For the last twelve months, businesses across America have been using cloud computing services, like Microsoft 365, to reimagine how they work.
They’ve come to rely on the suite of much-loved (and sometimes loathed) Office apps to preserve their productivity. And they’ve embraced Microsoft’s own chat-based workspace to stay connected with colleagues from afar.
Cloud computing services have enabled newly-distributed teams to talk, host meetings, and collaborate in real-time, much like they did in the office — it’s just… most of the work now happens online, powered by integrated solutions that span Teams, OneDrive storage, and all manner of apps, all fully secured by sophisticated cybersecurity software.
And the best part? Any small business can get the basic Office 365 plan for just $5 per user, per month, with the first month free. But if the price isn’t enough to tempt you, perhaps these seven benefits can.
1. Work From Anywhere With Web And Mobile-optimized Office Apps
Nearly every business worldwide uses a combination of Word, Exel, PowerPoint, and OneNote every day.
If you sign up to Microsoft 365 Business Basic, you’ll get access to the latest web versions of each one — with the most up-to-date features available across iOS and Android — on up to five phones and five tablets. This means you can collaborate on projects and co-author documents in real-time from anywhere in the world.
You can even have multiple users in the same document at the same time, maintaining momentum at all times.
2. Put Your Best Foot Forward With A Professional Email And Calendar Service
Microsoft Outlook is one of the most popular email clients out there, and for good reason.
For starters, it offers email hosting with a 50GB mailbox (which is ample for most small business needs). And as you can create a custom domain (like firstname.lastname@example.org), email contacts will always feel like they’re speaking to a professional company.
Much like the Office apps, you can also access your email on phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. And the web-based Exchange service ensures you’re only ever an internet connection away from a response. Then when it comes to scheduling meetings, Microsoft’s Calendar is an equally powerful tool: you can manage appointments, share availability, and set reminders — and if you need to add a new account, it only takes a second.
3. Host Online Meetings With Up To 300 Participants
As a small business, you may not need to meet with three-hundred people at once. But we bet you’ll host an online meeting every now and then. Microsoft Teams is the ultimate chat app, letting you use a desktop or mobile device to meet with as many people as you like.
You can manage virtual workspaces, video calls, and file-sharing in the same place, ensuring your people always stay in the loop. And when Teams doesn’t do the job, SharePoint likely will: consider it an intranet, acting as your dedicated file-sharing network.
4. Store 1TB Of Data In The Cloud
If your business revolves around documentation, Microsoft 365’s cloud storage is a godsend.
Several tools let you store and share up to 1TB of data, with any updates saved in OneDrive or SharePoint reflected across all synced devices. ‘Guest links’ let external contacts open company files in a seamless way. Flexible access helps you manage who can view specific content.
While emailed links to select recipients means you control who can access sensitive information.
5. Keep Your Business Cyber Secure From The Ground Up
Even small businesses need robust cybersecurity. Thankfully, the protections offered by the lowest-tier Office 365 plan are anything but basic.
Sophisticated protocols repel spam, malware, and other known threats. Microsoft calls the software ‘Exchange Online Protection.’ And it ensures your network meets international, regional, and industry-specific standards. All-the-while, one-thousand-plus security and privacy controls determine who can access your business information, managed via security groups and custom permissions.
You can even create internal security checks, like forced password updates ‘after X days.’
6. Stay Online With A 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
Any downtime comes at a considerable cost, no matter the size of your business. It can result in frustrated customers, lost sales, and ultimately, an inability to run even the most basic of operations.
Microsoft’s cloud computing services give users peace of mind by guaranteeing 99.9% uptime. While a financially-backed guarantee means you can have total confidence in the solution, alongside the promise of reimbursement should the service fail. Plus, if the apps aren’t running as smoothly as you’d like, phone and web-based support are always on-hand to troubleshoot issues.
7. Grow Your Business With Three Essential Tools
At the end of the day, you want technology to help you work more efficiently. Every Office 365 plan guarantees just that, thanks to a suite of tools that take the stress out of growing a business. First up, ‘Microsoft Teams’ streamlines day-to-day communication, helping you co-ordinate schedules and manage tasks.
‘Microsoft Lists’ then takes the weight off workflow management, helping you track information and prioritize your most important activities. Finally, ‘Microsoft Forms’ is perfect for gathering feedback, whether you send surveys internally — or ask for input from further afield.
Get In Touch For Office 365 Support And Advice
If you’re still unsure whether Microsoft 365 is right for your business, feel free to get in touch, and we can offer more targeted Office 365 support and advice.
Simply tell us the size of your business, what apps you think you need, and your biggest daily challenges. We’ll then share if the productivity suite suits your business and whether a ‘Basic’ subscription is enough or if you should consider a higher tier — we’re just a phone call away.
…so give Mid-Coast Tech a ring at 207-223-7594.