You're probably still wondering whether you want to take the plunge and implement Office 365 in your organisation. Moving your whole infrastructure to the cloud is clearly a big decision, so much so it can feel like crossing over to the dark side. So, the first step of your research process should be to compare the positives with the negatives. Don't worry, we're not Obi-Wan and there won't be any Jedi mind tricks which will mean you can't see any downsides whatsoever of Office 365. Here are the most important Office 365 pros and cons you should take into account.
Simply click on any of the pros to read more about them:
Or if you fancy diving right into the cons...
PROS OF OFFICE 365
One of the biggest pros of Office 365 is that users can work from anywhere. Your workforce no longer has to be on-premises to complete their work as it's entirely cloud-based. That means emails, files and Office programs can be accessed from any location on any compatible device. This is helpful for organisations that have remote employees, they're based in several locations or are required to travel often yet still need to access Office programs.
So, it's clear the overall productivity increases which helps your organisation. Without this feature, you and your team can only access files when you're on-premises. However, as Office 365 features a lot of different plans, you might be able to install the full desktop versions of Office programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. So, even if there's no internet and users have this particular plan, then work can always be completed.
Perhaps the biggest and most innovative aspect of Office 365 is that Microsoft has included plenty of advanced security features to keep your data and the cloud itself as secure as possible. And they don't achieve this through a complex password and two-step verifications either. The common favourites that set Office 365 apart from the rest include:
Encrypted Email: This feature keeps anyone other than the intended recipient from reading your emails.
Advanced Threat Analytics: This unique Office 365 security feature analyses systems and alerts users to suspicious behaviour on the network. It scans all emails as they land into inboxes for malicious links and attachments. If there's anything dangerous that's sneakily lurking in there, this feature prevents it from getting in. Kind of like a bouncer stopping an underage wannabe party animal from sneaking into the club. So, even though the email will still appear, a message will pop up to explain why the attachment isn't there.
Mobile Device Management: This allows your IT team to control Office on your employees' mobile devices to protect company information. If somebody loses their device or it gets stolen, you're able to delete all of the data without needing to use the lost or stolen device to delete data.
Obviously, these aren't the only advanced security features. We could sit here all day and discuss how in-depth Microsoft has gone when focusing on security. These include Exchange Online Protection and the Threat Management feature. For more information on the Office 365 security features, click here.
It's no longer a case of paying more and more whenever Microsoft release something new. Everybody wants the latest upgrades and features. With Office 365, organisations like yours can benefit from always having the latest and best versions of Office without paying any additional costs.
That's the benefit of having an Office 365 subscription, as the latest versions are always available. That means you no longer have to go around to each individual computer and uninstall old versions of Office and replace them with new. As Microsoft are constantly making upgrades to various programs, users have the luxury of accessing them all in full. Again, this depends on the plan that your organisation chooses, which means you could get access to desktop versions for offline usage along with sleek mobile apps that can be used on mobile devices.
It's likely that the majority of your workforce grew up using Office programs like Word and Excel. Sometimes, the jump to something new or different can be overwhelming. So, organisations might not want their users to give up the programs that they are comfortable with. Microsoft has ensured that users can experience the latest versions of Office 365 without giving up what they're used to.
The favourites are still the same. The only big difference is that these programs now live on the cloud rather than taking up storage space on your systems. That's unless you've selected the plan where you can install Office programs to your desktop. This advantage means that your IT teams no longer need to train users on how to use programs whenever something new is released. Less time is wasted and productivity is increased.
With Office 365, you don't need to take a huge chunk out of your budget for any upfront costs. Instead, it's a subscription-based service where you'll be paying a low, affordable monthly fee for every user depending on the type of plan chosen. This can help your organisation from a cash flow perspective. As Office 365 plans are paid month-to-month with a commitment, it allows your finance team to plan the budgets much easier.
Plus, you can turn off the things you don't need so you're saving even more money.
Collaboration tools have become important to any organisation that requires users to work together on documents. If that's something your organisation does, then you'll appreciate the co-authoring tool featured in Office 365.
Image Credit: Office Blogs
Everyone who needs to contribute or edit a particular spreadsheet, presentation, document or anything else can easily work on the same version one user has created. As you can see above, you also see the real-time changes so you can view the edits as they happen. You know exactly what's been changed and who has changed what.
Another key advantage of Office 365 is that there is a wide range of plans available. While other suites might only have two or three plans for organisations to choose from, Office boasts 7 plans to cater for businesses of all sizes. So, by having these mix and match plans you don't need to compromise or settle for a particular plan. As it's not a one-size-fits-all approach, not everyone in your organisation might need the exact same features.
