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18 Oct 2018

Microsoft 365 and the Modern Workplace

Microsoft 365 is Microsoft’s complete solution for Business and Enterprise. Read our review to decide if it could suit your organisation. 

The Modern Workplace

Modern work patterns are changing how people work and what they expect from an IT system. Work is no longer ‘a place’. IT systems must now allow people to securely communicate and collaborate from almost anywhere.

The traditional IT environment with on premise servers and local applications is not well suited for collaboration or remote access. Advanced security features can also be expensive to add.

To address this modern reality, Microsoft 365 provides a suite of cloud applications to simplify communication and protect company data. Office 365 and its family of collaboration tools have been extended with beefed up data security and mobile device protection. With specific versions available for Business (up to 300 users) and Enterprise.

Microsoft 365 is not for everyone. However, for organisations looking for a more efficient, flexible and secure environment, here are 5 reasons you should consider Microsoft 365:

 

Microsoft 365 Business

1. Collaboration: Work faster and more remotely

Collaboration using legacy IT systems is often difficult and expensive, especially for businesses with geographically spread staff. Terminal servers or VPN’s provide remote access to shared data, but they do not provide a collaborative workspace. Staff can struggle to work on shared content, with multiple versions of documents creating confusion and delays.

Microsoft 365 provides a highly scalable collaborative environment. Using SharePoint, Planner and Teams, staff can work on the same documents and provide feedback on projects in real-time. OneDrive allows staff to securely share documents, even with third parties. All of these applications work via a web browser or directly from the desktop Microsoft Office applications.

2. Communication: Working better together

IT systems have traditionally included an email server with a separate telephone system. The modern workplace replaces a siloed approach with centralised communication tools such as Skype for Business and Teams.

Skype for Business allows staff to communicate using instant messaging, video calls, voice calls or within meetings. Staff can share documents and display their screen with meeting participants.

Presence is built into Microsoft 365 applications, allowing staff to see if someone is available or offline. The Office 365 applications automatically detect if a person is available, in a meeting, presenting, or away from their desk. Instead of waiting for an email or calling, staff can see if someone is online and send a quick message.

3. Data Security: Providing piece of mind

Security and protection of company data is a growing concern. Challenges include external threats to data and resources, new data protection laws, and staff connecting devices from different locations.

With Microsoft 365, the traditional domain controller is replaced with Azure Active Directory. This cloud service provides advanced security features such as conditional access, single sign-on and multi-factor authentication.

Microsoft 365 includes InTune to manage workstations, create policies and control what staff can do on company devices. InTune can reduce data leakage by containing data within protected areas. Examples include stopping a user from copying and pasting data between web applications, or downloading a file onto an untrusted device. Devices can be encrypted, with data and emails able to be remotely wiped if the device is lost or stolen.

For organisations needing advanced mobile device management, including managing application and security on IOS and Android devices, First Focus recommends Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) E3. EMS provides additional security features, which include Legal Hold, to preserve data changed or deleted on mobile devices.

Legal Hold helps businesses comply with internal policies and industry regulations by retaining company data from the Office 365 system. For example, you could choose to preserve the content in the Accounts department mailboxes for seven years.

What is Microsoft 365 Business

4. Integration: Connecting systems more easily

By moving to a cloud-based system, organisations can easily integrate their systems with other cloud applications within the same eco-system. Using API’s, cloud applications can seamlessly exchange data between each other without complex data mapping and middleware.

The Microsoft 365 suite can be integrated with many applications including CRM, document management and accounting packages. Seamless integration reduces errors, provides faster access to data where it’s needed and helps drive digital transformation.

5. Cost and scalability: No more infrastructure upgrades!

Traditional IT systems are expensive and not easy to scale. On-going investment in hardware and infrastructure is usually required every 3-5 years. Migrating to the cloud involves a one-time investment, however it removes the need to upgrade whenever the server infrastructure needs to be refreshed.

In the cloud, Microsoft 365 allows organisations to ‘turn on’ what they need on a per user, per month basis. This monthly cost includes the back-end platform, storage, desktop Office programs and the Windows 10 license. So you’ll always be up to date without having to keep buying software upgrades.

Is Microsoft 365 for you?

Many organisations can live the modern workplace with Microsoft 365; enjoying increased productivity and security, with reduced IT costs.

If your IT infrastructure is due for replacement, it’s an ideal time to consider Microsoft 365 instead of new hardware.

If your staff need to work more collaboratively, you may introduce parts of the Microsoft 365 or Office 365 suites.

First Focus has successfully migrated clients from their old server-based environments to a modern workplace with Microsoft 365.

For more information about whether Microsoft 365 is right for you, contact us at sales@firstfocus.com.au or phone 1300 556 531.