Church IT – Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace

Chris Miller, President of Miller Management, is the host of this week’s episode. He is joined by his colleague, Nathan Maxwell, Owner of Communication Concepts, Inc. (CCI).

Church IT- part five

Today’s topics will discuss Microsoft’s Office 365 Suite vs. the Google Suite. We would encourage you to start at the beginning of the series here, or learn about security in this episode, or IT planning and budgeting for software & hardware, or last week’s episode where they discussed operating systems, BYOD, and what to do with old tech.

Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace

Today’s controversial topic is G-suite (Gmail with Google docs, Google Sheets, etc.) vs. Office 365 (Outlook email with Word, Excel, etc.) Currently, Office 365 has the market share ahead of G-suite, says our guest. Microsoft has the momentum and strength at the time of this recording, but neither are better than the other. Like we mentioned in last week’s episode, there could be a hybrid found in your organization between your office people (usually Office 365 fans) and the rest of your creative team (often pro Gsuite).

Microsoft does have a price reduction for non-profits. If you are not currently utilizing this discount, it might be something to look into, because they can change your price going forward, it doesn’t have to happen when you first sign up.

Cloud Storage

We are going to take a minute and talk about everyone’s favorite again, multi-factor authorization. MFA is almost required for these cloud-based storage. Because of the amount of personal data your are storing, and the potential access you could accidentally be giving when information is shared on the cloud and not a server. Our IT expert strongly encourages added that extra layer of protection in.

A note on Microsoft Apps

Calendly and Slack is two examples of other products you might be paying for, that a Microsoft app could do for you. (Hello, Microsoft Teams or Microsoft Bookings.) this is another great example of auditing what your organization is currently using and looking at how to best consolidate to be the best stewards of your finances.

Phone Systems

Old Phone Systems are getting pulled out right and left at most organizations, our guest is noticing. Most people are going to a cloud-based OpX system. This will prevent you from having to upgrade software and hardware every 10 years. And this doesn’t take into account the services needed that you have to call in the phone guy to fix. Or when you need a special skilled person to wire in the new phone. With the cloud based service, you order a new phone online whenever you need it, and you can copy the settings over from a previous phone and they are almost plug and play. You don’t have to worry about the voicemail recording drive failing, you can get online and upload a new file, lickity split.

Security Cameras

First with security systems/cameras, you need to find a balance. You want to make sure you aren’t putting the cameras where you shouldn’t (and you are putting them where you should) to keep children safe. For one example.

These do need to be MFA as well. Sorry, not sorry. The information of the people that are coming and going. (i.e. Does your church provide counseling services?) should be kept confidential.

Also, you need to figure out how long to keep the data. Some locations may warrant 24/7 surveillance, while others doesn’t necessitate all the time, maybe just on Sunday mornings. Our advice is to document your policy – this is how long we keep our security footage, and it is a first in, first out system. If you are unsure of how long to keep the data (two weeks vs. eight weeks) model the policy of surrounding institutions. What do other churches, schools, etc. do in your community? Also, your insurance company may be able to provide some advice for how long they suggest to keep this sensitive data.

Coming Up

We hope you’ve learned a little along this month long journey of IT support. Join us next week as start a brand new series. MM clients may even recognize some of our guests.

Join the conversation, see behind the scenes, and learn more on our Instagram and Twitter.

Special thanks to our guest, Nathan Maxwell, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this final episode in our Church IT series.