The cloud. You’ve heard about it, and you’ve probably heard that it can lower your business’ costs as it increases your agility, but you’re not sure what it entails. We’re here to separate the fact from the fiction with a three-part series tackling the myths that surround moving to the cloud, or as it is often referred to, cloud transformation. In part one, we’re addressing myths about Office 365 for Business in the cloud.
Myth 1: Office 365 is just Office tools in the cloud, and I can only use it online
If you’re using Office 365 for Word, Excel, or Outlook as desktop software, you’re missing out on a lot of cloud-based productivity services available with Office 365 for Business. Of course, you can find the desktop client that you already know and love, but your applications are licensed, deployed, and updated automatically. You can store your work in the cloud, where it can be accessed anywhere, anytime.
Additionally, you can use Exchange Online for email and calendaring, and SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business when you need to collaborate with your coworkers. You can manage your website, your workflow, and your enterprise file sync and share with these tools.
Myth 2: Continuously updating Office 365 will break my critical business applications
Of course, your employees must have access to the business-critical apps and add-ins that Office 365 brings to the table; you don’t want updates to halt productivity. The people at Microsoft are committed to maintaining compatibility between the tools you use daily and Office 365.
In order to keep your operations moving, Microsoft 365 offers the same worldwide standard of desktop applications with all the tools you need, such as Excel, Word, or PowerPoint. Though they strive to keep Office as updated as possible in the cloud, they take measures to ensure that these updates won’t impact areas that might impact other software applications.
They collaborate with leading software vendors, providing them with tools and early access that allow them to create solutions that will work well with Office 365. They also make every effort to help users avoid compatibility issues by providing guidance and best practices for updating management and development. Finally, Office 365 can be installed side-by-side with an older version of Office, which will allow you to handle any issues that might pop up without missing a beat.
Myth 3: Email isn’t any simpler in the cloud
In truth, when you choose to move your business email to the cloud, you can relax; the people who created the software will be handling any of the maintenance required, and your team will still have control of your company’s capabilities as well as how the feature is used by your company’s employees.
As most businesses learn the hard way, building an internal email system to be scalable and highly available is difficult because of either a lack of engineering expertise, or poor choices of configurations that cause outages down the road. Nothing obliterates the myth that email isn't any simpler in the cloud than Office 365 for Business email in the cloud - because you do not have to build anything. How much simpler could it be?
There is a common hesitation from business owners because they want to keep their email on premise, thinking it is just easier, perhaps because they think they understand it, but it isn't easier--or safer. Let's consider your money--have you considered keeping your money on premise? Sure, you can build a vault on site, put security all around it and store all your money at your office. But, you certainly can't do as good of a job as a large bank would do - because the bank can afford to build better vaults and security to keep your money safe and available at all times. So, why wouldn't you do the same thing with email and company files?
Microsoft has the resources to build a better datacenter and a much more scalable infrastructure to hold your mail and data. You no longer have to worry about putting in a load balancer, or configuring routes on a firewall, or monitoring the disk space for logs because they weren't backed up. You simply need to configure the service as you want it, and start consuming it.
Email in the cloud - you don't have to build it. You just use it!
Having your email in the cloud also allows you to focus on your core operations rather than dealing with hardware maintenance issues. Office 365 for Business automatically delivers software fixes and updates as soon as they’re released, and you can depend upon Exchange Online to be first in line for any required updates. And if you’re concerned that the automated management and updates mean that you won’t have control, don’t be—you will still be able to control the system with the Exchange Admin Center.
Myth 4: Skype and Skype for Business are one and the same
If you’re using Skype at home, or if you’ve got a very small staff, and you don’t believe you’ll need to make calls to landlines or mobiles, traditional Skype may seem like it was the best option for you.
However, most companies find that Skype for Business is more suitable for their needs. You can add up to 250 people for online video meetings, you can manage employee accounts with ease, you’re guaranteed enterprise-grade levels of security, and it’s integrated directly into your Office apps.
With Skype for Business, your employees will enjoy a new level of connectivity. They can give presentations, make or receive phone calls just like any landline with the PBX feature, and attend meetings from anywhere at any time, so long as they have an internet connection.
Office 365 covers all of the maintenance required for Skype for Business; there’s no need to have someone dedicated to running servers, and you won’t need to purchase additional, pricy infrastructure. Bonus—the service is supported 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In conclusion, Microsoft Office 365 is a business’s best friend; it allows employees to stay productive anywhere, at any time, maintaining compatibility and ensuring that your workers have the ability to collaborate on a whole new level. Our next article in this series will focus on myths about data and network security when working in the cloud.
On the fence about transitioning to the cloud? Find out more about how to start your journey and the steps to a successfully create the change for your business by downloading our free Guide to Digital Transformation for Small and Mid-size Businesses.