10 Ways Microsoft Fortified Office 365 for Enterprises

10 Ways Microsoft Fortified Office 365 for Enterprises
The Cloud Matters to Some Customers
Microsoft Is Still Tied to Desktops
Outlook Lovers Make Office 365 a Must-Have
Collaboration Is at the Center of the Sales Pitch
Microsoft Understands the Corporate World's Support Pursuit
Office 365 Service Plans Include Mobile as an Option
For Most Companies, the Cost Is Reasonable
Of Course Cloud Storage Is an Important Feature
Microsoft Makes the Security Sales Pitch
The Cloud Wouldn't Be Complete Without Social Networking
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10 Ways Microsoft Fortified Office 365 for Enterprises

By Don Reisinger

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The Cloud Matters to Some Customers

While the enterprise has been a key reason for growth in the cloud, not every major organization wants to go online. Microsoft, however, has acknowledged that the cloud matters with Office 365 and offers its full productivity suite online. Be aware, however, that not all of the features in the desktop version are available online.

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Microsoft Is Still Tied to Desktops

One of the nice things about most of the business Office 365 plans is that they come with the ability for users to download Microsoft's suite of desktop apps. Office 365 Midsize Business, for example, comes with desktop versions of all of Microsoft's programs, including Word and Excel, and can be installed locally on up to five PCs or Macs.

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Outlook Lovers Make Office 365 a Must-Have

If it's Outlook that's keeping companies invested in Microsoft, Office 365 has quickly become the only rational way to go for most firms. Microsoft offers full Outlook access online for remote employees, but is also available as a free download on computers. Microsoft has taken the Gmail model for online email and improved its own desktop solution. Although the debate rages over which platform is best, it's hard to take too much issue with Microsoft's Outlook.

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Collaboration Is at the Center of the Sales Pitch

Collaboration is central to Microsoft's Office 365 sales pitch. The company has said that customers who buy into its platform will find that its suite of applications, most notably its integration of a cloud-based SharePoint, makes it a suitable collaboration platform for companies of all sizes. The company might be on to something.

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Microsoft Understands the Corporate World's Support Pursuit

Support is everything in the enterprise world. That's why Microsoft has made clear that all of its Office 365 plans include both community and phone support. The company says its platform allows for "IT-level Web support and 24/7 phone support for critical issues." For enterprise users, that's a key ingredient when deciding whether to invest in Office 365.

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Office 365 Service Plans Include Mobile as an Option

As CEO Satya Nadella made clear in his manifesto on the future of Microsoft this summer, his company is both cloud- and mobile-first in its thinking. That's why some of Microsoft's Office 365 plans include mobile application support. Small Business Premium and Office 365 Midsize Business both come with support for its mobile apps, along with Enterprise E3 and E4. Keep that in mind before choosing a plan.

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For Most Companies, the Cost Is Reasonable

Although Microsoft has been criticized by some for going with an annual fee for its Office 365 platform, the company's pricing is reasonable. Its Small Business package starts at $5 per user per month, while its midsize deal is $12.50 per user per month. Office 365 Enterprise E4, which is essentially Microsoft's top package for corporate users, costs $22 per user per month. While Google's own Business Apps service is $50 per user per year, Microsoft argues it's giving customers more for what they're getting. It's up to the enterprise to decide whether that's true.

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Of Course Cloud Storage Is an Important Feature

No surprise here, but cloud storage is available in Microsoft's Office 365 plans. Outlook comes with 50GB of storage space per user, but the company also delivers 1TB of storage for each user on OneDrive for Business. Cloud storage is an integral component in Microsoft's cloud-first plans, so it's no surprise the company is so bullish on offering storage space to users.

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Microsoft Makes the Security Sales Pitch

Microsoft has made an important security sales pitch with Office 365. The company says that its platform comes with full "premium" anti-malware protection and anti-spam filtering. While that might seem like a standard feature, it's important for corporate customers to hear. Microsoft doesn't have the best track record in security, so to make clear that it's doing all it can to safeguard its services should help CIOs make the pitch to the business side that remembers all too well the trials and tribulations of using Microsoft software in the past.

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The Cloud Wouldn't Be Complete Without Social Networking

Microsoft's acquisition of Yammer, a business social network, was met with some skepticism by those who wondered why the service would make such a difference to the software giant. Now years later, Microsoft has answered that question by bundling Yammer into its Office 365. However, Yammer Enterprise is available only to Office 365 Midsize Business, and E3 and E4 Enterprise plans.

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