Published: November 15th, 2016

Microsoft’s Office 365 is now deployed in just over a third of organizations worldwide, with Google’s G-Suite following behind at a quarter of organizations. Together, the two tech giants equate for 59 per cent of organizations.

In its third annual cloud adoption report, Bitglass, a cloud access security broker, scanned 120,000 companies across the globe to identify the primary cloud productivity suite used, and whether any key security technologies are in place. The focus of the survey was only on SaaS applications, and not infrastructure-as-a-service, taking Amazon’s growing cloud infrastructure out of the equation.

Microsoft versus Google

Microsoft has leaped over Google since 2014 when G-Suite was the most adopted cloud platform and many Microsoft customers waited on migrating to the cloud. Now that Office 365 is being pushed heavily by Microsoft, and more and more of its customers are making the change, Google has been unable to hold off the immense Microsoft customer base.

“For a lot of organizations that already have some Microsoft software installed on-premises, moving to Office 365 and the Microsoft Cloud is sort of a natural transition,” said Salim Hafid, product marketing manager at Bitglass, to CDN.

“Microsoft creates a very simple migration path for a lot of those customers, which makes it very easy for folks who are looking to preserve the functionality they had in their premise-based applications on the cloud.”

The customer base advantage over Google is even more apparent in the case of large businesses where Office 365 has been adopted by almost double the organizations than G-Suite in businesses of at least 1,000 employees. Larger organizations know that employees are familiar with office products like Word and PowerPoint, so instead of scrapping all of those applications and moving completely to Google Docs, those businesses may opt to transition into Office 365.

Even with this advantage, G-Suite has still be adopted by a quarter of organizations around the world.

“G-Suite is definitely making in-roads, there is no doubt about that, especially considering they had nothing five to ten years ago and now a quarter of businesses are using their cloud support,” said Hafid. “It is a real testament to Google’s power and G-Suite’s ease of use, as well as their focus of moving into this market in a significant way.”

Cloud security adoption

Despite the higher cloud adoption rates, and considering the worry about security in the cloud, organizations have still been slow on the draw when it comes to adopting solutions. For instance, the cloud adoption survey found that 26 per cent of Office 365 users and only six per cent of G-Suite users are using single sign-on (SSO) security.

The size of the organization may play a role here as well, with larger organizations placing security as a higher concern. Since larger organizations are more likely to adopt Office 365, in this context, it would follow that there are more large organizations with Office 365 using security solutions.

“If you’re a healthcare organization with 100,000 employees, you’re more likely to deploy Office 365, and security would be a much higher priority compared to a small business that may not have those same concerns,” said Hafid.

SSO is seen as the most basic cloud security function, with one in ten organizations now using some sort of SSO solution for cloud applications.