This month, our jargon busting blog takes a look at Microsoft's Office 365 package. What is it, and do you need it?
There's two sides to Office 365. Firstly, it can be a replacement for a traditional Microsoft Office licence. This means that instead of buying a number of licences for "Office 2013" (for example), you buy ongoing per-head licences for Office 365.
This means you pay a monthly ongoing cost, and in return, you have the ability to use the desktop, web and mobile versions of the latest version of Office (whatever that might be at the time), with your files synced between these via their cloud storage. It also provides access to the web versions to all of the main Office apps (along with many additional productivity tools). This means you can always make changes to your documents, even if you don't have Office installed on the device you're currently using.
The obvious advantage to this approach is that it enables you to roll out the latest version of office to all of your staff at a small initial outlay. This means that you don't need to worry about new versions of Office - you'll automatically receive these as they become available.
The flipside is that unlike the old-style Office licences that allowed you to keep running a certain version for as long as you needed it / it continued to work, an Office 365 licence is only valid as long as the monthly payments are maintained. If you stop paying, the version of Office you have installed stops working.
Slightly confusingly, there's another aspect to Office 365 that can be obtained in conjunction with the Office suite, or can be run entirely separately. It can also be used as an email provider. This can be as a replacement for an aging Exchange box, or a cheap way of introducing enterprise-level features to basic business email accounts. Also, as you would expect, it integrates very well with Outlook.
You can read more about Office 365 here. If you would like more details, 3aIT is Silver Small and Midmarket cloud solutions Microsoft Partner, so we'd be happy to help with a potential migration.