Office 365: The business tools


Most are aware that you can obtain the latest Microsoft Office suite by subscribing to Office 365, but what does it do exactly? Take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the new tools from 365 that could transform the way you do business.

The basics

Microsoft Office through an Office 365 subscription is now available online and off. You can access your files anywhere (with a stable internet connection), at any time and on any device. Transferring installations to new devices is fast and convenient for last minute, out-of-office meetings. Automatic file updates keep you connected wherever, and 1TB of personal file storage per user makes working on the go easier than ever before.

Strengthen your business brand by using your own domain name and sending custom messages and images up to 150MB. Outlook also comes equipped with top-of-the-line anti-malware and anti-spam filtering to keep your inbox protected, and 50GB of storage holds on to all of the important messages and files you need.

The awesome stuff

The Office 365 Business Essentials plan, with the entry cost of $5 per user subscription, unleashes a wide variety of enterprise-class services affordable for small businesses. Not only a 50GB email mailbox, but 1TB of One Drive for Business, Office Online, Skype for Business and SharePoint Online, to name a few.

One Drive for Business is a personal online storage space in the cloud, provided for you by your company. Think of your “My Documents” folder, but cloud enabled. Use it to store your work files across multiple devices easily and securely. Share your files with colleagues as needed, edit documents together in real time with Office Online, and sync files to your local computer using the One Drive for Business sync app.

Skype for Business gives you a quick and easy way to video and voice conference with your whole team. Set up meetings on the fly with Outlook integration, which features one-click screen sharing and real-time note taking to keep everyone on the same page. Skype for Business lets you bring all the decision makers to the table with HD video support for up to 250 people. Photos and video of conference participants ensure everyone knows who’s speaking and what they do, resulting in more productive meetings.

SharePoint Online contains some of the most powerful features and collaboration tools of Office 365, but remains underutilized by most users. For example, you can create and share content with Microsoft tools in a centralized hub for your business. Team sites from SharePoint Online allow you to share and collaborate with people inside and outside your organization. The One Drive mobile app now keeps you plugged in to your One Drive and SharePoint files wherever you go.

Other tools like Office Graph and Delve analyze your usage and intelligently form connections to help you manage your inbox, plan your calendar or compile relevant content for a project.

Bring your own device

New mobile device management tools within Office 365 give administrators more control over mobile device security and integration. Admins have the ability to set device security policies, enforce passwords, remotely wipe a device and view device reports. If you’re using a personal mobile device for business purposes, admins can easily set security parameters to ensure the safety of sensitive information.

If you haven’t already, consider trying out some of these powerful Office 365 features and find out how they might help grow your business.

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Matt Maines is the chief technology evangelist at Holland-based Worksighted, an IT firm. His responsibilities include listening to client and prospect business objectives, addressing IT pain points and proposing technical solutions to align their goals. Maines has more than 16 years of experience at Worksighted and provides a wealth of expertise and industry experience. He holds multiple certifications: Cisco CCNP Datacenter, CCNA Voice, CCNA Route & Switch, CCDA, Microsoft Certified IT Professional Enterprise Admin and VMware Certified Professional. He can be contacted at matt.maines at worksighted dot com and 616.582.2217.