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Are you getting the most out of Office 365?

Are you getting the most out of Office 365?

By Brandon Nohr,
CTO, SUCCESS Computer Consulting

So, you’ve migrated your email communications to Office 365, thinking “I’m good! Nothing more to do.”

Not so fast! Office 365 has become a robust business-solutions platform with a mind-boggling number of products and services, ranging from Enterprise, Education, and Small Business, and even offering discounted price-points for nonprofits. It may seem like a lot to navigate, deciding which of these platforms will best suit your purposes, but we’re here to walk you through some of the basics.

First of all, don’t panic!

Today we’re only going to talk about a couple of Office 365 options, those focused primarily on serving small businesses. Office 365 Business Premium—and its confusingly named big brother Microsoft 365 Business—are two of these different bundles, each aimed at businesses under 300 employees or users.

What is Office 365 Business Premium? (List price $12.50 per user, per month)
From the mouths of Microsoft’s marketers:
  • Integrated experience of apps and services designed to help you grow your passion and grow your business.
  • Get apps like Word, Excel, Teams, Email, OneDrive.
  • With Office 365 you have more time to build your business and achieve even more.

The purpose of this bundle is to get your business into a productivity suite with a slate of features. You’ll get desktop Office 2016 applications, access to collaboration tools like Teams, and 1TB of online storage with OneDrive. In addition to the basics, there are also a treasure-trove of applications to help level up workers’ productivity and insight.

Here’s a brief overview of their functions:
  • Teams is a fantastic addition to the Office Productivity Suite. It allows you to collaborate with Teams throughout your organization. Easily share notebooks, documents, conversations, dashboards, even video. Microsoft’s goal is for Teams to replace Skype for Business as an intra-office communications platform.
  • Delve is a great time-saver when looking for recently edited or created documents. If you are using Exchange Online, and file storage is in SharePoint and OneDrive, the application Delve can help find any document that you have access to across your organization. I’m always amazed at how Delve pulls it all together—a great tool.
  • PowerApps allows for codeless development, meaning you can create applications built over SharePoint. You can even publish the application to the PowerApps Mobile App to run your applications on mobile devices.
  • SharePoint has become more of a platform than anything. It has a web frontend, but more and more often it’s now used as the backend to apps like Delve, Teams, PowerApps, and PowerBI.
  • PowerBI is a powerful cloud-based business analytics service. “Any data, anywhere, anytime” is the tagline, and it includes a desktop application for creating rich reports and dashboards, as well as mobile applications for consuming dashboards.

What this bundle is lacking, though, is some of the other features we at SUCCESS like to see from a security and device-management perspective. Historically we have had to recommend an additional monthly spend on those essential features. Enter…Microsoft 365 Business.

What is Microsoft 365 Business? (List price $20 per user, per month)
From the mouths of Microsoft’s marketers:
  • Microsoft 365 is a complete integrated solution that helps you secure your business.
  • Bringing you the best in class productivity of Office 365, security, and sophisticated device management tools.
  • Licensing for Windows 10.

Microsoft 365 Business has all the great applications inherent in the Office 365 subscription, with the addition of much more robust security and device management capabilities. Think of Microsoft 365 Business as a bundle of bundles, focused primarily in three areas: productivity, security, and device management. Again, historically we have had to add additional licensing to get many of these recommended features that are now included as standard with Microsoft 365 Business.

Microsoft 365 Business – Security (Making your users and data safer)
Security & Compliance

Security is a big deal these days, and we need to be focused on giving our end-users systems that help them stay protected, in as transparent a manner as possible. Microsoft 365 Business comes with features that, when implemented properly, dramatically reduce the surface area of attacks, through mechanisms that protect users from unsafe attachments and unsafe links.

For instance, one of these great features is Safe Links. When you receive an email containing a link to a website and your end-user clicks that link, Microsoft 365 checks the link at the time of clicking to verify that the site is safe. This happens if the end-user clicks the link today or a year from now, offering real-time verification, so helpful in today’s world of constant attacks.

Having access to advanced security features that are transparent to your end-users is extremely helpful in reducing your organization’s the risk, while also keeping the friction between the end-user and these systems low.

Mobile Device Management

How can you keep your data safe in a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) world? Microsoft 365 is able to manage a diverse ecosystem of devices ranging from iOS, Android, etc., all while allowing for control of these devices, but also respecting the end-users’ data. One feature that helps with keeping the company’s data safe (but not destroying personal data) is the selective wipe feature. This feature allows you to wipe company data from a phone but not the personal photos, for example. By contrast, in the past this has been an all-or-nothing remote wipe.

Whew, we made it. I know that was a lot of information, but I think it’s important to review your subscriptions at regular intervals—at least on an annual basis at the bare minimum.

Also, it’s always a good idea to explore some of the other applications in your subscription to maximize your current investment. Maybe you aren’t taking full advantage of your current spend; maybe, due to changes in subscriptions, you might be paying too much or not bundling the services in the most effective way. Who knows what time savings and insights are waiting for you if you make it a habit to take a close look on a regular basis?

Want more information on security, Office 365, or how to determine whether or not your current applications are best serving your needs? Please visit our Blog

Learning Opportunities

Join us at one of our upcoming Office 365 user groups, one for technical administrators, and one for the general end user. At these user groups, you will connect with like-minded peers and learn how they leverage the Office 365 platform within their organizations.

Visit our Events Page for information and registration.