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Why are businesses choosing office 365 for their remote work environments?

Microsoft Office 365, the cloud-based, AI-enhanced version of the familiar Office software suite, is used by the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies. And now that businesses of all sizes are increasing their remote work capabilities at breakneck speed, Office 365 is seeing even higher rates of adoption. Why is that?

It promises to deliver everything a business needs to stay productive and secure while working remotely, but so does G Suite from Google, and there are many third party apps making the claim as well. So why are so many businesses choosing Office 365 over the alternatives to create their remote work environments? There are several distinct reasons, so let’s take a closer look at the major ones.

What is Office 365 and what apps are included?

Office 365 is powered by Microsoft and enables you to perform business processes online with a collection of tools allowing you to create, collaborate, share, and store your work in the cloud.

It offers Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and more. With Office 365, you have access to online versions of Microsoft Office as well as the desktop versions. This is a big distinction for many businesses since the desktop versions of familiar applications like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are extremely desirable. Rich in features, these applications are the best of their kind on the market.

It makes working with other organizations easier

One of the reasons a lot of businesses choose Office 365 is because a lot of other businesses use Office 365. This seems like circular reasoning until you consider how much productivity can be lost due to incompatibility. If a company is collaborating with a partner organization that uses a different suite of software, slowdowns, frustration, and other problems are a constant risk.

Businesses in their startup phase often choose a cheaper, leaner suite of tools like G Suite, then run into problems when they grow large enough to work with more established companies, who typically use Office 365. Having to convert documents is a pain at the best of times, as is learning to use new, redundant apps. The risk of errors, as well as possible resentment from the partner company, grows exponentially.

But since Office 365 apps are so well integrated with each other, it makes collaborating with other organizations who use the same apps simple and easy. This mitigates many of the risk factors posed by remote work, while increasing productivity and improving partner relations. So if a company has ambitions to join the big leagues, using Office 365 presents the organization as a mature operation.

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Office 365 is the productivity suite of choice of today’s businesses; and it’s what you need to step into the future. Learn more about Office 365 by reading our free eBook, A 360° Look at Office 365

Download now!

Ability to scale

The ability to grow along with your productivity solutions is a huge factor for many businesses. While basic plans and simple solutions will do for small businesses just getting started, they don’t offer a substantial long-term solution for a growing business.

Many established companies have chosen Office 365, with more than 90% of Fortune 500 firms using at least one cloud enterprise service. Anyone doing business with Fortune 500 companies and other large established vendors can more seamlessly collaborate if they are already set up with Office 365. Starting with Microsoft’s solutions gets your business ahead of the game, reducing future business-to-business headaches.

Higher security

Cybersecurity is a concern at all times for every business, but for those transitioning to remote work it becomes absolutely critical. Home devices and networks are not nearly as secure as their office counterparts, so business leaders must take more precautions and use the most secure software available to protect their data. Fortunately for Microsoft users, Office 365 operates on the most well defended cloud platform on the market.

As a titan of the tech industry, Microsoft has invested more into their cloud platform security than any other company. Office 365 does not bring the security flaws of many third party remote work apps, and boasts several advanced security features that G Suite and the third parties cannot match.

Office 365 communication and collaboration tools, like Teams for virtual meetings and Outlook for email, all support encryption. They are also designed with compliance in mind, making it easy for users to meet requirements for HIPAA, BAA, FISMA, various EU regulations, and many more. Office 365 also offers add-ons for additional layers of security, like active threat detection. These are bonuses in a traditional office environment, but in a vulnerable remote work environment they are vital.

Better for collaboration

So Office 365 delivers integration and security at the organizational level, but what about the employees on the ground using these apps day in and day out? For collaboration, office 365 includes real time, synchronous communication tools such as Teams and Yammer, as well as asynchronous communication tools like the Outlook and the Exchange email solutions. These generally have a steeper learning curve than their G Suite or third party counterparts, but they make up for it with better features, integration, and security.

The familiar Outlook and Exchange email platforms are highly encrypted and easy to use, so they fit the bill for secure remote working. Competitors like Gmail are comparable in functionality, but where Office 365 pulls ahead is in the real time collaboration capabilities of Teams.

Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that provides chat, video meetings, and file sharing. It’s integrated with the other applications of the Office 365 platform. Google’s similar Meet and Hangouts collaboration tools are easy to set up and use right away, but their bare bones features aren’t suited for business use. Instead, many G Suite users resort to third party products like Slack or Workplace. These standalone apps offer some of the functionality of Teams, but they come with standalone pricing whereas Teams is included with Office 365 plans.

Furthermore, Office 365’s Teams beats out the third party apps in many areas. For example, with premium paid plans from Slack, users can make conference calls with up to 15 participants. With Teams, users can hold video conferences with up to 250 participants, regardless of the Office 365 plan they are on. Similarly, the security of Teams’ virtual meeting and conferencing platform is fully developed, without the failings evolving third party apps like Zoom are experiencing.

So while a G Suite + 3rd party hybrid solution might seem useful in a pinch to communicate with a remote workforce, it simply isn’t as capable as Office 365 Teams. If a business is going to take remote work seriously and set up an environment of seamless communication comparable to working in the office, the all-inclusive toolset of Office 365 is better in the long run.

The bottom line

If your business works with larger organizations, or aspires to, you should choose Office 365 to ensure your documentation, processes, and security protocols align. The same holds true if you’re transitioning to a remote work environment but want to maintain the option of desktop versions of commonly used office applications like Outlook, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

If you work entirely online and only need an email provider, G Suite may be the right option for your business. Since many of the G Suite resources are free to use, many new business owners are already familiar with tools like Google Docs and Google Sheets. Choose this option if you have no plans to expand your business or work with organizations that are already established on Office 365.

Want to Learn More? Take A 360° Look at Office 365

Get a detailed look at Office 365, including Microsoft Teams, as well as lesser known features that can optimize your office functions. Download our free Office 365 eBook.

We’re here to answer your questions about Microsoft Teams and Office 365. Talk to an expert at Terminal B about business productivity solutions, streamlining operations, leveraging the cloud, and how you can boost your bottom line. We’re your single source for effortlessly reliable business technology.
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Office 365 productivity hacks you may not know about

Most small businesses rely on technology solutions to perform their day-to-day tasks. One indispensable solution is Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based subscription service that includes online versions of standard Office applications like Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, as well as collaboration apps like Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

You are probably familiar with some of these apps because you’ve been using them on your PC, but did you know that Office 365 allows you to do things in the cloud that you can’t do with the desktop version? Here are some of those features and how they can boost your productivity:

  • Collaborate in real-time

Office 365 allows several users to work on a document simultaneously. This feature lets file owners see other users’ activity on a document in real-time, eliminating the need to send files back and forth over email when collaborating. You can also use the built-in chat or voice features to communicate with your colleagues, eliminating the need for a separate messaging app while working.

  • Pick up where you left off in Word

Whenever you’re connected to the internet, Word bookmarks your current page and syncs that information across all your devices. Switch from mobile to desktop and back again, and immediately continue working right where you left off.

  • Organize your team with Planner

Planner is a task management app that comes with your Office 365 subscription. With it, you can assign tasks, set due dates, and share files in a simple and organized way. You also gain visibility on the state of your projects, as each board shows who’s working on what, which projects are on schedule, and which are delayed.

Download our free eBook!

Office 365 is the productivity suite of choice of today’s businesses; and it’s what you need to step into the future. Learn more about Office 365 by reading our free eBook, A 360° Look at Office 365

Download now!

  • Link OneNote to Outlook

Office 365 makes it easier to share items from your personal device with your teammates. For starters, you can convert OneNote items into Outlook calendar events complete with date, time, and location, or distribute the minutes of a meeting from your OneNote via your Outlook email.

  • Share large files efficiently

If you’re looking to send large or multiple files to your peers, upload them to Office 365’s cloud storage instead of sending them as email attachments. Email attachments have file size limits, but Office 365 gives each user 50GB of default storage. This means you can upload any size of file and then simply share the link via email or a messaging app. Your team can then access the file on any device without the need to download it.

  • Enhance your experience with third-party tools

Office 365 integrates with hundreds of third-party apps that let you complete a huge range of tasks smoothly and securely. Request e-signatures, collect customer feedback, or send money straight from Outlook with just a few clicks. Browse for the tool you need at the Office store and start enjoying more integrated and intuitive workflows.

Terminal B is a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Partner

We are proud to be one of only 300 verified CSP Partners in the United States, and one of the largest in Texas. As the premier CSP partner of Texas businesses, we leverage your Office 365 subscription so you can attain maximum productivity while meeting compliance and security standards.

