Everyone has heard of Microsoft, they’re a household name and pioneer in the IT world. But are you familiar with Microsoft 365?
Microsoft’s website describes in one line that Microsoft 365 is “your productivity cloud across work and life”. So what does that mean? In a nutshell they have created a set of integrated tools and services that stretch across all the key areas of your business operations in order to make things simpler. This includes things such as emails, calendars, etc. and access to their quintessential software packages such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. But it also includes a whole collection of really powerful extra applications that can revolutionise the way your business works. This includes Teams, which is far more than just an instant messaging service. It also includes Sharepoint and OneDrive, which provide personal and shared business file storage, allowing you to store all your files in one central location and control who accesses them. But even this is just the tip of the iceberg. When you get into the business tier of their service there are literally dozens of apps, including workflow configurations and automations, that can allow you to manage every aspect of your business. Things like managing leave requests, expenses claims, surveys with clients, newsletter style content, wikis, and the list goes on and on.
Let’s start with email
So let’s start with the simplest area of your business and yet something that a lot of people are still making simple mistakes on. That is email. There are many different suppliers now who provide emails with your domain. Your domain provider will often try and cross sell email hosting for you and Google is another mainstream supplier that is pretty easy to configure. But this can actually cause more of a problem that it solves. If you use your domain provider to give you emails then this is often POP3 or IMAP emails. What are these? They are a type of email setup that dictates how emails are received and then stored. The problem with POP3 and IMAP is that they often don’t sync across your multiple devices properly and in many cases your organisation of these emails doesn’t sync either. They are stored locally to your device rather than in the cloud and if a problem occurs with your setup you might not even receive the emails sent to you in the meantime.
Another major issue with using domain provider email hosting is that often this is setup to be provided from a single IP address on their server. And this is for all their clients. So if one client gets blacklisted this can have a knock-on affect to all their other clients. Without doing anything wrong you could find all your emails going into the junk folders of the people you are sending them to and they may then miss your important communications.
Microsoft 365 is what is known as an Exchange account. This means everything is synced from the main server in the cloud. Your organisation of your emails is centralised and synced between all your devices making it far more robust. As the email service is setup with a Microsoft tenancy we can also control much better the records that are setup on the server to try and combat going into junk. You can also take advantage of free shared inboxes or alias email addresses, making it a far more robust solution than other options.
The final point is that your emails are fully backed up in the cloud, so if anything goes wrong you still have access to them from a browser. And what is more, if you have even the basic account with Microsoft you get access to all their software through the browser for free!
What about my emails with my current provider?
It is quite straight forward to migrate your emails to Microsoft and their are tools that allow all your historical emails to be brought across. That is why we always recommend a 365 account over and above other providers. Because you also get the wider Microsoft set of products it also means you can have the calendar integrated as well and teams to do your conferencing at no extra cost.
Taking your IT and emails seriously
Although you can get email services cheaply or even for free, you are likely to inherit any number of problems going down that route, as we have discussed above. 365 have the quality mark of Microsoft, the global leaders in IT provision. But more so, you not only get an exchange level email account, you also get access to all the additional tools and all for only £5.76 per month per user. With office software and secure file storage up to 2TB all included, that is far more valuable than a free email that may go into junk.
We believe in this solution so much that it is the only email approach that we recommend and implement. Because of the power of the apps that Microsoft provide we will also be writing a number of articles, focussing on each of the key apps in the Microsoft suite, to show you the value these apps can bring to your business. So watch this space.