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Everything you need to know about Office 365

The vast majority of people who have used computers in the past thirty years have used Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, written emails using Outlook, or messaged others on Skype.

The technologies in the suite are used by millions of contemporary enterprises for document creation, communication, and bookkeeping. But there’s much more to Office than most users are aware, especially in light of the introduction of Office 365.

Read on if you’re considering using Office in the cloud or simply want to learn more about the inner workings of this widely used but frequently underappreciated set of digital tools. As part of the Microsoft FAQ series, we’re going back to the basics to address the most frequent inquiries about Office 365.

What is Office 365?

A cloud-based, subscription-based version of Microsoft’s well-known productivity suite, Office, is called Office 365. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote are the key programs included in Office 365. Depending on the plan chosen, additional programs and services including Publisher, Planner, OneDrive, Exchange, SharePoint, Access, Skype, Yammer, and Microsoft Teams may also be included.

When licensing Office 365, a variety of packages are offered, including versions for individual use, households with multiple users, students, corporations, organizations, and educational institutions.

Users can also access free, feature-constrained versions of Office apps through the Office Online service, which is available solely online and on mobile devices.

In this FAQ, Office 365 for Business will be the primary focus unless otherwise noted.

Who uses Office 365 for Business and why?

Over a billion people use Office products globally today. For almost three decades, Microsoft Office has offered computer users productivity tools. Office, however, provides much more than just word processing and spreadsheet editing for businesses.

Office has developed into a vast collection of intelligent tools that enable organizations to be more productive and efficient, even though its eminent core apps continue to provide businesses with the fundamental tools they need to perform everyday tasks like managing data, creating documents, and communicating information. Additionally, businesses of various shapes and sizes can utilize these capabilities right now thanks to the numerous customized plan options that are accessible.

Services like Outlook may give organizations a strong, presentable platform to sell their products and increase brand recognition. The strong calendaring capabilities of Outlook can also improve time management and teamwork within enterprises.

Through technologies like team chat, online meetings, co-authoring and sharing files, and group emails, Office 365’s apps and services enable improved collaboration among staff members while also boosting teamwork and saving time. Organizations can work wherever and whenever they want with safe access to material, chats, projects, and calendars from any device thanks to the inclusion of cloud storage and mobile apps in the Office 365 suite.

Because of its layered security features, proactive data monitoring, privacy protection, and 99.9% uptime service level agreement, Office 365 is a popular choice among businesses due to the fact that data security is a hot-button issue for firms in all industries.

How is Office 365 different from previous versions of Office?

Office 365 is a subscription-based service, thus users pay a monthly subscription fee to access the service at the level of their choice as opposed to purchasing a copy of the suite outright for a one-time, upfront cost.

Users of Office 365 always have access to the most recent version thanks to Microsoft’s platform updates, as opposed to perpetual, on-premise users who would need to purchase a new copy of the most recent edition in order to use new features.

Although certain plans include access to desktop versions of its apps, Office 365 is also a cloud-first application; as such, it is intended to be used online. Office 365’s applications, services, and data are all stored on servers owned and operated by Microsoft.

Users don’t need to maintain any hardware to run the software or install it. Office 365 also includes email hosting and cloud storage, allowing customers to host their files online and access them from any internet-connected device whenever and wherever they need.

Office 365 is cloud-based and offers a variety of capabilities that were not included in earlier, permanent versions.

How can it help businesses grow?

Everyone in a business can be more productive, communicate more effectively, and accomplish more with the support of great productivity tools. The Office 365 suite speeds up and simplifies routine tasks like planning and organization, data processing, planning and sharing, finding information, and communicating with coworkers. By cutting down on administrative work, businesses have more time to innovate, create, and advance their businesses.

Business customers now have even more vital tools to aid in their growth thanks to freshly launched Office 365 apps, including:

  • For companies that don’t yet require a comprehensive CRM system, Outlook Client Manager is a straightforward, clever add-on for customer administration.
  • MileIQ is a mileage logging tool that classifies and uploads business trips automatically.
  • Utilizing Microsoft Bookings, users may coordinate customer appointments and schedules.
  • Users may track indicators like unpaid invoices, email subscriptions, and bookings through the Business Center, a single access point for all Office 365 business apps.
  • Microsoft Invoicing is a mobile app for creating, sending, and receiving payments for invoices from clients.
  • A simple email marketing tool and platform called Microsoft Connections
  • Microsoft Listings is a tool for managing business listings on websites including Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp.

Utilizing a productivity suite hosted in the cloud can benefit a business’s bottom line. Office 365 doesn’t require any hardware investments, and subscription-based services are often more cost-effective and flexible if business conditions change. Since Microsoft is in charge of all infrastructure, there is no need for internal IT staff to manage the suite, potentially saving money on internal IT services.

