Microsoft Office 365 has been wildly popular since it first hit the market. Each new version of this cloud-based productivity suite has brought something exciting and innovative to the table. The latest version comes with the most changes and new features of any version so far, all designed with users in mind.

Considering Making A Switch To Microsoft Office 365?

While there is no shortage of ways businesses of all sizes and types can benefit from migrating to Microsoft Office 365, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when you start to seriously consider making the switch.

1. Can A Publicly-Hosted, Cloud-Based Program Truly Be Reliable And Secure?

Security and availability are the two main concerns where business data is concerned, which historically has made users wary of trusting the Cloud. When it comes to Office 365, this is one worry you can cross off your list. Microsoft’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution may be hosted on a public cloud, but security and reliability are the primary focus of their engineers.

Designed around the principles of the Security Development Lifecycle, Microsoft has made embedding best practice security requirements in everything they create a mandatory part of their software development process.

Data security and industry compliance requirements have been taken into consideration, influencing the safeguards Microsoft has in place. Using Azure Active Directory, Office 365 has built-in security features including authentication tools, access control, and identity management in addition to their own top-notch network and system security.

Taking full advantage of the flexibility the Cloud offers, Office 365 allows for smooth collaboration and anywhere access to needed data. Working remotely is a simple and secure process, and a low monthly subscription fee makes adding or dropping users easy.

2. Can I Bring My Existing Microsoft Data With Me To Office 365?

If you’ve already been using Microsoft products, why start from scratch? Migrating your existing Microsoft data to Office 365 is possible, but you should be aware that it’s not always an easy process. There a few things that can create road bumps along the way.

For example, templates you’ve been using for years might not be compatible with Office 365, leaving you to either rebuild them or figure out to convert them to a new format. Aside from potential complications, ensuring that nothing gets missed or lost during the migration requires close supervision of the entire process. While none of these complications should be considered deal breakers, they do make a very strong argument for turning to professionals for help instead of tackling this project on your own.

3. How Can I Be Sure I’m Not Overpaying For My Office 365 Subscription Package?

The difference in cost between maintaining an on-premise solution and the cost of an SaaS solution is reason enough on its own to seriously consider Office 365. However, the actual price for Office 356 will vary depending on key factors.

These factors include the number of employees you have on staff, what your needs are, and what your future goals are. While Office 365 is a flexible and scalable solution, you’ll want to be sure you’re paying for what you actually need to begin with.

There are a few main subscription packages available to choose from, such as:

Office 365 Business Essentials starts at $5.00 per user/month with an annual commitment. With Web and mobile versions only it provides:

  • Email hosting with 50 GB mailbox and custom email domain address.
  • Web versions of Office applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote (plus Access and Publisher for PC only.
  • File storage and sharing with 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • Online meetings and video conferencing for up to 250 people.
  • 24/7 phone and web support.

Office 365 Business is $8.25 per user/month with an annual commitment. It includes access to Office applications and online productivity services, as well as business services such as web conferencing, hosted email, and online storage. You’ll get the following when you sign up for Office 365 Business:

  • The latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, OneDrive for Business, and Access.
  • Office 365 mobile apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business, Yammer, and OneNote) installed on up to 5 PCs or Macs, 5 tablets, and 5 phones per user.
  • 1 TB of OneDrive for Business cloud storage for each user, which can be accessed from anywhere and syncs with PC and Macs for offline access.
  • Creation and sharing of interactive reports, presentations, and personal stories with Sway.
  • (Business email is not included.)

Office 365 Business Premium is $12.50 per user/month with an annual commitment. You’ll have access to:

  • Email hosting with a 50 GB mailbox and custom email domain address.
  • Desktop versions of Office applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote (plus Access and Publisher for PC only).
  • File storage and sharing with 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • One license that covers fully-installed, always-up-to-date Office apps on 5 phones, 5 tablets, and 5 PCs or Macs per user.
  • 24/7 phone and web support.

All three of Microsoft Office 365 Business plans have a maximum of 300 users.

Microsoft makes it easy to decide which of their subscription packages is right for you by breaking down what each package offers and what it can support.

4. Will Office 365 Provide Me With A Data Backup Solution?

There are data backup options available directly through Office 365 to help protect you against data loss. Whether you choose to make use of these options will depend on the needs of your business and the systems you already have in place. If you do decide to use an Office 365 data backup, you’ll still want to make sure you have a secondary data backup solution in place.

A good cybersecurity solution includes a primary and secondary data backup to ensure that if something goes wrong with one backup, there is still another to restore from. A non-Microsoft affiliated cloud platform or an on-premise server are recommended options for a secondary data backup solution.

Let Our Microsoft Experts Help Make Your Migration Experience A Comfortable One

It’s entirely possible for you to make the transition to Office 365 on your own, but that doesn’t mean you have to, or that you should. A migration of this size is a very big job, and given how much of your critical data and functions are likely tied up in your existing Office solution, you’ll want to make sure nothing goes wrong along the way.

The best way to ensure your migration goes smoothly and is completed quickly is to turn to outside help from an experienced team of Microsoft Experts.

Ready to make the transition to Microsoft Office 356 for your business in the Baltimore-Washington Area? We’re here to help.

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