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Between Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Office 365, the cloud business is good business for Microsoft. It's time to move to Office 365. Here are the top ten reasons why.

Your Team Likes to Collaborate

Cloud and collaboration is a match made in heaven. Using collaboration tools hosted in the cloud allows you and your colleagues to make edits simultaneously to a document online.

In Office 365, co-authoring is a given for documents saved in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online. There's something magical about working on a document with team members and automatically seeing their edits appear on your screen in real-time. In the new world of Office 365 collaboration, the document you're working on is the latest version.

Version history is enabled by default in SharePoint Online, so if you ever need to restore an older version of a document, all it takes is a few mouse clicks. You can also set up your document library in such a way that only one person at a time can edit the document without blocking others from viewing a read-only copy of the file.

Your Employees are Facebook Friends

If you somehow find out that two or more of your employees are Facebook friends, then you know it's time to bring social networking to your organization. Empower your employees to use the social capabilities of Yammer in Office 365 to get information, share best practices, crowdsource ideas, have meaningful interactions, and stay connected with their colleagues — all within the confines of your company's secure virtual walls.

You are the IT Department

Enterprise-size companies spend a lot of money buying, installing, configuring, maintaining, and upgrading their IT infrastructure. In addition, there are soft costs associated with justifying these IT infrastructure purchases such as
  • Writing the business case
  • "Selling" the proposal to management
  • Sending out the Requests for Proposal (RFP) to potential vendors
  • Reviewing and vetting the bids received
  • Selecting and contracting with the selected vendors
Office 365 saves you from all these troubles. Highly trained engineers are working and available 'round the clock to ensure your Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business services are up and running so you don't have to worry about it.

Your Emails Got (Almost) Obliterated

Office 365 is the caretaker of your email data in Exchange Online. Regardless of whether your data is highly confidential or low priority, your data is stored, backed up, replicated, and protected in redundant remote data centers accessible anywhere there's an Internet connection. With a 99.9 percent uptime, financially backed service level agreement, you know that Microsoft is better positioned to help you avoid business disruptions due to a malfunctioning in-house email server than you or your IT team.

So don't wait until it happens again — move to Office 365 now before an email disaster causes work stoppage and customer dissatisfaction.

You Love Video On-Demand

Office 365 is your "on-demand" cloud computing service provider. This means that you only pay for the capacity that you need at any given period. If you need 100 user accounts during the peak season of the business, then you pay for those 100 accounts. During the lean months when you only need 10 user accounts, you only need to pay for those 10.

You don't have to own the infrastructure with capacity good for 100 users all the time. It's like paying for metered services just like you do for electricity and water.

You're a Tree Hugger (or Wannabe)

If you subscribe to Office 365, you'll do the environment a favor through the reduction of your company's energy consumption from unneeded hardware, elimination of packaging peanuts and bubble wraps from packaged software, and doing away with paper printouts since your content can now be shared in full fidelity in the cloud.

You Don't Say "No" to Opportunities

Although it may be true that success is in large part due to luck, it's also true that the harder you work, the luckier you get. With Office 365, you don't have to work harder, just smarter!

For example, say that you're vacationing in a remote village in Asia when, to your surprise, you meet someone interested in investing in your start-up company. You intentionally left your laptop at home, so you begin to panic at the thought of a lost opportunity. Then you remember that all your demos and presentations are saved in your OneDrive for Business account. You relax and walk over with your potential investor to the nearest Internet café and conduct an impromptu presentation. The pitch works, and you now have a new partner!

You Want to Web Conference Like the Boss

Web conferencing is not new to the enterprise — the technology has proven to be a real timesaver and cost reducer. The very same technology the big guns are using is now available to non-enterprise companies at an affordable cost through Skype for Business in Office 365. You don't need to invest in expensive equipment or hire an IT staff to conduct effective, high quality, high-definition web conferencing. The service is built-in, it works, and it's great.

With Skype for Business, you can start out with an IM session with a co-worker, add voice to the session, invite more people to the conversation, convert the session into a web conference, share screen, whiteboard, conduct a poll, and for good measure, record the web conference. The web conferencing solution allows for high-definition video capability, using off-the-shelf webcams with a resolution display that adjusts to the waxing and waning of your Internet connection.

You Freaked Out Over a Lost Phone

With mobile device management (MDM) in Office 365 and Intune, you never have to go through that stress again. With MDM, bring-your-own devices (BOYD) have security policies enforced to ensure compliance with corporate policies. Your IT department can remotely wipe all the data on the device, lock it, and reset the password in the event of loss or theft.

You Don't Want to Be the Next Hacking Victim

You can protect your data with Office 365 with built-in, integrated security and compliance services across applications and devices. Multi-factor authentication, Data Loss Prevention, Anti-Spam, Anti-Virus, Advanced Threat Protection, and Encryption are just the start of the story.

Encryption in Office 365 comes in two layers: from the service level (Microsoft manages this) and from the part where you, the customer, controls.

On the service level side, when your data is sitting or "at rest" in Office 365 data centers, they are encrypted so even in the unlikely event that a hacker gets access to the data, all the hacker sees will be garbled, unreadable text.

Microsoft also has a sophisticated data protection service referred to as "Fort Knox." For example, say that you have a financial document. When you save that document in the cloud, that document is actually broken up into little parts (64 KB each). Each of those little parts is then encrypted with its own key and stored in separate locations, and, at each location, the parts get encrypted with yet another set of keys. Finally, all those different sets of keys are combined and yet again encrypted with another key. So in short, that's a lot of keys and broken up pieces of data a hacker has to hack.

From your end as a customer, there are a host of options available to prevent data loss. You can secure your SharePoint sites and OneDrive folders only to certain people, you can set your emails so they can't be forwarded, copied, or printed, and much more.

There are a lot of Microsoft partners who can help you move your business to the cloud, including this author's own company: Reed Technology Services. Don't hesitate to reach out to them — they'd be more than happy to assist you in your cloud journey.

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