Every organization uses productivity tools and email to function. In the last several years, these tools have moved rapidly to the cloud. One key reason for adoption of Microsoft’s M365 suite of services is that they provide access to productivity tools from anywhere, arming your roaming workforce with software that is always up to date. And because M365 and Azure reduce the need for locally installed servers, organizations are able to avoid costly one-time hardware and software upgrades in favor of a predictable operating expense that can be easily budgeted.
For those of you who haven’t made the switch, we’ll explore what M365 has to offer.
What can Microsoft cloud services do for my team?
· Email is available via Outlook Web Access (OWA), which is a browser interface. It is also available for use via an Outlook client installed locally. For small organizations (300 users or less), mailboxes are available in 50Gb and 100Gb sizes. Messages can be as large as 150Mb.
· Productivity tools including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (database), and Publisher are available either as web only versions, or applications installed locally.
· File Storage is available via OneDrive to replace on-site file servers used for file sharing. OneDrive offers 1TB per user, accessible from anywhere.
· Collaboration via Microsoft Teams allows online video conferencing for up to 250 participants.
· Intranet publication is available to inform, engage, and communicate with your team via SharePoint. SharePoint allows you to create sites for teams to share and collaborate on documents.
· Access Control can be configured in a variety of ways. M365 can be synchronized to your local Windows Active Directory environment. Azure AD is a cloud version of Active Directory (the centralized domain management tool originally created for Windows Servers). Azure can be used to authenticate the identity of users (via username and password) for access to applications and data. Azure AD can work in place of on-site Windows Servers or in conjunction with them. Premium M365 packages include conditional access that offers granular security controls based on a specific user or group, an IP Location, the device used, the application access requested and the real-time risk detected. M365 allows the configuration of policies to take various actions based on the above factors including granting or denying access and even deleting applications or data from a device that has been moved to an unauthorized location.
· Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – is a second level of user identification provided by M365 via a phone call, text, or the Microsoft Authenticator App. MFA is included free in select M365 products.
· User and Device Management is supported by Intune. This endpoint management product allows you to remotely deploy apps on mobile devices and desktops. You can also control access to applications and even limit access based on the application version installed on the client.
Transitioning to M365
M365 offers a variety of plans and a wide array of features. The first step to an effective transition is to understand the elements of M365 which will be most beneficial to your team.
Some key considerations:
· How frequently does your team travel, and what types of devices will they be using to access applications and data?
· How critical is security for data and applications installed on mobile devices?
· How will a cloud solution fit into your disaster recovery strategy?
· What endpoint protection products do you currently have in place?
· Will your current Internet connectivity support remote access to application data for your entire team?
Is it time to investigate a move to M365? MTSi can help you evaluate the current state of your network and technology infrastructure, work with you to understand your technology needs, and identify a mix of M365 programs that will be most beneficial for your team.
Contact our sales team to discuss your M365 transition.