Microsoft Office is one of the most popular business applications and is currently used by approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide. It is hard to imagine that someone who has used a computer for the last 30 years has never dealt with Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and so on.
Millions of businesses use the Office to create and work with documents, communicate with coworkers, present content, and more. However, not everyone is aware of the great potential and a wide range of functionalities provided by the Microsoft 365 cloud-based package, previously Microsoft Office 365 (on April 21, 2020, Office 365 became the Microsoft 365 platform).
What is Microsoft 365?
The Microsoft Office 365 service was launched in 2011 as a response to the competitive suite of Google apps and it is a cloud-based computing platform that operates in the subscription model.
It contains all the key tools that can also be found in the classic Office i.e. Word, Excel, Teams, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote. Depending on the plan, it can also include Publisher, Planner, Exchange, SharePoint, Access.
There are many different Microsoft 365 licenses available – including personal, multi-user, corporate, nonprofit, and educational.
There are also online-only and mobile-only versions through which users can access the free but limited online version of Office for free.
How is Microsoft 365 different from the traditional Office?
Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based service, which means that instead of buying a copy of the package once and paying for it in advance, users pay a monthly subscription fee, thanks to which they gain access to the service at the level of their choice and for the duration of their choice.
As part of the subscription model, users always have access to the latest version as the platform is constantly updated by Microsoft. Thanks to this, people using Microsoft 365 do not have to buy new versions of the software to use the latest one.
Despite the fact that Microsoft 365 is originally built to run in the cloud, desktop versions of the application are also available in most plans. However, users do not need to install software as all applications, services, and data generated by Microsoft 365 are hosted on Microsoft’s servers.
Who is Microsoft 365 Business for?
Microsoft 365 Business offers much more than just word processing and editing of documents.
While most of the applications in Microsoft 365 Business provide companies with the core applications that they need to perform daily work, such as document creation, data management, and information transfer, Microsoft 365 also provides a comprehensive set of intelligent tools that enable organizations to increase productivity and efficiency.
Thanks to the capabilities of Microsoft 365, all applications and services are connected with each other, creating one coherent environment that facilitates teamwork, saving employees’ time, and enabling them to collaborate better thanks to such functionalities as team chat, shared calendar, online meetings, co-editing and sharing files and group e-mails.
The use of the cloud and mobile applications as part of Microsoft 365 also allows organizations to work from anywhere and at any time while maintaining safe access to data, conversations, tasks, and schedules from any device.
How will using Microsoft 365 improve work efficiency in your company?
Microsoft 365 is a toolset that increases the productivity of the entire organization, supports the productivity of individual employees, enables more effective communication and faster execution of tasks. Microsoft 365 enables, among others performing activities such as finding information, sharing knowledge, communicating with colleagues, processing data, planning and organizing events.
It’s quick and easy to use – reducing the time it takes to perform administrative tasks and leaving companies more space to focus on priority tasks – innovating, acquiring customers, improving customer experience, and growing their business.
The office suite as part of Microsoft 365 can also have a positive impact on the company’s finances. Subscription-based services are generally cheaper and more flexible as business circumstances change. Microsoft 365 does not require any investment in additional infrastructure as it is provided and fully operated by Microsoft. This reduces the need for specialized IT knowledge and resources that are necessary to manage an on-site infrastructure package and potentially lowers the costs of having your own IT backend.
How is Microsoft 365 different from G-Suite?
Microsoft 365 is a toolset that increases the productivity of the entire organization, supports the productivity of individual employees, enables more effective communication and faster execution of tasks. Microsoft 365 enables, among others performing activities such as finding information, sharing knowledge, communicating with colleagues, processing data, planning and organizing events. Works great for sales teams and marketing teams.
The situation has changed by the popularization of solutions based on cloud computing and the Google G-Suite package, which currently remains the only significant competition for Microsoft 365 / Office 365.
G-Suite also has its free version that supports word processing, communication, and e-mail hosting and a subscription version that targets businesses of all sizes.
