Are you considering Office 365 for your company and overwhelmed with the choices and are looking for some professional guidance?

Why Xerillion for Office 365?

imageofwayneDear fellow colleague,

So you are interested in Office 365? Great!

You are making a smart move for your business and I am happy for you. If you are a start-up, you’ll likely get to avoid the pain so many older businesses have had to go through having servers onsite to do things Office 365 does easily like email and share files.

If you own a more established business, if you and I get to talking about Office 365, it will likely be around how many servers moving to Office 365 can take out. And for the servers we cannot take out with Office 365, that usually then leads to a conversation about Microsoft Azure – which often taken take out the remaining servers in our company.

Do you want to understand the options better and figure out which plan is the best fit for your company? The options can be overwhelming.

Most of the time when I talk to companies they had a rough idea what Office 365 can do. They understand that they can get their email there and that they can get a license of Microsoft Office for their computer. Beyond that, they tend to not know much more, and that is where I jump in.

Frankly speaking, what they know as I described it above is about as much as most IT Pros (IT Pros being people like your IT consultant, computer tech, IT manager, or “IT guy”, that works on your computer system) know as well. Would that surprise you? Currently, in 2016, it is most definitely the case.

Most IT Pros have skills built for the small business “age of servers”. This is roughly a 20 year span of time between 1995 and 2015 when small businesses needed to put in expensive servers at their office to do things like: share files on Windows Server, host email with Exchange Server, run databases on SQL Server, run 3rd party business applications of various types, run backups.

How many of you installed “Microsoft Small Business Server” during that time? A lot of you. I know, we at Xerillion installed lots and lots of small business servers.

In the late 2000’s, Microsoft began ramping up their data centers and building out their cloud offerings. From 2015 on, the tide has turned, and for the cloud business market, Microsoft is again the dominant player.

I remember a time when businesses were “cool” to run Google Apps, and Microsoft, at least in the traditional client/server world with Microsoft Office, was “not cool”. Office 365 was having a tough time against Google Apps. There was a tough period for Microsoft in 2010/2011. Google and Apple were dominating. Well, that is not the case anymore. All the conversations we have these days with existing and new clients is around Office 365 and the Microsoft Cloud. Nobody brings up Google Apps anymore.

My company, Xerillion, has migrated over 3,000 users to Office 365. I am personally certified in Office 365, though I myself do not do the actual implementations – our consultants do that for our clients. I got the certifications because I find the technology fascinating. Knowing what it used to take to get someone on Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, Lync, ect. Office 365 keeps on changing and improving too. They keep the price the same but keeping adding more and more value. Recently Microsoft announced they were going to lift their SharePoint Online storage from 1TB to 25TB. WOW!

I have fielded hundreds of initial calls and as many proposals for Office 365 migrations.

Interestingly, very few people raise concerns over security in the Cloud anymore. And, in the rare cases that they do, I tell them, if they gave me a huge IT budget of say $100,000, I couldn’t come close to building something as highly functional and secure as Office 365 for $5 to $20/user/month.

The idea that an on-premise system is more secure simply is not the case. In the Microsoft Cloud world, there are tight restrictions around what we, as IT people building out a Client’s system in the Cloud, can and cannot do. In the world of the on-premise system, those restrictions are not there. IT Pros of various abilities build out the systems to the best of their abilities. Most are not security experts by any stretch. Your data is MUCH more safer in Microsoft’s Cloud, built by their legions of engineers in their multibillion dollar data center, than what could be built to a local IT shop with a budget of $20,000 - $30,000.

People typically feel overwhelmed with the options. Which package it the right one? That question we can usually work out pretty quickly. Are you a for profit? Do you have advanced security needs? Those questions narrow things down quick.

Where I seem to spend a lot of time educating people, is how SharePoint and OneDrive work, and how document management works with Office 365.

Here is a fact: most IT Pros do not understand SharePoint, and I’ll explain why.

IT Pro’s know how to build simple, old-fashioned file servers – the types of file servers that have been around for 30+ years. You load up a server with the Windows Server operating system. You create “Public” folder and give everyone permissions to it. Users map a “P” drive on their desktop computer and access public the folders and files inside the file server. Sometimes we’ll setup some folders like Accounting, Finance or HR which, hopefully, only a few special uses have access to.

This configuration is sooooooooo common. To tell you the truth, it almost aggravates me to think that IT Pro’s still setup document “management” this way—knowing what I know about SharePoint, that is.

With a file server, we have an untracked, mostly unmanaged document SHARING system. We DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, have a document MANAGEMENT system.

From most every conversation I ever have with business owners, they want document MANAGEMENT, not document SHARING. When I’m on an Office 365 demo and get to what SharePoint can do for their document management and team collaboration, is when they really start getting excited about Office 365.

I won’t get into the thick of SharePoint Online – that is another article, though the big items are that SharePoint automatically keeps previous versions of your documents that you can restore, it has its own recycle bin (and a backup recycle bin – just in case), it indexes all the content in your documents so you can search for keywords inside all documents without having to remember the title, two people can work on a document at the same time, and SharePoint track everything done to a document.

And yes I get asked this a lot: if you get Office 365, can you get rid of your file server, or your DropBox or Box.com account? Yes, yes you can.

