MS Office 365 is a web-based version of Microsoft’s Office Suite. It includes access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the internet like Exchange Online hosted email for business, Lync web conferencing, OneDrive, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams etc. It also includes some premium apps like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote. All these come bundled with Office 365 and it is no wonder that it is considered as a one stop shop. Office 365 provides a good experience of apps and services, designed to help you pursue your passion and grow your business. Through these apps you can collaborate with your co-workers in your office like sharing screens or having audio and video conversations etc. You can also make presentations with good integrated features. With all these coveted features, many organizations highly desire to make the final move to Office 365 from their existing set-ups.
Top reasons to consider Office 365 over on-premises Exchange Server
- All the data reside locally in an Exchange server. Although you have more control over your data in terms of security, it is at a greater risk when there is a hardware failure or a disaster.
- Cost of Electricity, Exchange server hardware, network, security certificates, periodic maintenance, installation charges and licensing become heavily expensive over due course of time for an organization.
- Any updates to hardware and software result in frequent downtimes. There is also no facility to receive on the fly updates in case of an Exchange server.
- Office 365 costs may vary as time progresses. The interface changes may not be easy for Exchange users to adopt at a later stage.
- There is no option in on-premises Exchange Server to upgrade or downgrade according to the requirements.
- Office 365 comes bundled with variety of apps all in one place. This feature is not present in Exchange server.
Let us consider these points in detail below
Advantages of moving to Office365
- Scalability: You can get same storage quota for email like 50GB that can be accessed over multiple different platforms using ActiveSync. You can add new users or decrease the number of users every month.
- Access your data from anywhere: Portability is one feature of Office 365 worth highlighting. All the services can be accessed from any device any-time. Let us say that you forgot to carry an important presentation to a meeting or a conference. With Office 365 you can easily access it through your mobile phone or any PC connected to the internet. If no internet is available, files in OneDrive for Business have the ability to sync locally for quick access from the desktop. This is one of the best benefits your business can possibly have. All these services are connected to one login account. There is no need to remember extra login credentials for every app or service.
- Cost cutting: There are different subscription plans to choose from, to suit your needs. If you consider all the overhead of installing, maintenance, electricity, hardware costs, updates to hardware and software over time, Office 365 provides simple solution without having to micro manage all these aspects. Maintenance of Office 365 servers are handled by Microsoft.
- Security: You don’t have to worry about keeping security updates, manage certificates, licensing, extra personal to handle the security etc. With Office 365 you get all the enhancements and latest updates released right away. What’s more, Office 365 being a cloud service ensures high security as they are encrypted using Microsoft’s global standards. The data in the cloud also functions as a backup, should you plan to download all the mails to your local mail client.
- Data: Data management involves huge risk and cost when having to maintain backup, integrity and reliability of it. You have multi-factor authentication option that enables more security in Office 365. It also gives safety from natural disasters which on premises set-ups won’t have.
- Availability: Upgrades happen automatically in the background and thus there are no downtimes for maintenance. This is a crucial part for any business to run smoothly. No unnecessary overheads of making sure things run as expected after the completion of the maintenance.
- Collaboration: Office 365 Apps like SharePoint and Teams facilitate collaboration and team work. It is now easy for groups in the organization to interact, share files and discuss on a common agenda. File can be edited across teams without having to worry about the data being overwritten. SharePoint sites can be utilized to convey information within an organization.
Disadvantages of moving to Office 365
- Administration: You will not have full control over all the activities. Subscription plans might not be fully suitable for medium sized organizations or seasonal business units and hence may not be so cost-effective.
- Migration & Rollback: The process of switching from an existing Exchange server on premises setup to Office 365 can be a complex process depending upon the version and existing environment of the Exchange server. Rolling back from Office 365 to Exchange server on premises can be confusing or even laborious without proper support available. For example, organizations wishing to migrate from older versions of Exchange to Office 365 have little options available to perform direct migrations without encountering issues midway.
- Security & Privacy: There will be concerns from users about privacy and security of data being stored in the cloud and in Microsoft’s data centres. Data deletion after the account termination and how it achieves compliance with laws of country is a question to ponder over. Encryption keys used are not in your possession alone. For establishments like banks, financial units and healthcare organizations, storing data in the cloud might seem terrifying as they must maintain strict data confidentiality.
- Bandwidth: Network bandwidth can cost a lot depending on where you are situated. Internet facility may not be available all the time and hence connectivity issues can occur. Accessing data can therefore become slow due to bandwidth limitations.
If you want to achieve a stress free Office 365 migration, you can go for third party tool called EdbMails Office 365 Migration which has features like incremental migration, public folder migration, archive mailbox migration, automatic reconnection during internet connection disruption, zero downtime etc.