Office 365 provides tailored packages you can mix and match the plans to have features you need, and take out the ones you don't. So, it's another way of saving money yet organisations still benefit from the jam-packed, innovative features that Office 365 provides.
CONS OF OFFICE 365
With Office 365 being cloud-based, your entire organisation will be using the internet and accessing the cloud in their Office 365 plans to access files and folders. However, any company or individual can be hit with internet problems. A downside of Office 365 is that if you are suffering from internet issues, then you're probably not going to be able to do any work or even access your emails. In fact, some Office 365 features always require an internet connection to use.
While this can be a frustrating disadvantage of Office 365, there are still ways around this. Some Office 365 plans allow you to install full desktop versions of Office, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. So if you do have a poor internet connection or no access at all, then you can continue working offline and sync the changes once the connection has been restored. While it might not be ideal for your organisation, at least you won't have to suffer from any downtime.
If you're dealing with a lot of data, then it can be difficult to cope. Still, most organisations would rather have the peace of mind that they are storing and controlling their own data. However, when making the switch to Office 365, you're trusting Microsoft with all of your data no matter how confidential or important that data is. While it could be refreshing to get all of that off your plate and lighten the burden, not everyone is going to be comfortable with having data controlled by someone else.
By switching to Office 365, any organisations' data is hosted in Microsoft's data centre. Microsoft has implemented a series of safety and management regulations too. So the restrictions they have in place could interfere with your company's daily activities. For example, if your organisation is reliant on XML files, you might not be able to import them because of the limitations in place by Microsoft.
Although, you still can keep all of your data with your own company for peace of mind. That's if you sign up for Enterprise licensing but part of the reason why the switch to Office 365 is made is because of the advanced security features that aren't available anywhere else.
The worst case scenario you can possibly face is realising that all of your systems are old, outdated and aren't compatible with Office 365. Microsoft does continually release new upgrades and versions for organisations like yours to enjoy, but that can only happen if you're all using devices that are capable of handling something like Office 365. This is because the latest updates aren't usually compatible with line-of-business applications. So, if your critical systems aren't compatible with Office 365, then there's only one way around it.
It might be time to buy new systems, which can prove to be costly. Or, it could be a case of upgrading every system to a newer version of Microsoft. As Office 365 includes Windows 10 as an operating system, then upgrading is a must if you're to use it effectively and experience Office 365 in all its glory. While migrating to Office 365 can be a frustrating issue if your devices aren't compatible, there are still ways around it to fix the issue and ease the transition.
While it's not a huge disadvantage, your company can save valuable costs. The fact is, not everyone in an organisation is going to use everything that each Office 365 plan has on offer. Depending on the size of your organisation, it's claimed that most users only use 20% of the functionalities. The primary features that are used include email, file storage and access to the Office programs. So, you have to wonder why your organisation is paying so much when 80% of the features aren't even being used.
There are certainly going to be features that your workforce don't use. So, you may have to analyse which ones are and aren't in regular use so you can consider switching between plans to cater for any specific needs. However, another potential downfall here is that there might then end up being some limitations to what users can and can't do. This can range from accessing certain programs to sending or receiving a large volume of emails on a daily basis.
A potential fix here is that Microsoft should one day allow organisations to select the programs they do and don't want and then give them a monthly price. That way, organisations use everything they are paying for. It's a risk, but if finances are an issue then it could be a step your organisation might need to take.
If you want to read more about the disadvantages of Office 365, read our blog on the topic. 'The 4 Main Office 365 Disadvantages.'
Does Office 365 Live Up To Its Reputation?
As you can see, Office 365 isn't a perfect solution. However, the advantages show that it's certainly up there amongst the best and proves just why Microsoft's creation is the most popular productivity suite around. The features and programs included show just why so many businesses of different sizes are making the switch, as even the potential downfalls can be fixed. That's why it gets a big approval rating from us here at Silverbug.
How Does Office 365 Rank Against G Suite and Workplace?
It's always worth considering all your options. So, how does Office 365 hold up against Google's and Zoho's version? We've compiled a handy feature comparison to help you decide which one is best for you and this will be available shortly.
The truth is, G Suite and Zoho both offer lots of these features themselves. They even keep up with Microsoft on a couple of features. Our comparison sheet will show you where each platform shines.
Until it's ready, why not speak to somebody in our team to discuss which option is right for you. Or, if you prefer, take a look at our guide to ransomware protection.