Sunny Li / 8.27.2023Home / Email Security

Zoho Workplace and Zoho Mail vs. Office 365 and Outlook—an in-depth comparison

This Zoho Workplace and Zoho Mail vs. Office 365 and Outlook comparison breaks down two of the most popular cloud solutions for your workflow.
While Microsoft offers one of the most robust online workspaces on the market, you should explore a few alternatives before deciding if it’s worth committing to. Zoho is among the most notable ones, as it has evolved quite a bit over the last decade and provides a comparable emailing platform for business communications.This Zoho Workplace and Zoho Mail vs. Office 365 and Outlook comparison outlines both options and explains key differences so that you can decide if either suits your workflow.
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Microsoft 365 vs. Zoho Workplace—similarities and differences

Zoho Workplace and Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) share a few general features. Both are predominantly cloud-based and require monthly or annual subscriptions. Each platform has a suite of apps that let you perform the most common business activities, most notably:
  • Emailing
  • Document editing and sharing
  • Scheduling
  • Video conferencing
Microsoft and Zoho’s solutions are also suitable for personal use, as you can opt for entry-level tiers that don’t include advanced features typically reserved for businesses and large teams.The above similarities don’t mean that Microsoft 365 and Zoho Workplace are equally suitable for all users. To help you decide which option is better for you, this comparison will focus on the following factors:
  1. Flexibility and ease of use
  2. Emailing experience
  3. Document editing suites
  4. Pricing
  5. Security

Flexibility and ease of use

When you first open Microsoft 365 and Zoho Workplace, you’ll notice that the latter has a more streamlined feel due to excellent integration between different tools. Microsoft 365 feels like a bundled collection of platforms, while Zoho gives off the impression of a centralized workspace. It’s reminiscent of collaboration platforms like Slack, except it has more extensive features of a full-fledged productivity suite.If convenience and fluidity are your priorities, Zoho Workplace might be a better option. This isn’t to say that Microsoft 365 is overly complex, but it does involve a steeper learning curve. Microsoft’s focus has always been on feature variety, so it’s a better option for advanced users.The only downside of Zoho Workplace in this regard is a lack of desktop apps—it doesn’t have Windows and Mac versions, so you can only use it as a web app or download the mobile app. Microsoft 365 offers much better cross-platform support, adding more flexibility to your workflow.

Emailing experience

Microsoft 365 offers Outlook as the native email client, while Zoho Workplace comes with Zoho Mail. Both platforms are available independently, in which case you can use them for free. The main difference is that you can upgrade Zoho Mail as a standalone platform, while Outlook’s paid version is only a part of Microsoft 365 plans.When it comes to the user interface, Outlook and Zoho mail are practically identical. They feature a similar design with connected apps on the far left, email categories next to them, mail management features above the inbox, and split-square email viewing.
Source: Zoho MailOverall, the design of both apps feels quite cluttered, with Zoho Mail having a slightly cleaner look due to fewer accent colors. There are far cleaner and more eye-pleasing options out there, but this isn’t a major issue unless you prioritize aesthetics.Zoho Mail and Outlook are equipped with all the necessary email management features you’d expect from your email provider, such as:
  • Advanced email search
  • The comprehensive organization through folders and labels
  • Spam detection
A notable advantage of Zoho’s solution is the attachment limit, up to 1 GB, compared to Outlook’s 150 MB with a similarly priced plan. Another standout feature is the attachment viewer, which lets you preview the attachment without having to download it.

Document editing apps

Most people are familiar with Microsoft’s Office suite, which encompasses three powerhouse editing apps—Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Zoho’s equivalents to these three platforms are:
  1. Writer (word processor)
  2. Sheet (spreadsheet editor)
  3. Show (presentation maker)
Even though Microsoft’s solutions are far more widely adopted, Zoho’s tools are quite impressive and offer some innovative features that can speed up document editing.For example, Zoho Writer features Zia, an AI writing assistant that can perform several useful functions, most notably:
  • Grammar checks and suggestions
  • Readability assessment
  • Writing quality monitoring
With Microsoft Word, you’d need third-party tools like Grammarly to unlock such functionalities, so having them built into the document editor is quite an advantage.The main downside of Zoho’s editing apps is that they work in a closed environment. While you can download a Word or Excel doc and send it via email to anyone, there’s no such option with Zoho’s apps. You can only share documents through links, and the recipient must have a Zoho account to edit or comment on them.With this in mind, internal collaboration might be smoother with Zoho Workplace, but file sharing outside your workspace is more challenging.


Zoho Workplace has a straightforward pricing structure—there are three plans to choose from, as shown in the following table:
PlanCost (with annual billing)
Mail Only$1/user per month
Standard$3/user per month
Professional$6/user per month
It’s more affordable than the Microsoft 365 Business plans, considering that Microsoft’s lowest-priced tier costs the same as Zoho’s most expensive option. You can also choose from three plans depending on the features you need:
PlanCost (with annual billing)
Business Basic$6/user per month
Business Standard$12.50/user per month
Business Premium$22/user per month
If you don’t need the entire Microsoft 365 suite, you can opt for Microsoft 365 Apps for business, starting at $8.25/user per month with annual billing. You’d get desktop versions of the Office suite and Outlook, which are otherwise available with the Business Standard or higher.Microsoft 365 offers various pricing categories beyond Business, including:
  • Personal
  • Enterprise
  • Education
  • Government
This makes the pricing structure more complicated but provides more flexibility for businesses and organizations of different types.If you compare Zoho’s Business Professional to Microsoft’s Business Basic (due to the same price), you’ll notice that the latter is more generous. You get 50 GB of dedicated email storage alongside 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage. Zoho’s plan does offer more email space (100 GB), but you only get 100 GB for WorkDrive, which may not be enough in the long run.


