Microsoft® Office 365 combines the business world’s most-recognized productivity and collaboration tools together in one integrated cloud service.

An Office 365 subscription offers your company high-quality tools that enhance collaboration and communication. View and share e-mails, contacts, calendars, and documents from just about any web-enabled device. Additionally, the benefits of Office 365 – like collaborative tools such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and centralized document management – allow colleagues to work together effectively from any location.

Microsoft Office 365 Components

Microsoft Office – Millions of people use Outlook®, Word, Excel®, Publisher®, PowerPoint® and other Office applications at work every day. An Office 365 subscription delivers each of these familiar and powerful productivity tools directly to your computer via the web.

Microsoft SharePoint® Online – Collaboration is often how work gets done in the workplace. SharePoint provides a place for coworkers to keep and modify commonly held documents, so multiple versions aren’t floating around in e-mail, unsynchronized as different people work on their own versions of a shared document.

Microsoft® Exchange Online – This is the engine behind Outlook and other applications that handles the distribution and storage of e-mail messages, file attachments, contact lists, etc.

Microsoft Lync® Online – Lync is the most recent unified communications package from Microsoft. It brings together presence information, instant messaging, phone calls, teleconferencing, video conferencing, and more.

Benefits of Office 365

There are several advantages for a business that deploys Office 365 instead of running the same tools on-premises:

Enhanced Collaboration – Microsoft Office 365 helps you realize the collaborative promise of the cloud. The benefits of Office 365 enable you to share documents and calendars. Online presence, instant messaging, conference calls, and online meetings eliminate geography as an obstacle.

Improved Security – Microsoft takes cloud security very seriously. Office 365 meets the strictest industry standards, including ISO-27001, EU Model clauses, HIPAA-BAA, and FISMA. One of the benefits of Office 365 is that when your data is in the cloud, it is safer than it would be on your own desktop. Additionally, Microsoft maintains dozens of datacenters around the world. Short of a global apocalypse, your data is safe.

Financially-backed 99.9% uptime guarantee – Microsoft backs up its service-availability guarantee with money in your pocket if it fails to meet its commitments.

Predictable pricing – Office 365 subscriptions are invoiced on a per-user, per-month basis.

Easy scalability – There is no practical limit to the number of users that can be served by cloud software. Businesses of any size, from one user to tens of thousands of users, have the same access to the same software. Office 365 subscriptions enable you to deploy enterprise-level business software for the cost of one user subscription no matter how small your organization. Large corporations have the advantage of being able to demand as many seats as needed and deploy the technology almost immediately. Companies of any size have the ability to change the number of seats over time, scaling up or down, simply by changing the number of seats in the Office 365 subscription.

No upgrade hassles – Because the software resides on the server side, you enjoy the benefits of Office 365 like never having to install the software or upgrade that software on your local computers. Instead, Microsoft performs the upgrades directly at the server end, ensuring that the most recent software is always immediately accessible from any Internet-enabled computer. That also means that all users use the same software at all times, eliminating the staggered upgrade rollouts businesses have to endure when upgrades are performed onsite by an IT team, one computer at a time.

Reduced internal IT load – Your internal IT department does not have to worry about installing software, making upgrades, or resolving installation conflicts because the software is accessed via the Internet and upgrades are performed directly at the server end by Microsoft. Your IT personnel can concentrate on other issues, such as provisioning new employees with computers at their desks and making sure they are connected to the Internet.

Reduced hardware footprint – By utilizing cloud services over the Internet, you eliminate the need for on-site server rooms to run the software locally. This eliminates the fixed outlay of purchasing server hardware upfront as well as the ongoing costs of maintaining the hardware and providing the square footage to house the hardware.

Reduced carbon footprint – An independent study found that the cloud is green. Businesses can not only reduce their own electrical power consumption by not maintaining their own servers locally but also reduce their employees’ electrical consumption indirectly at the server end. This is true because the data centers that provide cloud software over the Internet are able to intelligently and automatically bring additional server hardware online or take it offline throughout the day as demand changes hour-by-hour or minute-by-minute. This means on average each user who is not actively using the software is not requiring a data center to use some amount of electricity. In contrast, a business running its own local server would have to keep that server running even if only one person were using it, wasting the power required to provide that potential usability to other users who are currently idle.

Learn more about Microsoft Office 365 pricing and features.