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Office 365

Office 365

RSCC provide both Office 365 and Hosted Exchange on the Microsoft platform. We also provide the know-how to get you migrated over painlessly.

After Microsoft’s announcement to discontinue Small Business Server, small companies need to understand their options for moving forward.

Contrary to the scripts of many salesmen, Office 365 is not a direct replacement for Small Business Server. It’s important to understand what Office 365 does (and what it doesn’t) to make an informed decision. Every company is different in terms of existing infrastructure, bandwidth availability, employee IT knowledge and security requirements; it’s only when you consider them all that you can come to the correct solution.

 

What is Office 365?

There are various versions of office 365. The small business edition currently costs £8.00 per user per month and includes:

The latest version of the Office desktop applications:

Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher. This can be installed on up to 5 devices belonging to that user – a user could for example install on an Office desktop PC, a home desktop PC, a laptop and mobile editions on their tablet and Smartphone.

Hosted Exchange email boxes.

Each user gets a mailbox with a huge 50gb capacity. As well as email, it contains calendar and contact items. It’s a fully featured email system and as such allows sharing of any resources, including calendars and mailboxes between employees.

Lync:

An advanced Skype-type client that allows effective communication between employees and/or customers.

File storage:

Office 365 provides up to 1tb of personal file storage. It includes SharePoint Team sites for shared storage, which has advanced features such as versioning and content approval.

 

There are a good few benefits to this:

It ensures that your employees are all on the latest version of Office at any particular time and removes a lot of the hassle of license management.

Some existing services may no longer be required. Included in the price are email filtering and backups for example.

The cost is easily predictable. IT allows a company to upscale or downscale their IT usage and costs at the click of a button.

 

However if you’re looking at removing your server entirely, there are quite a few things that the typical customer will need to address:

It doesn’t include Active Directory PC management. No centralised password administration. No group policies.

It doesn’t provide any reliable mapped drives. For many businesses a simple mapped drive structure is more familiar, quicker and simply less hassle than the web-based SharePoint.

It doesn’t provide network services. Things like DHCP and DNS and print services may need to be reconfigured on your router or firewall.

It doesn’t provide anywhere to install the various shared applications or databases that typically go on a Small Business Server.

It doesn’t provide any options on the backup. Microsoft take care of this and you can’t alter retention times or keep an archive. (it is possible to add another layer of backup through a 3rd party provider)

It is very reliant on your Internet connectivity. If you have a slow or intermittent connection, it may not the correct choice.

Not everyone is happy with keeping their company data ‘in the cloud’. Understandably, many administrators feel more comfortable knowing exactly where their data is and knowing exactly what is being done to safeguard it.

If the above downsides are a problem, the answer may be a Hybrid deployment with Windows Server Essentials. > next page.

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