When I started working in the IT business, CD Rom drives had only just come out on computers and since then software’s been available in CD format for years; that is until Tim Berners-Lee came up with a little invention called the “internet”. With access speeds now reaching 30Mpbs on average, the internet has virtually wiped out software being sold on CD’s.

A lot of new laptops don’t come with a CD drive as most software is downloadable from the web and for a while now there’s been another shift in the way some companies are offering their software and one that all others in my view will follow in time. Adobe, CRM Systems and Microsoft to name just a few are supplying their software on a buy or rent basis. So which is best for your business?

Renting does have advantages; for one you don’t have a large sum to pay out at the beginning. So with Office 365 for instance, you sign up for a new account and pay a fixed monthly subscription. You can also install the Office suite on up to 5 computers with each mailbox registered. The other plus point is that you get access to the latest version of Microsoft Office as and when it’s released.

Buy or Rent

After around 18 months, renting will cost more than purchasing the software outright but another benefit of renting is that you can increase or decrease your subscription license as and when a member of staff joins or leaves your business.

The only real downside of renting is that if you do decide to cancel your subscription, the program will stop working and you’d need to purchase the full package if you still needed access to the software.

If you go for the option to buy, there’s a one off payment and that’s it, but you can only install it on the one computer, so you’d need to fork out another lump sum to have it on another system or have access to the latest version of the software.

The decision is really down to the one you’re most comfortable with and is best suited to your business.

Click here to see the Office 365 Business plans and pricing list.