The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot about the way the whole world does things, and one of the biggest effects has been the adoption of remote everything. By this, we mean everything from online shopping or telehealth services to accelerating the switch to cloud software and digital workspaces.
One solution that many companies deployed is Microsoft 365 (M365), largely so that they could use Microsoft Teams as part of their newly adopted remote work policies. But despite opting for the more costly Business or Premium subscriptions, a large majority of M365 users are not taking advantage of all the applications and services that come with the package.
If your company is using Microsoft 365 and you’d like to know how you can get the most value out of your subscription and maximise your ROI, then read on.
What is Microsoft 365 really?
First announced in July 2017, Microsoft 365 had a lot of people scratching their heads. After all, we’d been using Microsoft Office 365 for over five years by then. But the first thing you need to understand about M365 is that whilst it includes Office 365 apps, it’s actually a lot more than that. This left a lot of people wondering what M365 is and why they would need it.
The simplest explanation for M365 is that it is Microsoft’s answer to the modern workplace, also known as the digital workspace. It is an all-in-one package that provides the performance and intuitiveness of the latest Windows devices and all the collaboration and productivity tools that Office 365 offers.
Also, it is all integrated with the security features provided by Microsoft’s Mobility and Security suite. What this means is that businesses can deploy a fully integrated productivity suite for their entire operation while ensuring secure and compliant access to devices and apps. This eliminates the need for various third-party applications, as well as the tools needed to integrate them. All this translates to Microsoft 365 being a turnkey productivity and collaboration suite that saves costs and is quick to implement.
5 opportunities to drive more value from Microsoft 365
1. Get more from your existing investment
Almost every company is already using Office 365. Buy a new laptop or desktop computer and it comes preloaded (although you still have to pay for a suitable subscription). This means your staff are already familiar with the cloud-based functionality of all the different applications Office 365 has to offer.
Users are familiar with features like Planner and Outlook integrations which simplify scheduling and project management, as well as access to essential business documents on the go thanks to SharePoint and OneDrive. Companies have already seen the collaboration and productivity benefits that Office 365 has to offer — Microsoft 365 takes this functionality one step further.
By integrating the Office 365 suite that everyone knows and loves with their Mobility and Security suite, Microsoft is making it easier than ever to upgrade your business model to the Modern Workplace. At the same time, you can keep your corporate data as secure as possible, thanks to an impressive range of tools that allow you to manage your cybersecurity policies from a central dashboard.
Upgrading from your current Office 365 subscription to a Microsoft 365 is as simple as visiting the Billing section of the admin centre and clicking ‘Upgrade’.
2. Intuitive access controls
One of the biggest headaches that IT admins face is the multitude of devices connecting to an organisation’s network on a daily basis — from desktop devices and peripherals, like printers and scanners, to tablets, smartphones and more. The way people do their work has been changing, and ‘shadow IT’ has become rampant, leading to increased security risks across the entire company.
Microsoft 365 addresses this with a built-in least privilege security model that allows granular access control for all of the Microsoft 365 services. Using machine learning and big data analysis to review and analyse activity and identify irregular access patterns, Microsoft 365 allows for proactive responses to any unusual or illicit activities.
For organisations that use a BYOD business model, this zero-trust security strategy is supported by Microsoft Intune. A mobile application management (MAM) and mobile device management (MDM) service, Intune makes it easy for organisations to ensure that they are following the access level best practices as determined by their industry.
3. Identify and improve your Secure Score
One of the most useful tools offered as part of the Microsoft Defender application is Microsoft Secure Score. A simple explanation of Secure Score is that it is the value Microsoft assigns to your organisation based on your current security posture (i.e., security policies currently in place). The higher your score, the better.
But Secure Score takes this one step further by providing recommendations on how to better protect your organisation from threats — all from a central dashboard. These could include suggestions like blocking access if a device doesn’t have an active antivirus program, enbling or enforcing MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) for Administrators or for all users, enabling location-based access control and more.
4. Enable data sovereignty
Something that can be concerning to organisations that are shifting to the cloud is data sovereignty. This refers to the idea that cloud data is subject to the laws and regulations that apply to wherever the physical data centre is located (be it another state or country). In simple terms, if your cloud data is being stored in another country, you may not enjoy the same legal protections that your home country provides or your data may be subject to external jurisdictions.
Microsoft 365 addresses this through its Multi-Geo service. With Microsoft data centres spread throughout the world, and more being added as their user base expands, organisations can request that all their data be transferred to data centres closer to their physical locations or within a specific geographical location. In the case of multinational corporations, this may mean a data centre close to their main headquarters.
5. Built-in business continuity and resilience
In a time when the loss of just 100 records can cost a business between roughly $18,000 and $36,000, tools that are designed with business resilience and continuity in mind are essential. The threat landscape is evolving as fast as the modern workplace is. Microsoft’s Enterprise Business Continuity Management team is constantly working with other units to develop continuity plans and ensure they comply with business continuity requirements for a variety of business models.
With Microsoft’s Advanced eDiscovery solution, your organisation can respond to legal matters, ensure compliance and conduct internal investigations as and when they are needed. Identify persons of interest, preserve and protect the relevant data with a legal hold, collect it, process it, review it and share it — all from an intuitive central dashboard.
Find out more about Microsoft 365 from blueAPACHE
With 23 years of experience in building and supporting Microsoft solutions for Australian businesses of all shapes and sizes, blueAPACHE can help you create the workspace solution your company needs. Offering a robust network with almost 100% uptime, a certified team of experts on hand to provide local 24/7 support and multiple ARN awards to our name — we’re your one-stop Microsoft partner.
To find out more, please contact us directly at:
1800 248 749