You got your email migrated to Office 365, got everyone the subscription version of the Microsoft Office desktop apps and stopped. You'd love to move your files into Office 365 but are not sure how to do it with SharePoint Online, OneDrive or Microsoft Teams. Hint: the key is to make files shares in Office 365 look like mapped drives in Windows File Explorer to your users (and we can help you with that.)
From there we can discuss moving your phone services to the Microsoft Phone System using Teams or traditional desk phones, and then handling security and management using Microsoft Intune and Microsoft 365 Identity and Threat Protection services to complete your cloud services IT system.
Let's get your computers Windows OS and Office Apps upgraded (and stay that way), email, files and phones migrated, security and system stability VASTLY improved, and never deal with another server refresh or IT migration project ever again.
Why Xerillion for Office 365?
So you are interested in Office 365? Great!
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 hosting those Windows apps and SQL Server in Microsoft Azure using Windows Virtual Desktop (which licenses are included with Microsoft 365) – 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 we at Xerillion jump in.
Most IT Pros have skills built for the“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.
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 and is not the world's most valuable public company.
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 6,000 users to Office 365. I am personally certified in Office 365 as is nearly every other tech in our company. 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.
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 Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online and OneDrive work, and how document management works with Office 365.
Here is a fact: most IT Pros do not understand Microsoft Teams or 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.
Office 365 also has retention policies - a sophisticated replacement to backup systems. With retention policies, you say things like "keep legal files forever" - even if someone deletes or purges them (accidentally or intentionally), and you can also say "remove all emails older than 7 years". This type of system is proper data governance and is much simpler and more practical to setup. And, there is no backup system or disaster recovery system needed.
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 Microsoft Teams, 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. Teams is a nice “middle ground” between email and a phone, as well as a complete collaboration system. You'll go from "talking" about collaboration to actually do it - just by using Microsoft Teams.
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.