Overall Office 365 Requirements - dummies

Overall Office 365 Requirements

By Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

Although by definition a cloud offering is available to anyone with an Internet connection, there are a few other requirements that must be observed should you choose to use Microsoft Office 365. In particular, you must be located in a supported country and must have supported software and a high-speed Internet connection.

Geographic requirements of Office 365

Microsoft has released Office 365 to a specific set of initial countries and will roll it out to the rest of the world in the future. Following are the supported countries and the data center location that serves each country.

Supported Countries and Data Center Locations
United States Data Center Singapore Data Center Ireland Data Center
Canada Australia Austria
Costa Rica Hong Kong Belgium
Columbia India Cyprus
Mexico Japan Czech Republic
Peru Malaysia Denmark
Puerto Rico New Zealand Finland
Trinidad and Tobago Singapore France
United States Germany
United Kingdom

Software requirements of Office 365

To get the most out of Office 365, it is best to use Windows 7 with Office 2010 and the latest Internet Explorer browser. Doing this gives you the fully integrated experience. Office 365 does, however, support various software configurations.

Office 365 Supported Software
Operating Systems Web Browsers Office Clients
Windows XP SP3 Internet Explorer 7 + Office 2007 SP2
Windows Vista SP2 Firefox 3 + Office 2010
Windows 7 Safari 4 + Office 2008 for Mac
Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) Chrome 3 + Office 2011 for Mac
Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) Lync 2010
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2008

A key feature of Office 365 provides the ability for your business’s Active Directory instance to sync with your Office 365 account. To achieve this integration, however, your Active Directory domain must be a single forest.

Internet access requirements of Office 365

Because the Office 365 software lives in a Microsoft data center and is accessed over the Internet, having high-speed Internet access available on a regular basis is important.

For some of the components of Office 365, such as the Outlook Web App, high-speed Internet access is not required, but as a general rule, you want to make sure that your users have a pleasant experience and that equals a high-speed Internet connection when dealing with the cloud.

Because Office 365 can be accessed from any computer anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, you have no control over the network connectivity.

The good news, however, is that the types of things your users will do from on the road are check e-mail, edit documents in the browser, or download a quick document from the SharePoint site — tasks that work fine with slower connection speeds (with the exception of downloading documents).

Most users, however, understand that the speed of their Internet connection directly relates to the speed a document will download and will not blame the Office 365 service for a slow download.