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Pros and Cons of Subscriptions as You Update Software

There’s something nice about getting a subscription for application software, such as Microsoft Office for business or home use. You get automatic updates, for one thing. On the other hand, relying more on the cloud requires attention to different details. The end of support for XP and Office 2003 is calling the question: Should you choose subscriptions and the cloud or multiple licenses?

Here are some factors to help you decide the best answer for you.

Just about all office and home computer systems that still use Windows XP and Office 2003 are likely to have individual licenses for the operating systems on each computer. Some users may have been able to get a license for multiple computers for Office. None is likely to use the cloud because that software was written well before server-based systems came into vogue.

With Microsoft ending its support for XP and Office 2003 in just two months, users need to switch both systems. Our recommendations continue to be moving to Windows 7 for your operating system, especially if you are a business user, and Office 365, the cloud-based version of Office.

For home users, Office 365 can be a good deal. For about $100 per year, you can install a full copy of Office 2013 on up to five computers – supposedly in one household.  With all files accessible from any computer via an Internet connection or Wi-Fi network (if it’s set up for sharing), it’s ideal for a family, especially for doing homework.

In an office, the business version is great for collaboration and for mobile and remote users. In fact, a business can offer it as a benefit, allowing an employee to have Office 365 on a home computer. If the employee and company part ways, all the employer has to do is deactivate that specific computer and activate another.

But sometimes, cloud-based is not the best way to go. Every computer under your license will have access to everyone’s email account. In my own family, I’m OK with that. If I had a business with a number of employees, I wouldn’t be crazy about it. If you want to give a friend one of your licenses, they also could have access to your email, and if you are the friend who gets to use a license, you could be shut off without warning and lose access to email and files.

If any of these drawbacks is a concern, you can buy licenses to install Office on each computer. That keeps everything separate, and when you replace computers, all need is the product key to reinstall the software and keep on running. If your business expands, you can simply add licenses to cover additional computers.

The key to succeeding with licenses, of course, is to make sure you retain all the paperwork.

We can guide you through the selection process to make sure you have the right product and the right options for your situation. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us with your questions or to set up an appointment to talk.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.