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While there’s 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 seriously considering making the switch.
Over the past few years, productivity suites have become more and more popular with businesses of all sizes, in a wide and varied range of industries. It’s the type of solution that has something to offer everyone.
Cloud-based technologies, in general, are changing the way users like you view the capabilities of their technology – especially Microsoft Office 365.
Good, but – if you’re not already using Microsoft Office 365, then you have to figure out how to migrate to it (or have an IT company handle it for you).
Migrating from one business technology to another isn’t necessarily a simple process, but with the right strategy, you can make it as painless as possible.
When preparing for your migration to Office 365, it’s important to plan efficiently and thoroughly.
Also, before starting the technical process, make sure your entire staff understands what migration means for their work. What kind of downtime will they encounter, what are the benefits they will have access to once it’s complete, etc.
Before you decide to migrate your entire business to a new cloud platform, make sure you ask the right questions…
Let’s get the most important question out of the way first: what will it cost you to migrate? And, even more important, is it worth it?
To start, the actual cost of Office 356 will vary depending on key factors:
The following list breaks down the many primary plan types offered for Microsoft Office 365, what they include, and how much they cost.
For each plan, these prices refer to a per-user basis, per month. To figure out what it would cost you, simply count the number of users you need to add, and you’ve got your monthly cost – that’s easy to compare against your IT budget.
Keep in mind – these are just a few of the plans that Microsoft offers, but they provide a good idea of what to expect when looking for a cloud productivity suite that’s intended for businesses.
Office 365 Business Essentials – $5.00 per user/month (with an annual commitment)
With Web and mobile versions only it provides:
Office 365 Business – $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:
Office 365 Business Premium – $12.50 per user/month (with an annual commitment)
This plan offers access to:
All three of Microsoft Office 365 Business plans have a maximum of 300 users.
But what about Enterprise plans?
You may have heard that Microsoft Office 365 has a number of other plans for you to choose from, but the fact is that these Enterprise-level options offer a range of add-ons and modifications – in short, they can be quite complicated to parse on your own. If you’re interested in finding out more about Enterprise plans, you should consult with Microsoft or an IT company directly.
It makes sense – if you’re already using a Microsoft solution anyway, you don’t want to lose that data in the transition, right?
Moving your current Microsoft data to Office 365 is possible, but you should be aware that it’s not always an easy process. There a number of ways you can encounter obstacles when it comes to extant data in the transition.
The templates you’ve been using for a long time may not work with Office 365 – that means you have to rebuild them or figure out to convert them to a new format. Furthermore, ensuring that nothing gets missed or lost during the migration requires close supervision of the entire process (your IT company will make sure of that if you’re at all worried).
Security should always be a top priority and must be on your list when considering a change in your IT.
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 principals 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.
As a cloud-based platform, all of the data you access in Office 365 is backed up to a secure off-site location. This occurs simply by the nature of a cloud solution like Office 365.
Many businesses believe that just because the program already exists in the cloud, all of their important information is being backed up automatically to a secure location, but this is not the case. Office 365 can be easily integrated into your Business Continuity solution.
By doing so, your critical data can be:
The rule of thumb is that any cybersecurity solution will include a primary and secondary data backup to make sure that should something go 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.
Depending on what you do for business, how large your organization is, what your budget will allow, Microsoft Office 365 may or may not be the right choice.
Only you can decide for sure – but if you’re having trouble, then get a second opinion from an IT company.
If you do believe that Microsoft Office 365 will have a positive effect for you, then make sure to carefully plan your migration. Regardless of whatever benefits it may bring you, a poorly planned migration is not worth the trouble it causes.
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