According to Microsoft, it’s “the easiest way to work together”: Office365 has taken many business owners by storm. The flexible system from Microsoft promises a mix of online applications, cloud storage and professional e-mail solutions for businesses and individuals. But it hails criticism: Are the Microsoft servers really safe from domestic and foreign access? We’ve put together the advantages and disadvantages of Office365 to help you find the ideal service provider for your business.
What is Office365?
Flexible and always up-to-date: Managed cloud services give entrepreneurs more freedom in the IT sector. Of course, they want to play the big players. Office365 is Microsoft’s answer to small and medium businesses looking to build a low-cost office infrastructure.
The offer includes all known Office programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access or OneDrive. At the same time, it provides hands-on collaboration opportunities: documents can be shared, all colleagues have access to the online store, and the whole office is networked with Skype for Business.
You do not have to build your own IT with expensive servers and storage systems. All traffic is powered by Microsoft’s powerful hardware. You only need a power outlet, an internet connection, and a laptop to work with. This saves money, resources and time.
The 5 big advantages of Office365
Flexibility and growth opportunities
You can easily add additional bandwidth or expand your storage space flexibly. A new employee starts with you? With just a few clicks you can set up a workstation and company account. And: it goes backwards as well. Temporary resources are no problem with monthly billing.
Absolute price transparency
With Microsoft Office365, you pay only for the offers you use. You pay a monthly subscription fee, which depends on the jobs and features. There are no initial costs or large sums to spend on maintaining the hardware. Additional support costs will not arise.
Well-known product portfolio
Really everyone knows Word, Excel and other Office products. This makes the training pleasantly uncomplicated. In addition, Microsoft offers numerous additional features that make your daily work easier. And you do not have to download and install any updates – it happens automatically.
Secure e-mail archiving
Microsoft servers are much better protected than your corporate hardware would be. Thus, a crash with resulting data loss is unlikely. Office365 also scores points when it comes to archiving: the integrated mail program offers you a secure storage location that complies with GDPR.
Trust in Microsoft
Microsoft has experience. There are now even many schools that rely completely on Office365, bringing new, potential customers to the offer. The company enjoys a good reputation and has built a lot of trust over time. But does that apply to the cloud-based solutions?
What about data protection at Office365?
You need to be aware that with Office365, you are putting your corporate data in the hands of Microsoft. Of course, the servers are well encrypted, meet all security standards – and yet there is a big problem:
American servers and programs are subject to the Patriot Act. This allows US law enforcement agencies access to all data stored there. At least since the NSA scandal is also known: Many accesses would not be legal under the law. A catastrophe for data protection law: the publication of sensitive information hangs over the company like a sword of Damocles. Trials are currently underway in the Supreme Court, where the US is calling on Microsoft to provide data from European data centers. For its part, Microsoft is fighting for a secure solution for European customers.
Conclusion: Secure alternatives to a comprehensive service
Although the benefits make Office365 an attractive proposition, ongoing clashes between Microsoft and the government in the US pose a risk. If US authorities get access to Microsoft’s European servers, Office 365 portal would be unsustainable from a privacy perspective.
Managed Exchange hosting proves to be a good alternative for American companies by regional providers. On the basis of cloud resources, an Exchange server is provided which offers the full functionality of an in-house server. In this variant, the additional features of Office365 remain on the track, but legal uncertainty and thus the risk of high migration costs/turnarounds will be avoided.
Ultimately, the decision lies with the company. All variants have their advantages and disadvantages as well as their risks. A blanket recommendation we think so dubious. Companies with high protection criteria – especially those where personal data are processed by mail – would do well to take a comprehensive look at the risks. Good advice in the cloud: we show you the way!