Now that Microsoft has released updates to SharePoint 2019, you may be wondering which system will offer you the biggest bang for your buck: On-premise SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online. There are pros and cons to each, so the answer isn’t cut and dried. To find the right system for your business, you’ll have to take a closer look at all of the ways they differ.

What is SharePoint 2019?

SharePoint 2019 is an umbrella term for Microsoft’s latest edition of the web-based platform that helps organizations manage information. There are actually three versions of SharePoint: Online, Server, and a hybrid of the two.

When organizations want to compare the features of SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online, they’re usually looking for information about how the 2019 edition of SharePoint Server differs from SharePoint Online. This is a common question in industries that collect and organize large amounts of data, such as healthcare facilities and financial service providers. These organizations want to know which tool will help them manage sensitive data effectively while maintaining low overhead.

You may be asking this question now because the SharePoint Server edition changed in 2019. Some of the features that were once only available in SharePoint Online are now offered in the latest Server edition, prompting some organizations to make the switch from Online to Server. 

To make this decision, you first need to consider the differences between the on-premises version of SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online.

What is SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online?

SharePoint Server is installed directly on your existing infrastructure. It’s an on-premise data management tool that requires you to maintain your own servers. There are two editions of this service: Enterprise and Standard. The free edition, called Foundation, was discontinued in 2016 and isn’t supported by the latest SharePoint update. 

By comparison, SharePoint Online is an off-premise version of the service that offers many of the same functions and features as the Server edition but doesn’t require you to manage any servers of your own.  

In 2018, Microsoft updated the features of SharePoint Online, including improvements to communication sites, cloud searches, and a sleeker user interface (UI) for its dashboards and portals. Later that year, Microsoft also rolled out changes to SharePoint Server with its 2019 edition. For the first time, users could build and access communication sites with the on-premise service. Users also had access to more file and folder sharing options, cloud connectivity (including hybrid systems), and a modern UI. 

Although SharePoint Server 2019 and SharePoint Online now share some core functionalities, they’re still radically different tools. To make an apples-to-apples comparison, you should look at the differences between Enterprise SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online. The Enterprise version of SharePoint 2019 Server is more similar to SharePoint Online than the Standard version because the Enterprise version has more features and cloud search options.

SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online: The Key Differences

Both SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online have these features in common:

    • Template creation options;
    • Mobile and cross-browser support;
    • Permissions management;
    • Document sets and management options;
    • Online server access;
    • User authorizations and cloud security;
    • Design manager tools;
    • Content search portals and managed navigation; 
    • A simple user interface; and more.

    With SharePoint, operations become much more efficient overall, saving your organization time and money.

    The Cons of Using SharePoint for Healthcare 

    There are a lot of benefits of SharePoint for healthcare, but it does have a few limitations.

    One challenge is that SharePoint offers many different applications and features which can be difficult to navigate for first-time users. Without training, your staff may input data incorrectly or feel overwhelmed by the new system. As a result, your staff may not know where to find the latest patient information, leading to potential health risks and liabilities. Some staff members also find that the system is too time-consuming to use on a daily basis. These issues can be resolved with training and better planning.

    Another problem with SharePoint for healthcare is that it’s often difficult to know where to start. It has massive number of features and it isn’t always clear one is appropriate for your organization’s needs. This is why many healthcare facilities hire an IT consulting firm to help them seamlessly migrate to a SharePoint system.

    Security is another potential problem with SharePoint for healthcare. The more authorized users you have, the more security vulnerabilities exist within the system. This is especially true if you fail to identify these vulnerabilities or train your staff on security best practices. Security problems may even lead to HIPAA violations down the line.

    When you identify the specific features that your organization will use, train your staff on how to use them, and close common security loopholes, your new SharePoint system will run smoothly.

    Do You Need Something Besides SharePoint? 

    SharePoint is a great tool for many organizations in the healthcare industry, but it won’t transform your facilities and operations by itself. Many healthcare companies hire firms that specialize in data storage, user dashboards, and documentation. Working with a third-party firm is superior to using SharePoint alone because:

    • Data experts will assess every aspect of your data collection and storage process, ensuring you’re collecting high-quality data and keeping it secure. 
    • The firm will come up with a custom business strategy, including a new data analysis system that helps you identify areas where you can improve. 
    • Web platform designers will make custom dashboards for your staff and patients that are intuitive and require no additional training to use. 
    • You can generate detailed visuals from all of the data you collect to make more accurate business decisions. 
    • You’ll rest easy knowing that the firm is aware of all current HIPAA regulations and data security best practices. The firm will take all necessary steps to protect sensitive patient information.

    However, there are differences between an Enterprise license of SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online: 


    Enterprise SharePoint 2019

    SharePoint Online

    Distributed cache support



    Database support



    Host-named site collection



    Personal sites 



    A business intelligence center



    Custom site provisioning and definitions



    Works out of the box

    No (requires some installation)


    In general, SharePoint Server can do almost everything that SharePoint Online can do. The main drawback to using SharePoint Online is that administrative and publishing tasks are much more limited.

    It’s also important to consider prices.

    You can purchase SharePoint Online on its own or bundle it with another Microsoft tool like Office 365. If you buy a standalone license, the service costs between $5 per user per month and $20 per user per month, depending on if you’re buying the basic service or a more extensive package that includes more features.

    An Enterprise SharePoint Server license costs approximately $7,000 per server. However, that varies depending on your location and other installation factors. You’ll pay about $100 per user for this service. The cost of keeping the servers running (air conditioning and other infrastructure) is also higher overall.

    SharePoint Online is much cheaper than SharePoint Server. Some organizations will find the extra cost of SharePoint Server worthwhile

    Choosing Between SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online

    Both the Server and Online editions are robust systems that will help you share and organize your information effectively. If you want to customize the system, then the Server edition is the best option because it offers greater flexibility.

    The Server edition is also generally more secure than the Online edition. You have complete control over your data and can implement additional precautions like firewalls to prevent data breaches. However, SharePoint Online is also a very secure system, with the latest cloud security best practices to protect sensitive data.

    If you’re on a tight budget, SharePoint Online is the best choice. It’s far less expensive than either the Standard or Enterprise editions of SharePoint Server. It’s also a cost-effective option for small and large enterprises alike. Small businesses can run a lean, agile system at very little cost. Large enterprises won’t have to pay for dozens or even hundreds of individual user licenses for the SharePoint server. The more users you have, the less cost-effective SharePoint Server is overall.

    To help you make a final decision, ask an experienced IT services firm for advice on whether to choose on-premise SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint online. A team of data scientists and IT experts will explain the strengths and weaknesses of each system for your specific organization and assist you with making this transition without losing any important data.

    Alternatively, you can ask the firm whether it supports features that neither of these SharePoint editions have. For example, if you’re simply looking to organize your data more effectively, communicate and collaborate on projects with your peers, and locate your data from a user-friendly dashboard, then an experienced IT services firm can create a custom system that includes all of these features.

    A system like this is more customizable than SharePoint Online and may be more cost-effective than SharePoint Server. By exploring all of your options, you’ll find a system that makes data management easy.

    Contact Tek Leaders today to learn more about the pros and cons of on-premise SharePoint 2019 vs. SharePoint Online. We’ll offer you advice on how to create the most effective data management system for your company. If you want to hear more about the custom data management systems we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

    Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.