Microsoft has made a rather significant shift in its new SharePoint platform. The new SharePoint Online which is available with Office 365, includes a variety of features. This step of Microsoft moving into the cloud with the new office 365/ SharePoint Online version is accepted by many with open arms, but still, there are IT Directors who are hesitant to move their important content to the cloud. As with all things that you hear around, some which sound too good to be true, there are possible compatibility issues which you must know before you make any decision for your business.
Your decision must be made keeping in mind the requirements of your business, the type of business you operate and the size of your company along with the needs of the end user. Microsoft Office 365 has various subscription levels with annual commitments for the small businesses, education, government organisations and enterprises. The product is cloud-based and offers a variety of options, however if your business has strict regulatory constraints regarding customer security, you will most likely need to ensure security levels and email archiving protocols.
With this blog post, we hope to highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages that you should consider when evaluating SharePoint Online.
When it comes to paying for licenses, Office 365 is certainly the less expensive, depending on how many users your office requires. With the subscription model you have, you will automatically receive upgrades thus you don’t have to pay for any new software every time Microsoft issues a new release. Additionally, since you pay by the user, you are only paying for the resources you are using.
Each user of yours will have access to One Drive which depends upon your service level offer up to 1 terabyte of storage, per user in a cloud environment. You could share and sync files on a limited basis through some permission-based featured. If your users requires additional storage, you can easily purchase that too.
Easy access to files
Another great advantage is that the plans of Office 365 offers access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other programs through an online web version of the program. This will be immensely beneficial for those who travel or remotely work. Through this facility you can open and edit your documents from any device and browser. Mobile apps are also available for the same purpose, you can download and give it a try.
Email is accessible and affordable
You would be able to access your email anywhere, anytime since Office 365 Outlook is hosted in the cloud. Most of the Office email options don’t require any administrator or hosted exchange server, thus making it affordable for the smaller sized companies. Most plans are administered through a user-friendly interface that doesn’t require an IT professional at all. But if your business is vast and requires more robust controls, many of the enterprise versions have a PowerShell interface within them that administers permissions for email and other programs.
Just as anything built in Cloud, Office 365 also allows your business to scale from one user to around 300 users. When your business will grow Office 365 will not disappoint you. It will scale up to meet your requirements.
Skype, SharePoint and Lync Online are the extra features available in Office 365. They will be better for communication and collaboration across your business.
Built on Microsoft Azure platform, Office 365 offers a reliable infrastructure which is secure and reliable.
There are often budget choices, i.e., Cap-Ex vs Op-Ex, or your business could be a seasonal one and the recurring fee may be caused due to the budget constraints. Thus, while the office 365 subscription is usually more cost-effective for many business, it many not work so well for your seasonal business.
Since Office 365 is built in the cloud there is less flexibility and customization. If you have a hybrid set-up, (combination cloud and on-prem) you might need to have a third party involvement or add-ons when it comes to other collaboration tools or emails.
Your information does not not reside, as with any cloud-based solution. Here it will sit on a Microsoft server. Many businesses find this as an secure option, but there are industries such as healthcare and financial services which are bound to comply the regulatory constraints and require data to be stored on-perm. Microsoft does offer options for these businesses as well, but they are more expensive and may not completely satisfy requirements.
Email Archiving and eDiscovery
When it comes to archiving and eDiscovery tools, Office 365 has limitations. If your business is regulated then you have to ensure that there are no restrictions in your plan in email retention and archiving. While Office 365 boasts an eDiscovery tool, it may not be necessarily part of your plan or easy to administer. Examine all these features before migrating to Office 365. To ensure compliance you might require an addition of third-party email archiving service provider.
Email quotas and limitations
There are limits placed on how many emails you can send and receive in one day, unlike on-prem exchange servers. All these vary with subscription and Microsoft is working to improve size and quota. Before moving to Office 365 your business must investigate this.
Today when the technology gets advanced everyday, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of any platform requires in-depth research which begins inside your business. There is no doubt that Microsoft Office 365 is helping many businesses in saving their money and capitalizing on the cloud; but you may need to thoroughly consider and investigate the limitations, and address any workarounds or the addition of third-party vendors if required.