What is the Cloud? Why should a business be in the Cloud?
The Cloud or Cloud Computing is one of the most overused “buzzwords” in the IT industry today. All the Cloud term means is that some business processes and data are supported by a server which is not under the direct control of the business. These so called remote servers are accessed securely over the public Internet. The general benefit of the Cloud to a business is to reduce costs and gain flexibility by having information and data hosted elsewhere, while having access from virtually anywhere.
Many businesses are already using Cloud services and do not even know it. For instance, most companies do not host their website on their own servers, so their website is in the Cloud. Anyone who has watched a movie on Netflix has used the Cloud. Most importantly, being in the Cloud means lower costs, flexibility, and the ability to communicate within an organization more effectively.
Why Office 365?
Today’s business environment is very fast paced and continually changing. Technology must keep up with these changes, while remaining flexible, affordable, and secure. Employees are spending more time outside of the office, telecommuting, or traveling, and with the near ubiquitous deployment of smart devices, accessing information from virtually anywhere has become a necessity. Businesses are demanding communications between employees that are both easily accessible and highly secure.
Office 365 is one such solution. It is accessible because information can be managed from any device such as a smartphone, tablet, desktop, or web browser. Furthermore, it is highly secure because the technology is designed in a way that it leverages the layers of security approach. There is physical security, by having the datacenters constantly monitored, which require multi-factor authentication. Also, there is so called logical security, which means that processes prevent human access and provide an intrusion detection mechanism to prevent any malicious access to the data. Additionally, there is data security, so the data is encrypted while on the Cloud server, in addition to being encrypted while in transit. Lastly, there are built in admin and user controls, which means that it can be further defined who has access to which information on the user level.
Integration into the Cloud with Office 365
With Office 365, a remote user has secure access not only to email but to documents, instant messaging, and other forms of communication. All is managed from a single web portal or integrated into a business’s existing infrastructure. Being able to integrate into an existing Active Directory infrastructure is perhaps one of the finest selling points to medium-to-large businesses, as the benefits of the Cloud can be realized without major changes to existing systems. This means that being able to integrate the current servers into the Cloud and synchronize them to Office 365 is already supported. For small businesses, the ability to manage the entire user experience from a single web portal is particularly attractive. Since they might not have the infrastructure as medium-to-large businesses do, and there might not be existing systems to integrate into the Cloud, therefore using a web portal is a simple and cost effective option.
The Benefits of Using a Microsoft Partner
All in all, moving to Office 365 can be very puzzling for small-to-medium-to-large businesses as there are many options. There are Enterprise and Business Plans available and each has different levels.
This is where a Microsoft Cloud Partner comes in. We can assist with a thorough evaluation, recommend the best solution that meets the requirements of your business, and implement it. Businesses can benefit not only from our prior IT experience, but our added relationship with Microsoft as a Cloud Partner. As with anything new, there will be a learning curve. The beauty of Office 365 and moving into the Cloud is that the change is relatively minor, while the benefits are great. No longer does your business have to worry about data security, hosting email, or missing messages on smartphones while outside of the office. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the enhanced ability to share information, from calendars to documents, on the go, without worrying about data security. It is time to consider your options and migrate your business into the Cloud! Have you thought about your new year’s resolutions yet?