Microsoft first announced Office 365 in October 2010; beginning with a private beta with various organizations, leading into a public beta in April 2011, and reaching general availability on June 28, 2011.
With the release of Office 2013, an updated version of the Office 365 platform was launched on February 27, 2013. The Office 365 service consists of a number of products and services. All of Office 365’s components can be managed and configured through an online portal. There are different versions available.
Most plans offer access to the Office 2013 suite for up to five computers, T&C’s apply.
The main software packages are:
Excel | Word | Powerpoint | Outlook
The Pros of Office 365
1. The applications can be accessed via most devices (including mobile), through any web browser as long as you have the correct permissions and access to an internet connection, (including WIFI). Not suitable for certain Android tablets.
2. Reduced capital expenditure as this is an annual subscription.
3. Paying for new versions, Office 365 upgrades are automatically included within your subscription
4. Multiple users can have access to the same documents, for example you can store documents in SharePoint 2010 and have the ability to make changes, review versions or even leave notes for colleagues.
5. Removes any infrastructure headaches should you need to undertake office relocation
The Cons of Office 365
1. Data is stored in ‘the Cloud’ in Microsoft Data Centres so you are reliant on both network and bandwidth. If your internet connection fails you will lose access to your software and data until it is restored. It is possible to save on the local drive.
2. No control over this ‘cloud’ environment your data is stored in, whilst there are uptime guarantees any datacentre infrastructure failure can have a direct impact on the availability of Office 365. If Microsoft or other high end Data Centre provider outages do occur, small businesses have no leverage.
3. Potentially higher security risks associated with ‘online’ data storage.
4. Application performance may be slower over an internet connection, especially if you have home based users with inferior internet connectivity and broadband speeds. This could have the knock on effect of reducing productivity.
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