What businesses really need to know about moving to Microsoft Office 365.
Many companies have realised they need the productivity and business agility benefits and cost savings that come when moving to the cloud. Part of my job as a small business IT support specialist is to advise my clients on their IT strategies and I sometimes recommend that they move some or all of their IT functionality to Microsoft Office 365 for Business as a way to improve their efficiency and optimise cost. But with a lot of technical, and often contradictory, information found on the Internet, not many really understand exactly what that means or what it entails.
Businesses considering Microsoft Office 365 often find it difficult to separate fact from fiction. Some businesses, for example, believe that Office 365 is simply a version of Office accessed by a browser. This is incorrect and just one of the many misconceptions about Office 365 I want to correct, which is why I created this guide to help you bust the myths surrounding Office 365 for Business.
Are you ready to learn which of the top eight Office 365 for business cloud myths you may have thought were true—but aren’t?
Myth 1: Office 365 for Business can only be used online.
FACT: Office 365 is a suite of cloud-based productivity services, which can include:
- Office 365 for Business optionally includes Office desktop client you already know and use, with the added benefit of being licensed, deployed, and updated as a service. These applications, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, are installed on your device, so they’re available even when you are offline.
- Online version of Exchange email, calendaring, contacts and tasks can be synced to almost any modern device, including your desktop, tablet and smartphone – allowing you to access them even when not connected to the internet.
- OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, used for individual user and enterprise file storage and sharing, can be synced to your your desktop and many mobile devices.
FACT: When you move to the cloud, you are provided with a cloud-based administrative console the allows you to carry out all administrative functions that you require, and it is totally in your hands. Specialist engineers at Microsoft’s data centres assume responsibility for maintaining hardware and upgrading software, significantly reducing headaches and time spent on these tasks by your internal staff. Microsoft Office 365 has a 99.9 percent financially backed uptime guarantee.
Now, rather than being a repair service, you and your team can focus on the business. You no longer need to spend your capital budget on expensive servers for email storage and workloads. Instead, you can be a lot more strategic and agile in the way that you support business managers
FACT: “Many companies are routinely hacked and don’t know it”, says Mark Anderson, a tech visionary and founder of the INVNT/IP Global Consortium, a group of governments and security experts solving the growing cybertheft problem. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that your on-premises systems aren’t inherently more secure than they’d be in the cloud”
Security is a full-time job that requires a team of experts each specialising in a specific field. And these experts are some of the highest paid technologist out there, and with good reason. When it comes to security, Microsoft is able to high the best and brightest on the scale most companies could never afford.
Microsoft also hires some of the industry’s leading regulatory compliance experts who are responsible keep up to date with and implementing the latest regulations and rules.
To learn more about Office 365 security and compliance, visit Office 365 Trust Centre
FACT: It is not necessary to move your entire enterprise to the cloud at once. Usually you will start with moving a single application, like email, and growing from there.
This is known as hybrid cloud and creates a consistent platform that spans your on-premises infrastructure and the cloud, simplifying IT and delivering apps and data to users on virtually any device, anywhere. It gives you control to move as much as you need to cloud when you need it, and to scale up or down as needed while mimimising investment in additional on-site technologies.
Using Office 365 you can move specific application such as file sync and share (OneDrive for Business) or email (Exchange) first, and then work out the right long-term plan for larger and more difficult projects.
FACT: Moving complexed applications vast volumes of data to the cloud can seem daunting and it may seem that adopting cloud technologies is too big a challenge for your business. It’s not easy, but it probably isn’t has difficult or disruptive as you might think either – and there are a lot of resources out there that you can call on for help
Microsoft provides a variety of tools to help and the best place to start is with their video guide to getting started with Office 365. You can also have a chat to your local IT support provider, if they are a Microsoft Cloud partner then you can be assured that they have the skills to help you. They also have access to the dedicated Microsoft partner support advisors.
Myth 6: Corporate spies, cyberthieves, and governments will have access to my data if it is in the cloud.
FACT: This is a top fear many businesses have about the cloud. But it’s unfounded. Your IT team manages access, sets up rights and restrictions, and provides smartphone access and options. Your
company remains the sole owner: You retain the rights, title, and interest in the data stored in Office 365.
Microsoft operates under several key principles when it comes to safeguarding your data:
- They do not mine your data for advertising or for any purpose other than providing you services that you have paid for.
- If you ever choose to leave the service, you take your data with you. Privacy controls allow you to configure who in your organization has access and what they can access.
- Extensive auditing and supervision prevent admins from unauthorized access to your data.
Strict controls and design elements prevent mingling of your data with that of other organizationsand data centre staff does not have access to your data.
Microsoft is the first major cloud provider to adopt the world’s first international standard for cloud privacy. The standard establishes a uniform, international approach to protecting privacy for personal data stored in the cloud. It reinforces that:
- You are in control of your data.
- You know what’s happening with your data.
- They provide strong security protection for your data.
- Your data won’t be used for advertising.
- Microsoft encourages government inquiry to be made directly to you unless legally prohibited and will challenge attempts to prohibit disclosure in court.
FACT: Skype that you use at home is great for a small number of users and is free to use, unless you want to buy credit to make calls to landlines and mobiles. Skype for Business lets you add up to 250 people to online meetings, gives you enterprise-grade security, allows you to manage employee accounts, and is integrated into your Office apps. Skype for Business integrates with Office 365, boosting productivity by letting people connect on their terms. Employees can make and receive calls, give presentations, and attend meetings from one application—from anywhere—as long as they have an Internet connection. For example, employees can:
- Instantly see when someone is busy or available.
- Start an instant messaging session by double-clicking a contact name.
- Share a desktop during a meeting.
- Invite outside partners to join a meeting via a full-feature web conferencing experience.
- Integrate video through a webcam for a call or a conference.
With Skype for Business, you don’t need to have a dedicated administrator to run servers or invest in additional infrastructure. We take care of all of it for you. As a part of Office 365, Skype for Business offers users new features, upgrades, and patches as soon as they are ready. Skype for Business and the
consumer version of Skype can also be federated so that communication is possible between platforms.
FACT: By moving your business email to the cloud, you can rest easy knowing that the experts who created the software are taking care of the tricky maintenance, while your team keeps control of your company’s capabilities and of how your employees use features. You can spend more time on the core operations that build business value rather than keeping up with persistent hardware maintenance.
Software updates and fixes are delivered automatically as soon as they are released, and Exchange Online is always first in line for updates. Although the management and updates are fully automated, you are still in control when it needs to be with the Exchange Admin Center.
Still not sure?
If you’re still not sure whether Office 365 is the right product for your business then why not give it a freee 30-day trial. We can arrange trial licenses for up to 25 user accounts for a number of different Office 365 packages. And If you have decided that Office 365 is the right product for you but just need a little help with the migration phase, then we can help you with that too.