Information Technology Professionals - IT Pros USA


Seven Things to Know about Office 365

This is the part where we tell you something awesome about Microsoft’s flagship product: Office 365. For example, in late 2017, Office 365 (O365) cleared the 50% threshold for market share around the world. Half of all businesses were using O365, and that number has only grown in 2018. But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here to figure out what O365 can do for your business. So, let’s just dive in.

Microsoft Office 365 Helps Everyone in the Office and in the Field.

Microsoft Office 365 helps everyone in the office and in the field, helping you get the most out of your workforce.

Microsoft Office 365 – Seven things to Know

Office 365 is a Behemoth

The term Office 365 (O365) is really over 70 different flavors of buying available from Microsoft. There are O365 SKUs for SMBs and enterprise operations. There are O365 security products and options to utilize Office 365 for simply email. You can even select an Office 365 that features only on-premise application access. The variety of things that “Office 365” can refer to is endless.

Microsoft 365 is O365 on Steroids

There is also a new Office 365 bundled set called Microsoft 365. This pulls in security offerings, email and application services, and back-end analytics data opportunities into a singular, commoditized package. Businesses these days really need a partner they can trust to help select the options that fit their business, both to maximize the offerings and to minimize the cost. By assisting with licensing, costs can be reduced and time can be saved.

Ultimately, a managed service provider like ITP can help provide you tremendous value by maximizing the work of each employee on your team by choosing the SKU that best matches your business needs.

Selecting the Correct Office 365 SKU is Crucial

As noted above, selecting the correct SKU for your business is a very important business decision. An important reason to ask an expert is to find the best opportunities to reduce costs. Certain SKUs include the rights to the on-premise licensing for your Exchange server. This allows you to run with a hybrid infrastructure. You won’t need to pay for an “exchange” with a separate license. Office 365 products will come with the reciprocal on-premise rights, so you can get to the cloud and still run your applications and systems on-premise, so you don’t have to buy anything extra. Who can’t use that extra few coins in the budget?

Upgrading your Office 365 for Optimal IT Posture

Many businesses choose to run a “naked” Office 365, meaning the bottom level offering. While the naked service gets the job done, we always recommend to our customers to consider the security upgrades. Our go-to recommendation is adding Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). ATP is a security product that makes sure you’re really protecting your cloud presence. For many of our customers in fields with varying degrees of confidential data (from law firms to healthcare providers), this additional level of security provides more than a restful night of sleep.

IT Security is something we discuss monthly in our blog, so if you want to learn more on security specifically, check out this jumping off point: Three Security Tips for Your SMB.

Bundling Services with an MSP

Similarly, Office 365’s SharePoint service will only keep an automatic back-up for 7 days. It’s a common misconception that data on the cloud is backed-up forever, but this isn’t always the case. We typically recommend extending your network with third-party apps and options that sync with Microsoft’s O365 to be able to execute “point in time” back-ups. These are much more useful for businesses and individuals alike.

For example, your fiancé receives an odd link from her aunt, clicking on it and instantly receiving a virus. In this case, the virus was contracted via user error (another reason to add the bonus level of security like Mimecast) and you’d like to go back 24 hours and access your data at that point in time. Well in this example, O365 would be of assistance, but when you exceed the base 7-day window, you may have trouble pinpointing a specific time for a back-up.

However, as mentioned above, there are many third party options that sync with Office 365. These third parties can execute point and time back-ups with ease, often saving a lot of time. When you work with a managed service provider (MSP) like ITP, you can bundle in a number of services at a reduced cost.

ITP Provides Better Access to Microsoft

Lastly, when it comes to buying your Office 365 licenses, many SMBs go directly to Microsoft’s site. It’s easy, it’s convenient, and there is no hassling salesman trying to upsell additional services. With that said, you’ll get better pricing and customer support when you buy through a partner, especially a Microsoft Gold partner like us… (are we tooting our own horn too much?). Even if you’re ready to pull the trigger on O365, buying it through ITP is going to allow you to leverage our price points, saving you money. You’ll be able to work with us on issues, escalating your problem on the Microsoft to-do list faster, saving you time. We can do this because we are a trusted Microsoft partner and we have an inclusive support contract. This allows us to pull strings and assist you with your issues.

Access to Microsoft Self Service Portal

This also includes access to our “self-service” portal. ITP is invested in this particular portal for Office 365 that allows our customers to massage their license load as staffing changes arise. Very few of our competitors allow customers that are buying through a partner / cloud solution provider program (what a mouthful!) to come back to them for one-off purchases, email changes, or network shifts. For instance, if your business is saying goodbye to an employee, your access to the portal can remove that person from your system, saving you money on their license. And this can be done completely on your end – without assistance from our team or Microsoft. Again, very few competitors can offer this self-service opportunity to you.

No matter your O365 question, we’re here to talk it over with you. Simply contact ITP and talk to our experts about Microsoft Office 365.

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