How is Office 365 different from Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 was released by Microsoft in the middle of 2017. You may have heard about it. Microsoft 365 should not be mistaken with Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Office 365 despite having a similar logo.

While Microsoft 365 is a collection of services that includes Office 365 along with other business tools, Office 365 is a cloud-based suite of productivity apps. Office 365 can be purchased separately from Microsoft 365, but everyone who purchases Microsoft 365 will also have access to Office 365.

Microsoft 365 was created to provide companies with all the essential tools they require to operate their fundamental IT infrastructure, safeguard their company, and complete tasks. Customers have access to capabilities including email and calendaring, file storage, data protection controls, cyber threat protection, administration and deployment controls, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee with Microsoft 365, which also includes Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS).

Although each of the services offered by Microsoft 365 can be purchased separately, many companies may find that purchasing the Microsoft 365 bundle is more convenient and cost-effective, especially if they are not already Microsoft business clients.

What is the difference between Office 365 for Business and G Suite?

Even while Microsoft has long dominated the market for productivity software, Office continues to rule the corporate world in general; if someone wants to give you a document or spreadsheet, you can trust that it will be in Word or Excel format.

However, the rise of cloud computing has largely leveled the playing field in terms of business software, enabling businesses of all sizes to access goods and services that would have previously needed a sizable investment in hardware and software. Now that digital business tools are easier to use, modern firms are gradually transitioning to a new style of operating. This change has spawned a number of contenders for Microsoft’s productivity throne.

The only genuine alternative to Office 365 is Google’s G Suite, as traditional Office substitutes like Corel WordPerfect and LibreOffice have not yet made the switch to cloud-based suites. Similar to Office 365, G Suite provides a well-liked free version that offers free cloud storage and email hosting along with versions of programs like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides that are ad-supported.

However, there is a subscription edition of the suite that is designed for organizations and enterprises of all kinds. Business email addresses, secure messaging, email encryption, security and admin controls, phone and video conversations, and robust support are just a few of the features that G Suite shares with Office 365.

G Suite has three subscription tiers, each costing $5 to $25 per user each month; this is a less complex licensing scheme than Office 365’s seven tiers, but it is nevertheless comparable in cost. The key distinction is that Microsoft’s Enterprise-level plans need a full year’s payment up front. Users should carefully review each of Office 365’s plans because some don’t include features like email accounts and calendar capabilities that one might expect to be included.

In general, Office 365’s entry-level subscriptions are more liberal than G Suite’s when it comes to apps, emails, and file storage, and the two are quite comparable until you get up to the mid-level plans.

Business continuity is one area where these suites’ apps differ significantly from one another. Microsoft’s apps have more features than Google’s, and the majority of Office 365 plans offer desktop versions of the suite’s apps, whereas G Suite is a cloud-only solution.

You can manage, model, and regulate your master data domains throughout your entire organization using multi-domain master data management. Your operations can be streamlined, and the quality of your analytics and reporting can be improved, by having consistent and reliable master data.

How is Office 365 for Business deployed?

Despite the fact that many Office 365 plans offer downloadable desktop versions of well-known Office programs, the Office suite itself is hosted by Microsoft rather than by the user on their own internal servers, and most of its functions are accessed online.

Therefore, all Office 365 plans must be launched and implemented online, and users must access their accounts online. Access to Office 365’s cloud services, including email, conferencing, and system administration, requires an internet connection.

Customers can work offline with specific Office products’ desktop versions if necessary, and all offline documents are synced once the device is connected again to keep all work current.

Is Office 365 secure?

Many new and prospective customers will have concerns about security and privacy because Office 365 is a cloud-hosted product. Data is a company’s most important asset, and failing to appropriately secure business data may have disastrous results, as we’ve seen in a number of high-profile data breach incidents in recent years.

Hosting business data and equipment on Microsoft’s public cloud enables users to benefit from the company’s enormous expenditures in security, even though no cloud service can be guaranteed to be impregnable. Office 365 data is stored in Microsoft’s worldwide data centers, which offer a level of security that almost no business can match internally. Dedicated threat management teams work around the clock to aggressively anticipate, prevent, and mitigate unauthorized access.

Native antivirus, anti-spam, and anti-malware software are included with Office 365 as standard. Email is protected with SSL/TLS both in transit and at rest, and all messages are checked with Exchange Online Protection (EOP). No matter whatever email provider the receivers use, Office 365’s Message Encryption feature enables users to send encrypted email to everyone.

Through Azure Rights Management, file-level access may be granted to certain users, ensuring that only individuals with the proper user credentials can access critical information. Multi-factor authentication further protects access to the service.