Which SharePoint Deployment is Right for Your Business?

The following is based on an excerpt from our whitepaper Proven Practices for Upgrading or Migrating to Microsoft SharePoint 2016. Click here and sign up for our SharePoint 2016 Readiness Guide to gain full access.

The evolution of SharePoint from its inception in 2001 until now is staggering. What started out as a simple collaboration tool has bloomed into a multifaceted service with several different options and tools available to customize the experience to your organization’s needs.

However, SharePoint itself is just one piece of the puzzle. The other is deciding how your organization deploys it. Here’s a rundown of the most common deployment options and a few tips to help you decide which avenue might be best for your company.

SharePoint 2016

This is the latest on-prem version of SharePoint (although SharePoint 2019 is expected later this year, check out our post predicting what features it will boast). Here, SharePoint and its associated hardware—servers, network, and storage—is kept within your organization’s walls, and the platform itself is managed by your organization’s operations team.

When to Select:

  • Organizational policy (e.g. security, data doesn’t permit use of cloud services).
  • You have the budget, staff, data center, hardware, and software required to maintain an environment on premises.
  • You don’t require access to SharePoint beyond your organization’s walls (e.g. mobile workforce or access for customers and business partners).
  • You have customizations not supported in the cloud.

When Not to Select:

  • Data center capacity not available.
  • You are not equipped with a data center at all.
  • You have no available budget for servers, network, storage, and staffing.
  • You require access to SharePoint beyond your organization’s walls.

SharePoint Online and Office 365

Office 365 is a rich collection of Office modern workplace applications including SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Word Online, PowerPoint Online, Excel Online, Delve, OneNote, and Sway.


You can read more about a couple of Office 365’s most dynamic applications here:


Microsoft owns and manages this platform as Software-as-a-Service, including the data centers, storage, servers, network and management tools. In this instance, your organization only administers licensing, access and manages data.

When to Select:

  • You don’t have available productivity tools or are using mixed toolsets and want to standardize.
  • You don’t want to manage software distribution and updates.
  • Standardized on thin client model to end user computing.

When Not to Select:

  • Your policy doesn’t permit use of cloud services.
  • You don’t require access to SharePoint beyond your organization’s walls.
  • You have customizations not supported in the cloud.

sharepoint

SharePoint Hybrid

As the name suggests, the hybrid model is typically a combination of the first three options. This is when your organization has SharePoint 2016 installed on-premises as well as Office 365 setup. The two environments are connected through a trust, sync service, and proxy so accounts can be managed and search results are integrated across both of them.

When to Select:

  • Your policy permits the use of cloud services.
  • You have compliance requirements to keep SharePoint on-prem but must expand offering.
  • You require access to SharePoint beyond your organization’s walls.
  • You have customizations not required to run in the cloud.

Need to know when to use SharePoint vs other collaboration tools? Check out our blog posts:


Settling on the right SharePoint deployment will take some time as you evaluate every corner of your business. Migration can be a massive undertaking if you don’t have the right tools at your disposal. At AvePoint, our goal is to make that process as seamless as possible.

For more on migration to SharePoint 2016, be sure to check out our free webinar and blog posts on the subject.

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