Pros and Cons of the Microsoft Office 365 Cloud - dummies

Pros and Cons of the Microsoft Office 365 Cloud

By Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

As with any decision in life, there are generally pros and cons; moving to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud is no exception. Depending on whom you are talking with, the cloud is either the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel or a devilish ploy by big companies to wrestle away control of your data.

The truth is, many people find that the benefits of the cloud greatly outweigh the detriments.

Some of the benefits of moving to the Microsoft cloud include the following:

  • Outsourcing the hassle of installing, managing, patching, and upgrading extremely complex software systems.

  • Having predictable and known costs associated with adoption.

  • Keeping the lights blinking green and the software up-to-date and secure falls on Microsoft and is backed by service guarantee.

  • Reducing cost in not only immediate monetary value but also in efficiency and resource reallocation benefits.

  • Backing up and securing your data. After all, Microsoft may not be perfect, but its teams of engineers are extremely specialized and are experts at hosting the software that their colleagues have developed.

  • Using the software over the Internet — simply sign up and you’re ready to go. Without the cloud, a SharePoint deployment could take months.

Some of the cons that come along with adopting a cloud solution in general include the following:

  • Relying on network and bandwidth. If your Internet provider goes down, then you haven’t any access to your enterprise software and data. Microsoft does not control how you access the Internet and, therefore, cannot account for any failures.

  • Having data controlled by someone other than your employees. Your data is hosted in Microsoft’s data center. That can be both a benefit and a detriment. If you feel uncomfortable with your data out there somewhere, then you can either research the Microsoft data centers further or keep your data and applications locally in your own controlled data center.

    In addition, when you sign up for enterprise licensing of Office 365, you also gain licensing rights to On Premise deployments. This capability makes it possible to store extremely sensitive data or user portals on site.

    For example, you may want your executive, accounting, and human resources portals on site but the rest of your SharePoint implementation in the cloud. Microsoft lets you mix and match this way to fit your comfort level.