To stay on top of the demands of your business, it’s essential to have reliable productivity software. Through the years, Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have saved companies countless hours doing repetitive and manual paper-based work. And now, with the help of the cloud-based Office 365 platform, you can access documents on mobile devices, automate workflows across applications, organize teamwork, and analyze work activities.
As of the fourth quarter of 2018, there are more than 135 million commercial users of Office 365, Microsoft’s line of subscription services for its Office products. Despite this, many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are still unaware of what Office 365 is, or how it differs from the traditional software suite used in homes. As a result, some companies have stayed away from it, and are now missing out on incredible productivity and business process enhancements.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions regarding Office 365:
#1. Subscription plans aren’t cost-effective
A common misconception among SMBs is that a monthly subscription isn’t a practical idea, as this would mean they’ll have to pay as long as they are using Office 365. Some would say that it’s only a way for Microsoft to keep the money flowing.
A lifetime license is more costly by at least a couple hundred dollars compared to an annual subscription to Office 365. With this in consideration, it’s easy to think that the former gives you more bang for your buck. However, while your programs may get software patches and bug fixes, they are not eligible for version upgrades, and Microsoft will eventually cut off support for them.
With a subscription model, however, you will continue to receive the newest features and tools, which will help your business function more smoothly.
#2. Office 365 can’t be used offline
Because Office 365 is a cloud-based service, people sometimes get confused about what is included in the service. Specifically, some assume that since desktop versions of Office suites are included via lifetime licenses, Office 365 must then only contain web-based variants. As a result, people turn away from it as the online versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are less feature-packed than the desktop counterparts.
However, they aren’t doing themselves any favors with this assumption. Except for two Office tiers, all Office 365 plans include web-based and desktop versions of Office applications. This means you can be use the desktop apps of Office 365 offline, but you’ll enjoy extra features if you’re online, such as file sharing and immediate access to new feature updates. Some tiers even offer more tools that enable remote work and collaboration.
It’s important to note, however, that being offline prevents Office 365 from syncing the newest version of your file to OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud-based storage facility. If you’re constantly on-the-go and need to access a file on a mobile device, you'll need to sync that file to OneDrive first to work on the latest version.
#3. Office 365 prevents me from controlling my IT
Because files will be hosted in the cloud, some businesses think they will lose control over their data. They think moving files to the cloud is like sending an email to a partner company — the information is no longer secure and can be distributed anywhere once it leaves your organization.
However, Office 365 and other Microsoft services actually bolster your control over your data. To illustrate, Azure Rights Management only lets authorized people and services read the information you send. The protection will remain with the data even when it’s distributed outside your organization.
Beyond this, Office 365 allows you to spend less time maintaining your software, giving you more time for more important matters and processes that boost the efficiency of your operations.
#4. Data is not safe in Office 365
It’s a common misconception that because your files will be hosted in the internet, cybercriminals can easily hack into your system and view, alter, steal, or delete your files. But in reality, your files are safer in Office 365 because it encrypts data at rest and in transit so prying eyes can't read them. They are also backed up in geo-redundant servers so natural calamities can’t wipe them out. Ultimately, this makes disaster recovery easier.
Many also believe that Microsoft, governments, and third-party entities have access to the data, or that you no longer own the data once they are hosted in Microsoft’s cloud. It’s important to remember your files are always encrypted, you remain the sole owner of your data, and Microsoft will not sell it for advertising purposes.
#5. Office 365 does not comply with state and federal regulations
Business owners have to comply with certain industry regulatory requirements, and these can vary from one industry to the next. Failure to follow the regulations can be costly, and this has created an idea that migrating to the cloud means non-compliance.
Office 365 has a built-in Security & Compliance Center tool that manages data security. Subscribing to any Office 365 plan entitles you to a set of security features that help businesses comply with state and federal regulations. This will vary depending on the package you choose.
It’s easy to see how misconceptions can make enterprises wary about Office 365. And now that you know the truth, you can leave misguided competitors behind by taking advantage of Microsoft's cloud-powered productivity tools.
Want to know which Office 365 plan is suitable for your business? We can help. PC Lan Techs is a Florida-based IT company with a Certified Microsoft Partner status, and our team of experts is more than ready to help you get the most out of Office 365 for maximum productivity. Call us today and make us your partner for success.
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