Customize your Office 365 plan with Terminal B

Terminal B offers affordable and tailor-made Office 365 plans that give predictability to your business budget. Pay only for the services or apps you need, and easily scale up your technology when you need to.

Are you ready to drive business growth with Office 365? Call us at (512) 643-9038 or fill out this form to reach us today.

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3 Office 365 features that make eDiscovery a breeze

The growth of business data is too rapid for any manual or traditional method of processing. Processing and sifting through a company’s data has become nearly impossible given the sheer speed and volume by which data is produced and housed in an organization’s digital tools and databases.

Electronic discovery or eDiscovery is the automated process of identifying, collecting, reviewing, and exchanging business data for use in litigation or investigation. Unsurprisingly, eDiscovery is a long and complicated process. But this has birthed an entire industry of solutions for its various stages, with Microsoft’s Office 365 being just one of them. What makes Office 365’s eDiscovery feature unique?

Microsoft’s enterprise productivity suite, Office 365, has built-in tools that can process eDiscovery requests by going through data scattered among its many tools easily, quickly, and cost-efficiently. Let’s take a look at Content Search, eDiscovery Cases, and Advanced eDiscovery.

What is Content Search and eDiscovery Cases?

eDiscovery is the core function of Office 365’s Security and Compliance Center. Its Content Search uses criteria like keywords, custodians, and date ranges to identify, preserve, and collect business data scattered in Office 365’s suite of cloud-based tools, such as Exchange Online mailboxes, Office 365 groups, Teams, Skype for Business conversations, Sharepoint Online, and OneDrive for Business sites.

Without analysis capabilities, Content Search’s results can become bloated with irrelevancies if the volume of unstructured data is massive. When that happens, identifying relevant content requires a professional third-party solution. However, organizations now have the option to do it themselves with Office 365’s Advanced eDiscovery powerful data management and analytics features.

eDiscovery Cases is another basic eDiscovery functionality in the Security and Compliance Center. It’s a management tool that allows organizations to control who can create, access, and manage eDiscovery workflows for legal investigations. This preserves content locations from being tampered with and prevents unwanted eyes by placing them on hold. The Content Search tool can go through those locations to find content that needs to be extracted. Case content can then be prepared for further analysis by third-parties or through Advanced eDiscovery.

What are the benefits of Content Search and eDiscovery Cases?

Their primary advantage is enabling organizations their own preliminary searches and early data assessments for legal proceedings and investigations. This kind of in-house search and assessment is quick, cost-effective, and is secure, since it doesn’t expose corporate data to external eyes.

Using eDiscovery Cases, requests for relevant content can easily be entertained. There’s no need for content to be moved, archived for preservation, and indexed for search.

And because Microsoft designed Office 365 for the cloud, it gives its eDiscovery tools global availability. They can be used in any locale or situation where an organization needs to find and access content for legal, compliance, and investigation purposes. It isn’t restricted to on-premises collection of data.

What is Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery?

Available for customers with Microsoft Enterprise E5 licenses, Advanced eDiscovery adds analysis capabilities with text analytics, predictive coding, machine learning, and optical character recognition. Organizations can assess the relevance of all documents, remove redundancies and irrelevancies from data sets, and then automatically cluster the remaining documents.

What are the benefits of Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery?

Advanced eDiscovery makes in-house case assessment much easier and more cost effective. Through predictive coding, it separates relevant from irrelevant documents and detects documents that have similar or identical content. It also eliminates email threading or only recognizes the new, unique messages in an email thread, removing earlier copied content in previous messages.

These functions dramatically reduce the work needed to gather content and the size of data exports. Without these Advanced eDiscovery capabilities, huge amounts of data from Content Search can be bloated with irrelevant and duplicate data.

With machine learning, advanced text analytics, and multi-dimensional analyses of data collections, Advanced eDiscovery allows you to explore an organization’s unstructured corporate data and find what you need, making quick informed decisions on case strategies possible.

Looking for relevant data for legal cases in your organization doesn’t have to be difficult. Not only does Office 365 have a suite of productivity tools to make collaborative work and communication better, it also makes legal investigations and corporate security and compliance easier and more cost-effective. Contact us and let Terminal B’s experts help make your eDiscovery tasks so much easier with Office 365.

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