Office 365: What is it and is it for you?

More businesses are making the move from being pen and paper focused to a paperless system. They are doing so with cloud sharing systems which allows for easier and more streamlined business implantations.

One of the most popular and fast-growing cloud-based tools available is Microsoft’s Office 365 suite. For those over the age of 20, you will remember that for many years Office could be bought in disc format, installed on a home computer or laptop and run in isolation. Each suite would allow a set number of users within a license. But with 365, all that has changed.

According to Microsoft, 365 is a paid subscription plan that allows more flexible access to Microsoft’s Office applications like Word, Publisher, Excel and Outlook. This is all through a cloud system. Which means that work can be done from anywhere there is an internet connection.

Office 365 It is not just for personal use but for business as well. The business plans offer the same access to office applications but also includes services essential to business implementation like Skype Web conferencing and Exchange Online which is email specific to business use.  Internet access is a requirement in order to use Office 365 because it is a cloud sharing system, however the business plans include a desktop version of Office. The desktop version allows users access to all of the Office application while offline, then when connected to the internet all work is automatically synced. Updates of the application are also done automatically once connected to the internet so all tools and applications are always at their best. This is music to the ears of people who used to have to spend a fortune on purchasing the latest software version and then going through the complicated process of uninstalling old packages in order to upload the new.

Everyone knows the server room at their work place, usually a room that hidden somewhere with lots of cords and plugs and running modem fans. Those rooms are the control station one essentially keeping businesses running on a technical front. The servers are where all the essential data is kept.

A key selling point in moving to Microsoft 365 is that your data is kept secure without the need for such vast infrastructure and hardware. Data is also stored securely off-site, which is considered to be a plus for business continuity.

Office 365 ensures that your data is kept secured by housing it on Microsoft’s servers. Microsoft is meticulous when it comes to security so much so that they do not disclose the location of the data security locations. The hard number in regards to the amount of locations isn’t even known, but it something between 10 and 100 sites across the globe. Most businesses don’t go completely from on premise systems to cloud overnight and many remain in what is called a hybrid state which is a mixture of on premise servers and the cloud.

When thinking about transitioning to Office 365, businesses are primarily focusing on two things; ease of transition and cost effectiveness. There are services offered that help with the transition over to Office 365. One of those services is Mimecast essentially their service provides an all-in-one solution when it comes to managing an Office 365 migration. They accelerate the process which in the end helps business save on expenses. They also focus on data integrity and security during migration. According to Mimecast they provide “a highly secure cloud archive for storage of email, files and Lync IM conversations letting you migrate to Office 365 with confidence”. They also provide security that ensures supreme coverage and protection against threats. Microsoft itself also provides resource to making the transition to Office 365 easy for businesses.

There are some key things business should think about when making the decision to migrate to Office 365.

Pick the best plan for you – Have a full understanding of what you receive in your 365 plan. It is a great system that is cost effective and for the most part is an “all in one” package but can get pricey when it comes to add ons, so make sure you have done your research and have selected the package that best meets your business’s needs. This also includes what support plans suits your business and its size the best. If in doubt, consult IT support specialists in your area. For those in London, IT Support is made easier with Syntax Integration.

Plan for your migration - You want to make sure that you are fully set up for your migration from on premise to a cloud system. This includes the amount of time your systems will be down and the what to expect during the down time. The longer your systems are down the less time you have to produce and deliver outcomes to your clients. You want to limit the amount of time your systems are offline. Also you want to ensure that all plans are clearly communicated to all members so that everyone is on the same page about what to expect during the migration period.

Cloud sharing systems are the future in business practice and just with any decision made in business, switching from an onsite system to a cloud system should be clearly thought out and researched. Office 365 provides a wide range of options for businesses of all sizes and with the right consideration and planning it can be the best decision for your business.

If you need help migrating to Office 365, why not consult Syntax IT support London for a safe pair of hands to keep your business running smoothly.

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