Managing day-to-day operations of a business is a constant task for small business owners that involves wearing many hats and juggling multiple tasks at once. Keeping in touch with employees, keeping data secure, and collaborating to achieve business goals are all incredibly important items, but it can be difficult to manage at times. Microsoft 365 is a productivity solution that can help with all of these tasks, but what does this solution involve?
Recently, I sat down with NetGain’s Dustin Nichols, a Consulting Engineer with 15 years of experience in the I.T. industry, to discuss what Microsoft 365 is, as well as how it can help small to medium sized businesses. Dustin has years of experience deploying this solution.
What is Microsoft 365?
Simply put, Microsoft 365 is a suite of cloud tools that provides communication, collaboration and security all under one umbrella. Essentially it’s the new email communication platform for small, medium, and large businesses, and has Office applications that businesses can leverage as well.
What are the benefits of using Microsoft 365 for a business?
One of the biggest reasons to engage this solution is the flexibility. It can grow and expand as your business grows. You only pay for what you use, so if you start out with 5 employees and then you add 10 within a year, you can expand the solution. Alternatively, if your business stops expanding or you decrease your number of employees, you can maintain or decrease the number of Microsoft 365 licenses for your business. There’s cost savings because you don’t pay for a bunch of licenses up front that you may not use.
One of things companies don’t have time or expertise to handle is security. Microsoft 365 provides several security features. One feature many business take advantage of is advanced threat protection. Advanced threat protection is a way to protect your environment from new and emerging threats that come into email.
Beyond email communication, another benefit is instant messaging using Microsoft Teams with other team members. Collaboration is a great feature. For example, you can be on a video call and then create and edit a word document in real time with other team members.
Microsoft 365 is future-proof. You’re always getting new technologies when they’re rolled out and you don’t have to buy new versions of software every couple of years to get the latest and greatest tools and features. Microsoft rolls those out on an ongoing basis.
Why do business owners/your clients typically choose to use the solution?
Clients want to reduce their on-premise footprint; so moving physical server data to the cloud. One of the first steps in migrating to the cloud is moving to Microsoft 365 which allows them to get rid of their on-premise email server. This improves security, as Microsoft provides the tools to secure your data in the cloud rather than having to worry about securing the physical server.
Why do you, yourself, recommend Microsoft 365? Are there any times when you would not recommend it?
Up to this point (Dustin has deployed it for almost 7 years now), I have yet to see a reason not to recommend it, given it’s flexibility. It brings value to both businesses and Microsoft itself.
If a client is talking about upgrading their on-premise Exchange server, for smaller businesses with a small number of end users, it doesn’t make sense to keep paying for a physical server, so I often recommend moving to this solution. Most of your small businesses will find more advantages to moving to Microsoft 365, including removing the need to have someone on staff that can manage the on-premise hardware and software.
What are examples of competitors?
Google offers their G-Suite products, which have similar features such as Gmail, Google Docs, data manipulation tools. The major difference is security. G-Suite is not quite up to where Microsoft is with their security features like advanced threat protection, data loss prevention, or encryption. G-Suite relies on a lot of third parties for those solutions which is not ideal.
Does Microsoft 365 sound like it could help your business productivity? Contact NetGain to discuss moving to the cloud today.
Tech Talk Series: NetGain has a variety of subject matter experts on aspects across the technological spectrum. In our series, Tech Talk, we gain insights from these experts to bring you insight and understanding on topics such as security, I.T. infrastructure, and more.