Office 365 for Small Businesses
You might be asking yourself, what is Office 365?
Office 365 is Microsoft’s latest Cloud based computing service that includes all the Office products you know and love. It’s all in the name: access to your Office from anywhere, anytime, year-round. 365 is a subscription based service that has multiple levels of inclusions to fit your business environment. It is designed to work with the latest version of office; Office 2013 and Office 2011 for Mac. Older versions of office, such as Office 2010 and Office 2007, may work with 365 but may have reduced functionality.
You may also be asking yourself, what is the Cloud?
Microsoft’s “Cloud” is a web-based data storage consisting of a network of servers that is hosted by a third party outside of a business’s physical location instead of residing on a local computer or server. Since your data is located online and/or in the Cloud, you can access it from virtually anywhere there is an Internet connection from almost any type of device such as a computer, laptop, cell phone, tablet, etc.
If you are considering Office 365 for your small business, here are 3 things to review:
- Cost: Office 365 is a recurring monthly or yearly fee for the software suites. The recurring cost includes updates to the software and regular server maintenance, all hosted by Microsoft. Since this is a fixed recurring cost and hosted by Microsoft, it may be more cost effective for small businesses for budgeting purposes.
- Security: 365 is hosted by Microsoft which means you are reliant on their security measure for protecting your data. Even though Microsoft uses enterprise standards and certifications for their security, there are still security risks for a business that stores sensitive information such as medical records and confidential client data. Small businesses need to determine how sensitive their data is and what needs to be protected.
- Accessibility: Being that 365 is Cloud based, your data is accessible via the Internet from anywhere and any device. You can keep full control of your documents for your business on Once Drive business and SharePoint. As long as you have a secure Internet connection, you can access your information.
If you think Office 365 is a viable solution for your business, consult with your IT Department or IT Provider before making the move. They can provide you with additional information and insight to the solution that best fits your business needs.