Office 365: Go Beyond Email When Microsoft® Office 365™ gets brought up in conversation, most people tend to immediately think of email. However, email is only a small component of Office 365. Office 365 is a cloud-service subscription plan for Microsoft Office software products. With an Office 365 subscription, you can download and access applications via the internet, such as Skype for Business, Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. Microsoft offers a free trial of these applications, and provides availability on up to five devices, giving you the flexibility to work from almost anywhere. Office 365 plans are offered as a service via a subscription model. Many businesses will pay monthly, based on the number of users (or employees) they have accessing the software. Since Office 365 is a hosted solution, it can offer employees greater flexibility and also help the organization reduce costs. Office 365 also provides the following benefits: Essential Office 365 Applications Office 365 includes the essential Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint. These applications always include the latest updates and features, which help increase productivity. Office 365 applications allow you to collaborate in real-time, as well as quickly and easily share documents. Secure Email for Businesses With Microsoft Exchange, you get a hosted email platform for your organization that’s accessible through phones, tablets, computers, or the internet. Most importantly, it’s secure with built-in message encryption, ensuring your emails are protected. Exchange also has anti-malware and anti-spam filtering, data loss prevention capabilities, redundant severs, and disaster recovery options. Microsoft promises 99.9 percent uptime guarantee with Exchange. Online Storage Microsoft OneDrive provides online storage for all of your files. Anything you upload to OneDrive is secure and easily shareable, allowing you to stay efficient and collaborative. With access to the entire Microsoft Office suite, OneDrive also allows you to edit your documents in real-time. This makes collaboration that much simpler. Advanced Communication Capabilities Office 365 includes Skype for Business, which gives you collaboration software to easily connect your remote employees. This lets you collaborate through any device, utilizing Skype’s conferencing, video, chatting and sharing functions. Free for Qualified Nonprofits Did you know that Microsoft offers certain Office 365 applications for free to qualified nonprofit organizations? In order to be eligible for a free subscription to Office 365, there are several qualifications that your nonprofit organization must meet. Nonprofits must have 501(c)(3) status under the United States Internal Revenue Code, and must support a mission that positively impacts the local community, such as providing relief to the poor, advancing education, or improving social welfare. For more details, visit the Microsoft website. If your nonprofit organization fits under one of these qualifications, then you can apply for either of the two free subscriptions - Office 365 Nonprofit Business Essentials or Office 365 Nonprofit E1. You can also apply for other discounted plans, which offer more services and applications than the free plans. For the discounted plans, you pay per user every month. For a full list of the plans and services, click here. Making the Switch Children & Families of Iowa recently made the switch to Office 365. Dusty Hamilton, an MIS Coordinator for the nonprofit, explained the reasoning behind their decision. “The biggest thing for us was the ability to plan and budget for a monthly expense, instead of replacing servers and upgrading software. We have improved our high availability and disaster-recovery processes and we don’t have to manage an Exchange server anymore. The email encryption component improves our data security as well.” This scenario is true for many organizations. In fact, IDG Enterprise reported that 48 percent of enterprises are moving to the cloud to replace on-premise, legacy technology. Spiceworks revealed that for 2018, budget increases for hosted/cloud budgets had the highest ranking among organizations, large and small. As a certified partner and provider of Microsoft, Aureon has performed hundreds of migrations. Office 365 can be a major benefit, and the features listed above are just some of the ways that Office 365 could improve security, mobility, and efficiency. Have you considered using Office 365? Scott Hardee Scott Hardee is a Business Solutions Manager at Aureon Technology. Scott's focused on figuring out what his clients issues are and working together to overcome those hurdles to provide the right solutions. With a focus on healthcare, CPA's, nonprofits/charity, and general small to medium-sized business, he's always working to build long-term relationships to help make the ever-changing world of IT easier to handle for his team and his clients. Aureon Technology provides end to end IT and communications solutions and has locations throughout the Midwest, including Des Moines, Omaha, and Kansas City.