SharePoint hosting is often seen as an alternative to running it within your own organization.

It seems like it would give you to the flexibility to run SharePoint with customizations unavailable in SharePoint Online, coupled with the cost savings achieved by cloud computing and outsourcing the high people costs associated with an on-premise deployment.

What you need to know

SharePoint hosting comes with a series of pitfalls you need to be aware of. Many of those who are hosting SharePoint will use the very basic version of SharePoint, known as SharePoint Foundation, which lacks enterprise features such as clustered databases and additional resiliency. It also greatly limits your migration strategies if want to scale your infrastructure up as your company grows. SharePoint Foundation will not naturally scale like a true cloud service.

SharePoint was never built for multi-tenancy. SharePoint 2010 introduced some features to help and 2013 has introduced further improvements, but there is no denying SharePoint’s legacy is from single-tenant, on-premise deployment. As such, those who host SharePoint often struggle to smooth performance across their SharePoint farms. Many companies who sell SharePoint hosting allow for customization, giving flexibility to their customers, but this greatly increases the risk that another of your hoster’s clients will affect the performance of your SharePoint environment.

Looking forward, cloud services such as Huddle are constantly innovating. Huddle releases a new version of the service every four weeks to deliver new features and functionality, reacting to market conditions and customer feedback. With Microsoft’s release cycles running about every three years, with the additional time it takes the SharePoint migration hosting partners to acclimatize themselves to the new platform and ready their migration strategies, it can be four or five years before you are delivered any sort of innovation. In today’s fast moving economy, and with booming customer expectations on technology, this is unacceptable for the vast majority of businesses.

License to drive up your cost

Another painful legacy of working with SharePoint is Microsoft licensing. Microsoft licenses SharePoint hosting differently to its own cloud offerings. Microsoft has a scheme called SPLA (Service Provider Licensing Agreement), which allows SharePoint hosting companies the ability to resell Microsoft software on a monthly basis. This seems simple, but the catches are subtle and complex. For example, if you were to pay for a hosted SharePoint Foundation instance, you would need to purchase SPLA licenses for both Windows Server and SQL Server. Many SharePoint hosting companies will hide these costs behind a per-user pricing, but don’t forget you are not only paying for a free piece of software, you are double paying for licenses you probably already own!

A worthy SharePoint alternative

SharePoint hosting can look like a pleasant middle ground between expensive on-premise deployments and an inflexibleSharePoint cloud solution. In reality, you can be pulling in some of the worst facets from both worlds—complicated growth and migration strategies, inconsistent performance, a complete lack of innovation, and an overly complex and treacherous licensing model.

Alternatively, Huddle provides a simple and effective solution to SharePoint. It’s simple to deploy and manage with industry leading performance and stability. Plus, they deliver monthly releases with the latest innovations and customer feedback incorporated—all priced in all-inclusive per-user/per-month editions. Huddle adds in government-level security, an adoption 

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