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Myth Busting Monday: Office 365 Updates Will Break our Business Applications

Office365-Logo-and-textYour business depends on your employees being able to use business-critical applications.  You want and need your applications to be available and reliable, and the integration with Office needs to work.

Office 365 is Designed to Work with Your Business Applications

Microsoft is committed to Office 365 compatibility with the tools you use every day. They do this by:

  • Using one worldwide standard for desktop applications with the familiar tools you use and love, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
  • Minimizing object model and API changes in updates and fixed that might interfere with other applications. Chances are, if your business application works with Office 2010, 2013, or 2016 today, it will work with Office 365.
  • Closely collaborating with leading software vendors, providing them with tools, and helping them test and maintain compatibility with Office 365.
  • Providing you with best-practice guidance for update management and software development.
  • Allowing side-by-side installation of Office 365 ProPlus with older versions of office, giving you and your software vendors time to address any issues.

With a clear commitment backed by action, Microsoft lowers the risk of compatibility issues with Office 365 in ways that exceed their historical support for MS Office.


This is the ninth post in a multi-part series designed to help companies better assess the opportunity and value of cloud-based solutions. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation Cloud Advisor session to discuss your priorities and plans.


Myth Busting Monday: Skype and Skype for Business are the Same

Office365-Logo-and-textSkype and Skype for Business carry similar names and are sometimes confused as one and the same thing.  Both let you communicate for free between computers and hold online meetings. But that is where the similarities end.

Skype and Skype for Business are Very Different Services

Skype is a free consumer service designed for communicating with a small number of people. You can buy credits to make calls to traditional phone lines and mobile devices.

Skype for Business is a secure communication and collaboration service designed to boost productivity by letting people connect in the way that is best for them — chat, voice, video, etc.  Skype for business is more than a chat and calling app, your team can give presentations and attend meetings from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Skype for Business lets you run online meetings with up to 250 attendees, gives your enterprise security, lets you manage your employee accounts, and integrates with your Office apps and Office 365. The integration with Office 365 also includes:

  • Presence – See if somebody is available or busy at anytime
  • Instant IM – Start an IM session by double-clicking a contact name
  • Share – During meetings, share your desktop or a specific application
  • Include – Invite people outside your company to meetings with a full-feature web conferencing experience
  • See – Integrate video through webcams on any call or conference

With Skype for Business, you can skip the expensive web conferencing services, along with the hardware, software, and administration required for on-premise communication servers. You simply manage access, settings, and security.


This is the seventh of a multi-part series designed to help companies better assess the opportunity and value of cloud-based solutions. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation Cloud Advisor session to discuss your priorities and plans.


Myth Busting Monday: Cloud Lacks Security

Office365-Logo-and-textSecurity is still the biggest fear across SMBs considering the cloud.  IT leaders and C-level execs worry about spies, cyberthieves, governments, and vendors access their company’s data. This fear is unfounded.

You are the Sole Owner of Your Data; You Manage and Control Privacy and Access.

Like most reputable and trustworthy cloud providers, Microsoft runs the Office 365 based on several key principles:

  • Microsoft never mines your data for any reason other than to provide you with the Office 365 services
  • Microsoft’s staff does not have access to your data
  • If you leave Office 365, you can always take your data with you
  • You control the security and privacy settings; you determine who has access to what
  • Auditing and supervision prevent your admins from unauthorized access to your data

Beyond the core security and privacy capabilities of Microsoft Office 365, we offer additional configuration, tools, and services to ensure compliance with privacy regulations and/or your internal policies.

Fear not the lesser known security of the cloud. Learn, trust, and go.


This is the sixth of a multi-part series designed to help companies better assess the opportunity and value of cloud-based solutions. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation Cloud Advisor session to discuss your priorities and plans.


Myth Busting Monday: Cloud Migration is Too Much to Manage

Office365-Logo-and-textMany SMBs, when considering a move to the cloud, feel overwhelmed by the prospect of migrating.  Considering the amount of data and the capabilities of platforms like Microsoft Office 365, we understand your apprehension.

You Can Be Up and Running Quickly with Your Data in Place.

You do not need to go it alone. Our job is to help you every step of the way with information, expertise, experience, and tools.  We map out your migration, mitigate downtime and disruption, and provided the level of assistance you want and need.

For many organizations, we manage the entire migration project. For others, we assist with the planning and provide tools, training, and support as your team moves the data and on-boards your users.

We can also help with adoption, ensuring your team will be working effectively on day-one. Our live and self-paced learning tools get your team up and running and highlights the potential that comes with new and connected apps and services.

With the right level of expertise and support, your cloud migration will not be an overwhelming exercise. Your users will learn, adapt, and excel as you simplify your IT and expand your horizons.


This is the fifth of a multi-part series designed to help companies better assess the opportunity and value of cloud-based solutions. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation Cloud Advisor session to discuss your priorities and plans.


Myth-Busting Monday: Cloud is All or Nothing

Office365-Logo-and-textCloud computing is too often touted as the Holy Grail and the absolute future of information technology and services. The term “cloud computing” is overused to the point that most small and midsize business (SMB) decision makers remain confused about which products and services are actually “cloud”.  With the hype and confusion, comes the misperception and fear that moving your business to the cloud is an all-or-nothing decision.

Nearly All Cloud Implementations Start with a Hybrid Approach.

While diving into the deep end can be fun, you are safer and will have more fun if you first learn how to swim. We recommend that you start by moving specific applications or “workloads” to the cloud in a way that integrates with the rest of your systems and services.

