22 Jun Adopting Cloud Computing: Introducing Microsoft 365 – your key to more efficient, secure and intelligent collaboration
For many of us, Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office) has been an integral part of our lives for a considerable amount of time. In fact, some of us can’t even recall a time before its existence. Since the 1990s, its extensive range of applications has facilitated many essential work tasks. These tools were and continue to be, purposely designed to enhance our lives, both professionally and personally. As you are aware, Microsoft is a globally recognized company renowned for the exceptional quality of its software suite. Virtually everyone has utilized at least one of Microsoft’s core applications, such as Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher and Outlook.
In our next two articles, we introduce Microsoft 365 and how to leverage it to its full potential. We will delve into a comprehensive exploration of Microsoft 365 that brings to light why it can be a game changer to start using its array of tools. We will show how harnessing the power of cloud computing can propel your business towards success, with technology as your trusted companion.
Why Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 – as we have already explained – has proven itself for decades, its tools are nearly unrivalled in their functionality and intuitive format; businesses large and small swear by these tools which keep their businesses running.
During the pandemic, Microsoft 365 amongst other cloud platforms came to the fore as a solution to the challenges of working remotely, which otherwise would have been impossible. Microsoft 365, while based in the cloud, is perfectly functional for both in-office and remote work contexts.
We will now take a brief look at some of the tools in the Microsoft suite for those of you that are unsure of (or need reminding) of their abilities.
For so many of us, Microsoft Word has been a part of our lives since school and many of us remember drafting essays using it. It is a word-processing tool that allows users to type up and format documents to complete written work. It is among one of the most popular work softwares worldwide.
PowerPoint presentations were also a common occurrence in the last few decades. It is a presentation programme that allows you to design and present presentation documents to an audience. What it had in popularity back then has only increased in recent years as this software has become more intelligent and easier to use, including AI design features that make presentation designs a breeze. It remains an immensely popular programme today.
Excel is a spreadsheet programme and – like the others – is a vastly popular tool. It is designed to organise data and predominantly perform financial analysis, although it has many uses depending on the size of your organisation. Like Word and PowerPoint, it has changed over the years. It is possible now to use AI-driven data analysis tools to find patterns and correlations within datasets, and to render them in an accessible visual format.
Perhaps the most popular of Microsoft’s tools is Outlook. Outlook is an application that is mainly used to send and receive emails – but it has other uses too, including a handy calendar feature. It can also be used now to set up online meetings, to organise tasks and to document and find contacts in increasingly automated and intuitive ways.
These are just some of the most popular tools in the Microsoft suite that have jettisoned Microsoft up to the position that it enjoys today.
Now that we have highlighted the incredible capabilities of Microsoft and the tools in its suite, let’s explore ways of getting even more value from them by using them within the Cloud.
What are the differences between traditional Office and Office in the Cloud?
We have explored the traditional Office above; now let’s delve deeper into Office in the Cloud.
Although it was only recently introduced in 2017 as an addition to Microsoft 365’s suite of tools, Teams has quickly gained traction and has been widely embraced. It has become an integral component of daily operations for businesses worldwide and played a crucial role in helping organizations navigate through the challenges of the pandemic. Teams has achieved remarkable success, attracting a staggering number of over 250 million users daily across 181 countries. This platform’s revolutionary nature lies in its ability to facilitate collaboration, communication, and connectivity, offering an ideal solution for diverse needs.
SharePoint is a document management and storage system that integrates with 365. It is used as a secure virtual place to store, organise, share and access information from any device that has a web browser. SharePoint can be used for many purposes and tasks depending on the needs of your organisation – it is a highly configurable product.
To-Do is a Cloud-based task management application; it gives you the opportunity to add, organise and manage your tasks from anywhere on any device.
Planner can be used within Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. It allows individuals and teams to create plans, assign tasks, and to visualise the team’s progress on charts. You can even use it to chat with your team, but overall, it is recommended that you utilise Teams for online chats.
Why utilise the Cloud?
It is not enough for business owners to hear “Cloud computing is the future!” without an explanation. So, let’s look at some of the reasons why the Cloud is now the way forward.
The first and certainly one of the most prominent benefits, is the reduction of costs. Many worry that an initial payment could potentially be very expensive. But it is weighed up, it becomes apparent that just by working on the Cloud you can save enormous amounts on expenses!
When organisations start projects for example, easy access to your company’s data will save time and money when it is hosted on the Cloud. Most cloud-computing services are pay as you go, fully managed IT services, so there is no need to worry that you’ll end up paying for features that you neither need nor want. Of course, we recommend you use it to its full potential – otherwise what was the point in getting it in the first place, right? But if that isn’t possible for any reason, at least you won’t have to be wasting money on the parts of it that you would not be using.
In today’s world of increased cyber criminality, it is no surprise that most have security concerns about making the transition to Cloud computing, rather than storing data and documents physically or on local digital networks (which can be costly and inefficient on the other hand).
No longer having all of your files, programmes and other data being kept onsite can be a nerve-racking proposition. For those that aren’t technically able or familiar with technology, the question they ask is a simple one “If it’s possible for me to remotely access it, what’s stopping a cyber-criminal from doing the same?”
It is a fair question, because, on the surface, that is what it looks like, but a Cloud host’s job is to monitor security carefully at all times. This is carried out night and day in comparison to on-premise IT management where the time of the IT specialist is spread out and has to include security as just one of the many different jobs that they need to do. Especially in the case of Microsoft 365, cloud providers encrypt the data to prevent it from being accessed by cyber-criminals; organisations can free themselves from worry by knowing highly resourced cloud providers bake-in robust cybersecurity measures into their cloud platforms.
The Cloud offers flexibility in many forms. An example of this is scaling; the Cloud allows you to do this freely and will adapt with you by allowing you to scale the number of users, how much hardware and storage you need, and indeed anything else as they also offer more tailored enterprise solutions as well. This is revolutionary in comparison to traditional methods that require you to make a judgment call when choosing what is included in your plan. Traditionally, you would sign an expensive contract for IT support for your business at its current size, that may not change responsively enough with the times. But in the modern world – businesses change overnight! You may be paying for a service you no longer use or a service that doesn’t meet your requirements, which is another reason why the cloud is a great option in today’s rapid and opportune world.
In the next and final article, we will explore how to drive your business forward using the Cloud to its full potential.
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