Case Studies

Office 365 – why we love Microsoft’s cloud solution

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Office 365 is Microsoft’s answer to cloud-based working.

But why the cloud?

Running activities through the cloud means having access to all folders, personal settings and data from any device (desktops, tablets, phones, Macs), and from anywhere. Many of us are already enjoying the benefits of the cloud and have almost forgotten life without it: gone are the days of installation discs for each software package on each individual device (software that rapidly goes out of date and is only infrequently updated), an inability to access files and folders from different locations leading to issues with version control, inconsistent virus and security protection across user’s devices and subsequent security risks as data is passed from one user to another. The list goes on ….

Office 365 is a suite of Office applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) and administration tools to manage those applications. It is:

  • web-based (although you do get a local install of Office applications, so you don’t have to be online to use the suite of applications);
  • cloud-based (data is stored in the cloud so it’s accessible from any device);
  • subscription-based (you pay monthly based on a number of different plans).

Office 365 is simplicity personified – you don’t download it, you simply subscribe, and it works. So long as your subscription is up-to-date, all product updates, bug fixes and service packs are pushed out automatically. And back-ups are done automatically too. All users have access to all data (based on permissions set centrally) from all devices, regardless of location.

From a user perspective it’s as easy as ‘plug and play’, but in the background, through a global network of Microsoft servers, data is being gathered, risks are being monitored and blocked, and new defences are being developed to protect businesses from security breaches. From the perspective of IT managers, everything can be controlled centrally, rather than being responsible for each user’s individual device settings.

Office 365 and data security

Quite rightly, businesses are increasingly concerned about the security of their data and systems, and this has become the number one priority for businesses. Compliance with security regulations is becoming ever more important as data protection regulations become increasingly stringent (e.g. GDPR) and hackers become increasingly savvy and are constantly coming up with new ways to gain access to organisations’ systems.

Despite the obvious benefits of cloud working, it is precisely this ability to access data from anywhere, at any time, and on any device, that can make some IT professionals nervous. What are the security implications of this ease of accessibility, and what is Office 365 doing to protect data and systems? Microsoft knows that protecting data from loss or breach is crucial to businesses, but it is taking security one step further by ensuring that Office 365 is an actual security advantage for businesses – by using Office 365, businesses can harness the sheer scale of Microsoft’s operations to benefit from the best security protection available.

Microsoft has massive data centres globally and billions of security-related signals are gathered each day by Microsoft’s servers. Its search engine globally scans emails, URLs, IPs, signals from third-party sources and identifies threat signals (e.g. spam, suspicious log-ins, phishing attempts, etc.). The system can quickly adapt and come up with new defences across Office 365 (thus benefiting anyone using the Microsoft cloud – security attacks in once part of the network will lead to security patches and improved protection across the entire global Office 365 network).

The sheer scale of the operation means that Microsoft has had to think differently about creating a secure environment. Microsoft’s monitoring and protection footprint is considerably broader than any one organisation could monitor, which offers its users the most up-to-date protection against the latest attacks and makes Office 365 an incredibly safe environment to be in.

Office 365 and your business

Office 365 could be just the solution your business has been looking for, if you want to:

  • protect your business’s data and systems using Office 365’s built-in and robust anti-malware and anti-spam protection, and data protection and back-up security;
  • facilitate ease of working for staff – the flexibility to work on any device, from anywhere (including ‘bring your own device’);
  • share information safely and easily across your organisation’s networks;
  • increase productivity through automatic software updates, giving all users access to the latest tools and features, wherever they are and whichever device they are using;
  • find a solution that will grow with your business based on your evolving requirements.

We are partnered with Microsoft and are experts in Office 365, so we can support your business during its move to the cloud, and beyond. Commonly, we support clients through an audit of their existing systems, the planning of an upgraded infrastructure, the switch-over to the new system and offer ongoing support to ensure that they are getting the most from Office 365.

To find out more about how Office 365 can revolutionise the way your business functions, and discuss the support we can offer you, please get in touch.

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