However, a major advantage of Microsoft 365 is that it provides a more generous range of tools under similar subscription plans. The key difference is also the fact that Microsoft’s suite provides a desktop and offline version of its solution, as opposed to G-Suite, which works exclusively in the cloud.
The most important applications within Microsoft 365
Access to individual applications within Microsoft 365 varies depending on the license that has been purchased. However, each of them gives you access to the following services:
- Microsoft Teams
Some of these applications also have mobile versions that make it easier to work on the go. They include i.a. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive or OneNote. What is worth noting is that as part of the Microsoft 365 subscription, each user also gets 1 TB of disk space as part of the OneDrive cloud.
What is Microsoft SharePoint?
SharePoint is a flexible and responsive platform that enables data storage and circulation. It was launched in 2001 and is sold mainly as a document management and storage system, but thanks to the huge range of possible configurations, it can be used in many ways – depending on the needs of a given organization.
The solution is available under many Microsoft 365 plans as cloud-based SharePoint Online. In this case, it does not require SharePoint Server to be deployed locally. SharePoint Online allows to store and operate within 1 TB of data.
According to Microsoft, about 85% of Fortune 500 companies currently use SharePoint. Most of the value its flexibility as the main advantage, which makes it possible to adapt this solution to the needs of both small local companies and global corporations.
SharePoint allows users to:
- Creating, editing, managing and sharing documents, sharing insights with colleagues, within the company, department or team,
- Access to current information for individual employees and teams, thanks to tools such as task lists, e-calendar, etc.
- Informing employees about events and updates concerning the company’s life, using internal websites available for the entire organization,
- High level of data security and authorization policy,
- Downloading documents and working with them offline.
Read our article to learn more about Microsoft SharePoint
What is OneDrive?
OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud file storage service. OneDrive can store all kinds of files, including documents, pictures, music, and videos, and can be accessed, managed, and shared securely from almost any device, as long as it has internet access. OneDrive is where all files for Microsoft 365 users are stored and allows you to sync files between computers, browsers, and mobile devices.
All Microsoft 365 business and corporate users get access to 1 TB of OneDrive storage, and Enterprise E3 and E5 subscribers get unlimited cloud storage.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft decided to create Teams to enable better coordination of work in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, etc. Thanks to this, it is possible to exchange files faster, collaborate on them, and communicate quickly.
Microsoft Teams is not only a successor to Skype, it is also a multi-team workspace, flexible solution based on various forms of communication and collaboration.
It is a product distinguished by very extensive integration with Microsoft 365 applications. It combines the functions of chat, document sharing, interactive calendar, project management tools, and more.
Do you want to learn more? Read our Microsoft Teams article.
What is Microsoft Exchange?
Microsoft Exchange is an e-mail server from Microsoft and is the foundation on which the Microsoft Outlook e-mail client works. All activities that take place in this tool – incoming and outgoing e-mail, tasks, contacts, calendars, are stored and processed on the Exchange server. Thanks to Microsoft Exchange, the organization has the opportunity to create its own independent e-mail system.
Microsoft 365 and security
Data is one of the most valuable assets of all businesses. The consequences of compromising their security can be very serious, as we have heard about in many cases in recent years.
Data within Microsoft 365 is stored in Microsoft data centers. Their safety is supervised by special teams of advanced security specialists who constantly monitor any suspicious activities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thanks to multi-stage security, both digital and physical – the level of security provided by Microsoft 365 is one of the highest in the world, which under normal conditions would not be available to smaller companies.
Microsoft 365 comes in standard with anti-virus, anti-spam and anti-malware software. Information flow is monitored with Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and e-mail is encrypted with SSL/TLS.
The Message Encryption feature also allows users to send encrypted e-mail to anyone, no matter what e-mail provider they were using.
At the file level, access can be assigned to individual users through the Azure Rights Management service, so that only people with the correct user credentials can access sensitive information, and multi-factor authentication prevents unwanted access to the service.
Do you want to learn more about Microsoft 365 or implement it in your company?