For many, the first splash comes from email, calendars, and contacts. Moving from Exchange/Outlook to Office 365 gives you first-hand experience with the convenience, reliability, simplified management, and mobile accessibility of cloud solutions. We will include flotation devices, such as advanced spam/virus protection, email archiving/ediscovery, and encryption services to make sure you comply with regulations and policies. With unlimited support, you have a life raft to ensure your team will swim, not sink.

Your second swim is where the business value of cloud begins to grow. You improve your ability to collaborate, with additional communication tools and file sharing services. With tools ranging from Skype for Business and OneDrive to Sharepoint and Planner, you can streamline businesses processes. Your team learns to work together more efficiently.

Future swims quickly compound the business value of your cloud services, as you move business processes and applications.  The focus is to simplify your IT while improving the way you work. You can scale your resources to meet your needs, without big capital projects and without wasting your existing investments.

Start by defining your business goals and objectives, using these to drive your IT and information services priorities. From there, we can create a roadmap to the cloud that is pragmatic, effective, and affordable.


Looking to create or update your cloud strategy? Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation Cloud Advisor session to review your goals and create a roadmap.


This is the fourth of a multi-part series designed to help companies better assess the opportunity and value of cloud-based solutions.


Myth-Busting Monday: On-Premise is Safer Than Cloud

Office365-Logo-and-textJust because you can see it and touch it, does not mean it is safe and secure. With the number of successful ransomware attacks up more than 400% in the past year, it is increasingly clear that on-premise systems are not inherently more secure than they would be in the cloud. Many companies are hacked and remain unaware for weeks or months, as the use by cyber criminals of advanced persistent threats continues to rise.

Microsoft Office is secured with technologies and resources beyond the reach of nearly every small and mid-market business.

Large enterprises know that security is a full-time job, requiring a team of expensive experts and advanced technologies. And while large enterprise can afford to make this investment, most small and mid-size businesses do not have the resources to prevent, detect, and mitigate security issues.

Moving to Office 365, you enter an environment designed for security, backed by a team of security experts, industry leaders in regulatory compliance, and the latest security technologies and methods. Office 365 complies with the latest rules and regulations, including but not limited to:

  • HIPAA
  • Sarbanes-Oxley
  • Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)
  • ISO 27001
  • European Union (EU) Model Clauses and U.S.–EU Safe Harbor framework
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

And, with this security, you get a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

Thinking of going cloud — or expanding your cloud use — and remain concerned about security and data privacy, give us a chance to assess your needs and map out a solution.


This is the third of a multi-part series designed to help companies better asses the opportunity and value of cloud-based solutions.  Contact Us for more information or a free Cloud Advisor session.


Myth-Busting Monday: Cloud Means Less Control

Office 365 CloudCloud adoption continues to grow. Many business and IT leaders still have the misconception that moving data into the cloud means giving up control of your data or your technology.

In fact, when you move into Office 365 and other cloud services, you still have control over your IT environment. You have the admin tools to control the who, what, where, when, and how of your information and systems.

The role of your IS team shifts from technical issues to business issues.

When you move to the cloud, you give up most of the time spent maintaining hardware and upgrading software.  You no longer need to focus on maintenance, repairs, daily admin tasks, and upgrades. You free up the time you need to focus on improving business operations, developing new analytics and insights, and launching new and agile initiatives.

When you move to the cloud, you stop spending ever-increasing capital dollars on servers and storage while trying to match capacity with need.  Cloud solutions let you focus your IT spend on specific capabilities for specific roles and needs within your organization.

Moving to the cloud lets you think strategically and select solutions that support and respond to the needs of your managers and staff.

Think about how you want to improve your business, and contact us; we will help you select and deploy the cloud solution that can make it happen.


This is the second of a multi-part series designed to help companies better assess the opportunity and value of cloud-based solutions.  Contact Us for more information or a free Cloud Advisor session.


Myth-Busting Monday: Office 365 is not just Office “Online”

Office 365Even with the growing adoption, many still see Microsoft Office 365 as “Office in the Cloud”.

In fact, Office 365 is an entirely different suite of services.  Yes, Office 365 Business Premium and Enterprise licenses include the MS Office apps we know and use — Outlook, Work, Excel, Powerpoint, and more.  But Office 365 is not just a suite of productivity tools.

Microsoft Office 365 is a business communication, collaboration, and information management ecosystem.

Office 365 licenses can include:

  • OneNote – Multimedia note taking from any platform
  • SharePoint – Collaboration platform for file sharing, intranets, document management, workflows, and information management
  • OneDrive – Personal and shared file storage
  • Skype for Business – Voice, secure IM, video meetings, and presence management
  • Yammer – Social collaboration for business
  • Power BI – Wizard driven business analytics
  • Sway – Web 2.0 publishing to tell your story
  • Planner – Project and task management

As important as the suite of tools, Office 365 can change the way your team works together.  With your data secure and in the cloud, you share information rather than attaching files to endless chains of emails. Your team has the ability to work anytime, from anywhere, from nearly any device. Your people are connected because the data and information they use is connected.

So if you haven’t moved into the cloud, stop thinking of Office 365 as hosted email and some apps. Start thinking about how you want to improve your business. Then use Office 365 to make it happen.

Already on Office 365 and feel like you’re not using it to its fullest potential? Ask us about our adoption and engagement programs.


This is the first of a multi-part series designed to help companies better assess the opportunity and value of cloud-based solutions.  Contact Us for more information or a free Cloud Advisor session.