cloud-based Office 365 ProPlus that deserve a company’s consideration when deciding whether to transition to the cloud. With security as one of the top concerns facing organizations who find themselves at this crossroads, the Office 365 ProPlus enhanced security features might be the tipping point that finally leads them to embrace change. They are:

  • Five layers of security
  • Proactive monitoring
  • Enterprise-level management of applications
  • Advanced Threat Protection*
  • Operational best practices
  • Physical security features
  • Security at the logical and data layers
  • Threat intelligence**
  • Customer Lockbox**
  • Advanced Security Management**
  • Advanced eDiscovery**

*This is available when you purchase the Office 365 ProPlus version.

**Comes with Microsoft Office 365 E5 version, but can be added to version E3

Devices vs. Users

Like its predecessors, Office 2019 is available as a one-time purchase that perpetually licenses one device. Device licensing can be a good option for environments where there are several users per device. In other words, if you have a traditional workplace with workstations that serve multiple users at different times of the day (or over time), having Office 2019 installed on that single device may make sense. That’s even more the case if their tasks don’t involve any form of collaboration, since Office 2019 doesn’t offer collaboration features such as being able to access company data from anywhere.

Office 365 ProPlus, on the other hand, runs on a user license agreement that enables every subscribed user to operate the Office apps on five concurrent installs with Shared Computer Activation for local or remote use. This Shared Computer Activation provision applies to customers licensed for Office 365 Business as a component of Microsoft 365 Business. It is important to note that each device the user has installed the software on must connect to the Internet at least once every 30 days, or the functionality of the software may be affected. To leverage online services, each user assigned a User SL must have a work or school account to access the software provided with the subscription.

Beyond the Shared Computer Activation program, users within the licensing agreement can install and use the software on a shared device, a network server, on Microsoft Azure, or with a qualified multi-tenant hosting partner (find a list of qualified partners here.) Qualified users with an assigned User SL can also use Internet-connected online services provided as part of ProPlus. If permitted by their organization, users may elect to use connected services subject to terms of use other than their prescribed Online Service Terms (OST) where Microsoft is a data controller as identified in the product documentation.

In today’s globally connected and mobile world, it’s more than likely that company employees are finding it useful to use multiple devices in order to get their work done. With 70 percent of the global workforce working remotely at least once a week, cloud-based Office 365 ProPlus offerings enable the work style that serves remote employee needs.

The Bottom Line: It’s About Culture and Innovation

The big difference between Office 2019 and Office 365 ProPlus is whether your company has yet to make the transition to a cloud environment, thus enabling a modern work environment.

Office 2019 offers an option for organizations who aren’t quite ready to make that move, with all the workflow and security considerations that kind of change can bring about. It’s designed to help large, commercial enterprises continue enjoying Microsoft’s suite of products while they make plans to ease into a cloud-based environment. Microsoft officials even admit that the apps in 2019 are “frozen in time” while the Office 365 ProPlus apps will keep getting better over time.

Increasingly, flexibility and collaboration are today’s workplace differentiators. Your employees’ ability to participate in a culture that supports innovation – the chance to work together, share ideas, work from anywhere, and communicate or collaborate in real-time – is what fuels innovation. And it’s innovation that sets today’s brands apart, giving them the ability to compete in a digitally transformed world.

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Dan Ortman, Author SoftwareONE Blog

Dan Ortman

Microsoft Advisory Services Practice Lead

Publisher Advisory | Microsoft

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