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Office 365 for businesses - what you need to know

16th April 2015

Office 365If your business is still using older Microsoft products you may want to consider moving to the cloud-based service, Office 365. Below we explain everything you need to know about Office 365 and how your business could benefit from moving to the cloud.

What is Office 365?

Office 365 is a new way for businesses to use Microsoft software, including the Microsoft Office suite and Microsoft Online Exchange email services. It is a cloud-based subscription service. This means that instead of paying a one-time cost each time you upgrade your software, you pay a monthly or annual subscription fee per user and always have access to the latest version.

It also means that the majority of your software and data is stored in the cloud. In case you are not familiar with the term, “the cloud”, is just a way to describe external hosting. Instead of storing your applications and data on your own physical server, based somewhere in your office, your data will be hosted on a server managed elsewhere, and you access it via the internet. Many computing services are moving to this way of operating, as it means that businesses do not need to maintain their own server.

Another benefit of hosting software in the cloud is that you can access it anywhere you have internet and a compatible device. Most Office 365 applications are available across a number of devices including PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

What is included in Office 365?

There are a number of different Office 365 subscription plans, so the subscription plan you choose will determine which applications are included. Below is an overview of the main Office 365 services.

Business software – Office

All plans include access to online versions of Microsoft Office applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote. Some plans also include the ability to install the full version of the software across a number of devices, including PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones.

Email – Exchange Online and Outlook

Most Office 365 plans include business email, calendar and contact management services using Exchange Online accessed through Outlook.

With Exchange Online your email server is in the cloud, so there is no need to manage a physical email server for your business. Mail is accessed through Outlook, either via the Outlook app or from a web browser, allowing you to access your email across many devices.

Each user has up to 50GB of storage (far more than the average user is ever likely to use) and can send large messages up to 25MB.

Online file sharing and storage – OneDrive

All plans include 1TB of online storage for each user on OneDrive. One terabyte should be ample for most people – it is 1,024GB, enough to hold around 300,000 photos.

As files are stored online, you can control access for each file, giving access to read or edit the file to people both inside and outside your business.

Staying connected – Video conferencing, Skype for Business and Yammer

Certain plans include a variety of tools for keeping staff connected and enabling online collaboration. Tools include Skype for Business for video calling and instant messaging and Yammer for internal communication and collaboration.

Benefits for your business

Moving to Office 365 could save your business time and money, plus reduce the amount of time lost due to IT issues.

Save time and money

  • Save money on hardware. As your documents and email will be hosted in the cloud, there’s no need to maintain an in-house server. You will also reduce time spent doing backups, maintaining the server or upgrading software.
  • With 99.9% uptime, you are unlikely to get an interruption to your service.
  • Staff can work from anywhere, so less staff time will be lost due to issues such as bad weather or travel disruption.

Work more efficiently

  • Document sharing allows staff to collaborate on the same document at the same time.
  • Staff can work remotely if required, and stay in touch through instant messaging, video conferencing and instant messaging.
  • Documents are always available online, so it’s quicker to locate and work from the latest version.

Grow your IT capability with your business

  • With predictable monthly or annual costs, there is no large initial outlay required and no need to pay for upgrades.
  • You only pay per user, so you can increase your capability and move plans as your business grows.
  • There is no long-term commitment required, plans start from one month.

Keep data secure

  • Your data is your own. It is not used for advertising purposes and you can wipe it from devices remotely if needed.
  • Office 365 email has industry-leading anti-malware protection and anti-spam filtering built in.

Getting started with Office 365

If you are thinking of making the move to Office 365, we can help you get set up and ensure a smooth transition from your existing system. Our experts can manage the technical aspects for you so you can get on with running your business. We can help…

  • Choose the right Office 365 package for your business. With seven different basic packages and a number of customisable add-ons, it can be challenging to work out which package is best for your business. We can work with you to select the right package for your needs.
  • Create a plan for migration. Getting a plan in place is vital for a hassle-free transition. We will make sure all your devices will meet system requirements and your internet connectivity is sufficient for a move to the cloud.
  • Manage your migration for a smooth transition. We will work at your offices to manage all technical aspects of the migration, minimising downtime and ensuring no data is lost.
  • Decommission any existing hardware that is no longer required.
  • Provide ongoing support. Deal with any issues as they arise and ensure smooth-running of your Office 365 software and systems.

Need help with Office 365 or not sure what option is right for your business? Get in touch for a free, no-obligation review.




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