In this blog we summarize the main features of Microsoft’s cloud-based business solutions, run through the differences and explain how you can stay safe in the cloud. All Microsoft products support telecommuting and communicating with colleagues and clients regardless of time and place.
Microsoft has just renamed some of its licences, and this blog also explains what has changed. The new product names are in effect as of 21 April 2020.
Office 365 is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) version of the Microsoft Office suite. It gives corporate users access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office software, including security and feature updates, over the life of the subscription. The easiest way to sign up for the service is to outsource all billing, licensing and user support to a knowledgeable partner.
SMEs (with up to 300 users) can choose from the following Office 365 options:
Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly Office 365 Business Essentials)
The Business Basic plan only includes the cloud and mobile versions of Office applications and no desktop versions like the rest of the plans described below. The plan comes with a professional e-mail service and a custom e-mail domain. Each licensed user has access to a 50-GB mailbox and 1 TB of personal OneDrive storage. Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are included for easy remote teamwork and communication.
Microsoft 365 Apps (formerly Office 365 Business)
The Apps plan includes both cloud and mobile versions and desktop versions of Office applications. Business e-mail and teamwork and communication tools (i.e. Exchange, Teams and SharePoint) are not included. OneDrive is included with 1 TB of personal storage space for each user.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly Office 365 Business Premium)
The Business Standard plan includes all of the aforementioned services, including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Microsoft Teams for easy remote working is also included.
All the plans come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee from Microsoft, and Valtti provides user support by telephone and e-mail. With the range of products available, there is a right plan for every SME.
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Which one to choose?
What is the best way to protect users’ online identities and sensitive business data? Below you will find brief summaries of the different Office 365 plans. In a nutshell, Office 365 is a line of cloud-based SaaS products for business environments, including services to support remote working.
The fastest and most comprehensive solution is to complement the aforementioned Office products with EMS (Enterprise Mobility + Security). EMS comes in two varieties: E3 and E5. This solution has so many features that it would actually deserve a blog post all of its own.
The following are the most important from the perspective of SMEs:
- MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), which is also included as standard in all O365 business plans
- Conditional access
- SSPR (Self-Service Password Reset)
- Intune (mobile device and operating system management)
With MFA enabled, users logging into O365 for the first time are prompted to fill in a registration form. On subsequent logins, they receive a verification code by text message, which they need to enter on the login page to access O365 services. This ensures that the person trying to log into the account is the registered user and not some third party who has gained access to their password. MFA and conditional access can also be used together to either allow or prevent access to services from specific locations or devices. Thanks to the MFA registration process, users can reset their password themselves.
EMS supports e-mail encryption and makes it possible to control how e-mails can be used. For example, the sender can specify that the recipient can only read the e-mail and not forward it or copy the contents.
An astute reader will have noticed by now that we have already had to subscribe to two different licences in order to get access to all the features we want. There is also another way to do this: Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly Microsoft 365 Business)
This plan includes almost all the features of Microsoft 365 Business Standard and EMS E3. It also provides an upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1 Pro to Windows 10 Pro for licensed users. One of the biggest benefits of M365 Business Premium from the perspective of information security is a feature called ATP (Advanced Threat Protection). ATP scans attachments and links in e-mails to ensure that they are not malicious. ATP also provides a powerful defence against phishing attacks.
For more tips on migrating to Microsoft 365, download our checklist below or contact us!
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