Here at Tabush Group we talk a lot about “moving to the cloud,” since our flagship product, Boxtop, does just that: move a firm’s desktop PCs entirely to the cloud so that users can login from anywhere, anytime, on any device, and simply begin to work. But let’s break down one of the most common ways businesses are utilizing cloud services in a more focused way: Microsoft Office 365.
Office 365 was released several years ago, but there is still quite a bit of confusion around it. Put simply, Office 365 is a subscription service that combines several traditional Microsoft applications with some new ones, all of which are enabled over the cloud. All Office 365 plans are subscription based, paid for either monthly or annually. The Office suite then lets business users save their documents to the cloud with storage available in OneDrive.
Until recently, Microsoft was a software company that profited from selling software to businesses and individuals. With Office 365, Microsoft begins to shift its business model to a service organization that “rents” software and services, rather than outright selling licenses.
PROS OF OFFICE 365
- Work Anywhere
Since Office 365 is cloud-based, as long as there’s an internet connection, users can access their files. As more workers need remote access, this is probably the most important consideration when deciding to purchase Office 365.
Microsoft is known to frequently upgrade their products to fix bugs and add features. With Office 365, users are automatically upgraded to the latest version of applications at no additional fee and without having to reinstall software on individual PCs.
- Security and Encryption
Microsoft built several security features into its cloud-based system, including physical restricted access to their data centers, email and data encryption, and regular backups. Office 365 has Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA), which uses machine learning to detect and alert companies to suspicious behavior or malicious links and attachments. Additional controls can be set on password and remote deletion should a mobile device be lost or stolen.
There are many collaboration tools on the market today, but since many businesses use Office suite products, it’s likely this functionality will be heavily utilized. Gone are the days of several versions floating around a team, each with their own changes. Version control is preserved with the ability of several users to make changes in real-time on a single document.
CONS OF OFFICE 365
- No Internet Means No Access
Since Office 365 is a cloud-bases service that means users need access to the internet. Poor or no internet connection is a barrier to accessing much-needed files and apps.
- Less Flexibility
Office 365 offers fewer infrastructure options than on-premise, fully customizable solutions.
- Too Many Options
While Office 365 means users always have access to the latest applications and features, it may be difficult to keep up with all of the new releases. What’s more, many business use Office 365 for email, storage, and access to the Office suite of programs, but that’s only about 20% of what Office 365 offers.
- Data Privacy Concerns
Office 365 means that business data will be hosted on Microsoft’s servers. While there are built-in security features, as mentioned above, there are certain scenarios and industries (such as finance and healthcare) when hosting data anywhere outside of the organization raises compliance and ethical concerns, especially for businesses in the legal, finance, and medical fields.
Office 365 offers many compelling features to ease IT burdens while bringing additional functionality to user’s desktops. As is the case with any new technology investment, it’s important to weigh the positives and negatives and consider your ultimate business goals.