What is Office 365?

Updated: Jul 2, 2018

In a nutshell, Office 365 is a subscription platform offered by Microsoft for various products. These products include Exchange email hosting, Microsoft Office desktop applications (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPont etc.) and Skype for Business just to name a few. All products are subscription based and are billed either monthly or annually at the subscribers choosing. There are four Office 365 packages that are most commonly used for small businesses: Exchange Online, Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium. Exchange Online is Microsoft’s email hosting platform. This subscription hosts your email with Microsoft and allows for Exchange connections between Outlook and devices allowing synchronization of mail, contacts, calendars, and tasks. Exchange Online includes SPAM filtering as well as 100GB of storage per account. Office 365 Business is a subscription alternative to purchasing Microsoft Office outright. With Office 365 Business, one license allows you to install the current version of Microsoft Office desktop applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher and Access) on up to 5 computers. When you purchase Microsoft Office outright you are not entitled to upgrades when they are released however with Office 365 Business those upgrades are available immediately at no additional cost. Office 365 Business Essentials licenses enhances the Exchange Online subscription by adding convenient business tools such as Skype for Business for video, voice and instant message chatting within your organization. OneDrive for Business, which allows for synchronized document storage (1TB) between the cloud and workstations. Also included is SharePoint, a cloud based document storage site to easily share documents organization wide. Office 365 Business Premium adds everything from Office 365 Business Essentials and adds Microsoft Office Business allowing Microsoft Office desktop applications to be installed on up to 5 computers per license. Overall, Office 365 can be a very valuable addition to a small business and at the same time stabilizing IT costs.

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