A common denominator of Zoho Workplace and Microsoft 365 is basic security, which may not be sufficient for privacy-conscious users. This is especially the case with both suites’ email solutions, considering they use Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption protocol by default.TLS encryption ciphers your emails while traveling to the recipient, which is known as encryption in transit. The AES-256 algorithm is used for encryption at rest, which sounds secure until you realize that encryption keys are stored and managed by the provider.This means they can decrypt your emails and read their contents, so you don’t get much privacy and confidentiality. Besides, if a hacker penetrates the servers and steals the keys, your information might fall into the wrong hands. The hackers can do this through numerous types of cyberattacks, which are getting increasingly elaborate and prevalent.That is why you should consider a privacy-oriented email provider and a productivity suite beyond Zoho Workplace and Microsoft 365.
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How privacy-first workspaces keep your data safe

Big Tech platforms typically fail to include the gold-standard encryption type in their solutions—end-to-end encryption (E2EE). Unlike TLS and AES, E2EE protocols give users full control over their data using encryption keys created and stored on their devices, not the provider’s servers.When you send an end-to-end encrypted email, it’s ciphered before leaving your device, and only the recipient holding the decryption key can read it. File encryption works similarly, ensuring unauthorized parties can’t access sensitive information.Neither Zoho Workplace nor Microsoft 365 offers E2EE by default—you can only encrypt emails using S/MIME, which you must first configure after buying a certificate. Considering you’d already paid for the subscription, you’d face unnecessary costs and complications.If you want complete privacy from the moment you sign up for a service, a solution like Skiff exceeds typical Big Tech platforms.

Skiff—a privacy-first productivity suite for everyone

Skiff is a secure workplace that builds end-to-end encryption into all of its four products:
  1. Mail
  2. Pages
  3. Drive
  4. Calendar
As soon as you sign up for Skiff Mail, you can rest assured knowing that your correspondence is inaccessible to everyone but the recipient. Two separate keys protect each email:
  1. A public encryption key the sender shares with the recipient
  2. A private decryption key the recipient stores on their device
Source: SkiffThe keys are created on your device and aren’t stored on Skiff’s servers, so not even the platform’s team can decrypt your messages. Even in the unlikely case that someone intercepts your correspondence, the attacker would only see the scrambled text—they can’t access the keys unless they corrupt your device.Skiff combines E2EE with three additional security layers to fortify your account and data:
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA)—Lets you secure your account beyond login credentials through the Authenticator App
  • Zero-knowledge login—Enables confidential signup without the need for personal information, like your name or phone number
  • Secure Remote Password—Encrypts critical account data to minimize the risk of a breach
Skiff is open source, so the codebase is publicly available. You can find it on Skiff’s GitHub or read the whitepaper for additional information on the platform’s security measures.

Create, share, and collaborate in a safe environment

Besides advanced security, each platform in Skiff’s suite offers numerous features that let you create a streamlined workflow:
  • Mail:
    • Lightning-fast email and text search
    • Crypto wallet integrations (MetaMask, Coinbase, Keplr, and more)
    • Custom domains, signatures, and aliases
    • Folders, labels, and filters
  • Pages:
    • Version history
    • Invite-based collaboration in real time
    • Rich text editor
  • Drive:
    • Up to 1 TB of end-to-end encrypted storage
    • E2EE link sharing
    • Optional InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) integration
  • Calendar:
    • Auto-syncing with Skiff Mail
    • Shared calendars
    • Built-in video conferencing
Thanks to the modern, beautifully-designed user interface, the above features are structured to let you perform your daily tasks effortlessly. The minimalistic design doesn’t contain any obstructive elements that would cause distractions.Skiff offers robust cross-platform support—you can use it on browsers, iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows devices. Your data stays safe whether you’re working from the office or remotely.

Pricing plans tailored to your needs

All of Skiff’s security measures and the features mentioned above are available at no cost. A free account gets you:
  • 10 GB of E2EE storage
  • Four aliases and one custom domain
  • 24-hour file version history
  • Up to four collaborators per workspace
As your needs evolve, you can choose from three affordable paid tiers to unlock more storage and additional functionalities, such as:
  • Auto-reply
  • Short aliases
  • Unlimited version history and collaborators
  • Priority support
Source: Skiff

Get started with Skiff’s secure products

If you want to protect your emails, files, and confidential data from unauthorized access, you can start using Skiff in three quick steps:
  1. Visit the signup page
  2. Choose your login credentials
  3. Explore Skiff’s end-to-end encrypted productivity suite
In case you’ve already committed to a new provider, you don’t need to start over to enjoy more security. Skiff’s one-click migration can help you transfer all emails and files quickly and effortlessly. Once you migrate, Skiff encrypts all your data immediately and never stores unsecured copies.Keep in mind that Skiff—like all other comparable platforms—can’t keep your information safe if your device is completely compromised by malware. Always follow proper cybersecurity practices and ensure the safety of all devices containing confidential data.

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