Sometimes I get calls about people that have done an Office 365 trial, but feel they are “just scratching the surface” of what Office 365 can do for their company. I agree, most don’t understand how much it can do, and to be fair to them, nobody has told them, and most businesses are not connected with a IT resource that can tell them.

Office 365 has STRONG, very ADVANCED security controls. Many of our clients, when asked, will tell me they do have to send sensitive emails and documents out to clients from time to time. I sure know I do here at Xerillion. We have all kinds of sensitive information – we are an IT company. We have passwords, networking information, credit cards, tax ID’s, ect. When we send out emails that have the word “password” in the subject or body, Office 365 knows to bounce that back to the sender and let them know that was a “no-no”, and to resend the message encrypted. Office 365 does not come out of the box this way, and there are only certain subscriptions that have this capability, and only certain Office 365 consultants that even know how to set that up.

I also like Office 365’s Azure Rights Management. For example, in Outlook, when I create an email, I can specify if I want to control if it can be forwarded, if someone can copy it, if someone can do a screen capture, if someone can print, or edit it. We have all been there where we forwarded on an email we shouldn’t have, or someone forwarded on an email we didn’t want them to creating a hot wave of embarrassment or to flood over your body. Office 365 gives us an easy way to manage this. Again, this is not an out of the box thing, this has to be planned and configured.

With Office 365, the days of you needing a VPN to manage are over. Good riddance to right? That VPN can be such a pain.

With Office 365, you can also control what devices even have the right to sync whole copies of your company data to laptops, cell phones or other mobile devices. We can setup “wipe” controls if a laptop or phone is lost or stolen.

We can setup multi-factor authentication, so that even if someone does get your password, they will need your cell phone to get to your data. I personally have my Office 365 account setup this way.

I HIGHLY recommend integrating Skype for Business, that comes with Office 365 for your company. Once your company has corporate instant messaging, presence (online, away from computer, out of the office, in a meeting), desktop/document presentation, audio/video conferencing, and dial-in conferencing, you’ll be addicted. Skype is a nice “middle ground” between email and a phone.

With Office 365, for your email and documents, you very well may not need anymore servers, and for those applications that you do have servers, we can talk to you about moving those to Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft continues to build out their Office 365 platform. Now you can add the enterprise grade Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft Project Online, and soon, Microsoft will be adding Dynamics NAV Online, which will be Microsoft accounting and finance system for Office 365 customers. Think of it as a competitor to Quickbooks.

Wayne signature

Wayne Chapin
President
Xerillion
847-995-9800

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Where Xerillion really shines, is their ability to custom tailor their services to client needs.

The single largest benefit to my company, since moving to Office 365, has been the reliable access to email. Prior to Xerillion migrating our email domain to Office 365, we experienced a lot of errors, bounced emails, and did not have the bandwidth to troubleshoot all of these issues. I no longer have to worry about whether or not my email will go down, and can instead focus on the strategic and operational aspects of my firm. Where Xerillion really shines, is their ability to custom tailor their services to client needs. Xerillion is nimble and responsive due to their size and expertise in Microsoft solutions.

Principal
vytl LLC
Xerillion Corporation
5 / 5 stars

We continue to be impressed with the resourcefulness and responsiveness of Xerillion's team.

The install of Office 365 was seamless and went without a hitch. The conversion was done in a timely manner and we did not experience any disruptions, which was an extremely important element of the project. One of the greatest benefits, is for those of us that access our emails remotely with laptops- it became as seamless as using our cellphones. Xerillion's breadth of technical resources, is extremely refreshing, as they are able to handle IT issues immediately. All in all, we are all very pleased with the decision we have made to outsource our IT support to Xerillion, and we continue to be impressed with the resourcefulness and responsiveness of their technicians.

President
Trendler
Xerillion Corporation
5 / 5 stars

Radco recently migrated to Office 365 with Xerillion's guidance. Office 365 was a strategic move & has been a stable solution.

Xerillion's responsiveness to our IT issues is unparalleled. They take the time to actually listen to the issue we are experiencing, and then put together a strategic plan to remedy the situation, all within a quick turnaround. Recently, Radco migrated to Office 365 with Xerillion's guidance. Office 365 has been a stable solution comparative to our previous issues with emails not being received by the recipients. Moreover, if it's a simple help desk question, you help us out right away. This has been very helpful to several of our employees who need to get moving or printing right away. Everything from contacting your support desk to the planning of our IT infrastructure is handled in a professional manner. If someone is on the fence about choosing Xerillion as their IT firm, I would say you have nothing to lose, Xerillion's IT support is superior and they stand behind their 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Radco
Xerillion Corporation
5 / 5 stars

Quick response time & peace of mind with Office 365.

Xerillion's IT support staff have been first rate in being available, answering questions, and keeping the IT aspect of our small practice operational in a cost effective manner. With Xerillion's advice and guidance, the changeover to Office 365 has been sound. Having our applications in the cloud with the intrinsic abilities of cloud based applications and data to be protected, backed up, stored, and updated. At my stage the benefits are "peace of mind" elements. Probably akin to preventative healthcare steps. Xerillion's support and Office 365 has enabled me to operate my practice one more year and that's had some benefits for me as well as a number of patients who were grateful that were still able to receive benefits of my expertise. Thank you Xerillion!

Practice Owner
Xerillion Corporation
5 / 5 stars