Five Things to Know About Office 365

, Five Things to Know About Office 365If you’re trying to decide if Office 365 fits the specific needs of your business or organization, here are five things to know about Microsoft’s cloud-based version of Office.

What’s the Difference? Chances are you’re already familiar with the desktop version of Microsoft Office. Components like MS Word and MS Excel have been staples on our home and office PCs for years. Office 365 and Office Web Apps are the most recent add-ons to the family.  Office Web Apps is a free, albeit limited, version of Office that integrates with Microsoft’s cloud storage service Skydrive. Importantly, it allows users on a device without Office installed to view and do basic edits of Office files via the web. While Web Apps is great for viewing and making basic text or formatting edits, Office 365 offers full desktop Office functionality in the cloud through a subscription-based plan. Office 365 has become increasingly popular among small-to-medium sized businesses since it’s a near hybrid of the desktop and web-based versions of Office and it supports multiple devices.

What are the System Requirements? Office 365 requires Internet access, Windows 7 or 8, OS X 10.6 (or later) on a Mac, and compatible browsers such as IE9, Chrome 18, Firefox 12 and Safari 5. Optimal performance will require systems to have 3 GB of free hard drive space for Windows and 2.5 GB for Macs, either 1 GB of RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit), and a 1 GHz processor for Windows or Intel processor for Macs.

How Much Does It Cost? There are multiple Office 365 subscriptions to choose from:

  • Home Premium Plan: For your personal and family use, you can have Office 365 for $9.00 monthly or $99.99 for the year for up to five devices.
  • Small Business Plan: For businesses with up to 25 users, Office 365 is available at a monthly “pay as you go” rate of $6.00 per user or $60 if they pay annually. A Premium package priced annually at $150 per user includes the desktop version of each Office app.
  • Enterprise Plans: Enterprise Office 365 plans for midsize businesses with up to 300 users and large enterprises accommodating over 300 users are available for anywhere from $8 to $24 monthly per user.

Is It Compatible with Older Versions of Desktop Office? For businesses already using older versions of desktop Office, Office 365 is compatible with both Office 2010 and 2013 but some functionality is lost with Office 2007. A compatibility pack for Office 2003 users will no longer be available after January 2014. Is It Secure? Security is a concern of any small business moving to the cloud. Office 365 has the very same Trust Center and user-level security options as desktop Office. Each Office application supports encryption and allows permissions to be set. With files stored offsite in secure specialized data centers, it can be argued that small businesses are actually more secure using Office 365 than they are on their own. If you feel Office 365 may be the right fit for your business or organization, contact us today and we’ll ensure your technology infrastructure is ready for Office 365 installation and deployment.

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