Cloud computing offers organizations tremendous advantages, including simplified IT management, little or no upfront investment in hardware, and a serious productivity enhancer -- anywhere-anytime access for users.
So it was no surprise when technology giant Microsoft decided to take its popular and market-dominant Office productivity suite, enhance it with some powerful features and collaboration tools, and move it to the cloud platform. The resulting Microsoft Office 365 takes user productivity and cloud computing benefits to a new level, with proven, familiar tools that translate to greater user adoption and productivity – faster.
Microsoft Office 365 delivers seamlessly on the promise of the cloud with:
- Real-time collaboration
- Secure and compliant
- On-the-go access from any device
- Scalable, reliable performance
- Automatic updates, the latest features
- Smarter IT spend, simple administration
These are just some of the reasons to move from your workstation Office productivity suite to the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365.
Plan Selection: Microsoft offers multiple plans for Office 365 that scale in price, number of users, and capabilities. As with any technology investment, be sure you assess your needs before you lock into a plan to ensure that level you select has your business and user needs covered – both for today and the future.
Migration Strategy: You can migrate the Office 365 user experience and administration to the cloud all at once or as a hybrid deployment. The latter option allows you to maintain your existing on-premises Microsoft Exchange deployment as well as a cloud-based Exchange environment – and provides a single seamless experience for users. As can be expected, the hybrid deployment requires some additional configuration including Active Directory synchronization and the use of a hybrid server installed in your existing on-premises Exchange environment to enable certain messaging features, message delivery, and convenient single sign-on (so users only have to remember one password). The benefit is that the hybrid deployment can be an interim step if your company does not need to – or is not ready to – move immediately to a full cloud deployment.
Data Hygiene: Many companies that choose Office 365 will want to integrate it with their Active Directory – a central repository that manages user credentials and allows for password sharing between Office 365 and users’ computers. Good data hygiene is important, regardless of where that data resides. Cleaning both your Active Directory and Exchange Server data before migrating to Office 365 will ensure a seamless experience for users – and minimize IT headaches.
Management Tools: Office 365’s Web-based administration console facilitates the creation and management of user accounts and other functions. More complex management tasks, such as adopting existing folder permissions automatically, can be handled using PowerShell, Microsoft’s command-line and scripting environment for system administration. Management varies from company to company, so it’s important to understand your specific requirements, and if additional tools are needed to facilitate the management of your Office 365 in the cloud.
Supporting Technology: Your subscription to Microsoft Office 365 automatically provides your users with the very latest versions and features of the Office 365 software and collaboration tools – and removes the burden of software and hardware administration and management so that IT resources can focus on other priorities. Office 365 is compatible with most previous generations of Office suites and Microsoft operating systems, and employs leading security technologies to assure user identities for authorized access from multiple devices, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Being aware of the many supporting benefits of Office 365 will enable you to maximize your move to the cloud.
The advantages of the cloud-based Office 365 are significant. It ranges from convenient anytime-anywhere user access and improved collaboration to smarter IT spending with worry-free maintenance and reliability.
Want to learn more about deploying Microsoft Office 365 the right way? Give us a shout.