These were the words used by a potential new client last week during a meeting. The client has 5 PC’s running Windows 7 with no backup structure in place. They are also running Office 2003 which they are looking to upgrade. The owner had read somewhere that Office 365 backed up everything for a small monthly cost and was interested in my opinion. This is what I told him:
1. Lets take emails first. With an Office 365 subscription you are getting Exchange which means that you can have shared calenders and Outlook Web App which gives you access to your email folder structure from anywhere. Your contacts and calendar are also shared between your devices. With Office 365 Microsoft also guarantee 99.99% uptime (please correct me if I have missed off any 9’s) meaning your emails “should” never go down.
2. Office Suite. If you plump for a small business package at £8.40 per user per month you also get full copies of Office 2013 which each user can use on 5 devices. If you already use Office in your workplace then this might be of interest. If though you are like me and use opensource software like Libreoffice and Thunderbird (or even Evolution) this will be less of an attractive option.
3. Online storage. Office 365 gives you £25 GB of online storage per user through Skydrive Pro (about to become OneDrive for Business). I don’t like SkyDrive Pro as it is basically SharePoint of which I am not a big fan. Additionally I don’t like the idea of all the company files not being in a central store. With Office 365 all user files are stored in the users SkyDrive Pro account and not a central company account. If the users are primarily office based then I would tend to advise something like SkyDrive (not Pro) or Dropbox on a central server which shares files across a network. This way all the files are in one central store (along with being backed up online) and upper management can access them if required. I have only used the small business subscriptions so if this is different with the Enterprise packages then I apologise.
4. Overall cost. Personally I think the smaller the business the more attractive Office 365 subscriptions are. If you are part of a large organisation with 100’s of employees the costs would be staggering. For a small business (say less than 10 employees) for only £3.30 per user per month you get the full capabilities of Exchange Server for your emails without having to purchase and maintaining Windows Server 2012 R2 and Exchange 2013. This in itself is justification for purchasing a subscription.
So to wrap up I think that Office 365 is a really good platform for your emails but it does depend on the size of your business. The bigger the business the higher the costs.
The client is still trying to make up his mind.
About the Author
Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling and Falkirk.
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