Office365 has become the common platform for cloud hosted email.  There are several different subscriptions that your company can use that will provide different features and benefits.  Most companies only use a fraction of the available services and features that come with their subscription.

In this article, we are going to present 5 ways to maximize your investment with Office365.

1. Choose the Right Subscription Plan for your business.

The first step in determining the right plan is to know the size of your organization and how many accounts will be needed.   Microsoft Business plans such as Microsoft Business Essentials, Microsoft Business Premium and Microsoft 365 are designed for organizations under 300 employees.  Microsoft Enterprise Plans such as E1, E3 and E5 are designed for organization over 300. 

The next step on determining the right plan is to understand your business security and compliance requirements.  Do you need to enforce advanced security measures such as legal and compliance holds, data leak protection (DLP) to monitor, detect and block insecure transmission of sensitive data such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, date of birth, etc, or mobile device management.  Organizations of any size that need to meet these requirements will likely need the Microsoft 365 or Enterprise E3 plan to get all of these features.

2. Leverage One Drive and Sharepoint

You should always choose a subscription that includes OneDrive and Sharepoint access. This provides you with cloud file storage that will allow you to access your files anytime, anywhere and from any device.   You can also securely share files and folders with co-workers or people outside of your organization.

OneDrive acts as your personal file storage.  No one else can see files in your OneDrive unless you share them with others.  OneDrive will also sync your files across your devices, so if you have a desktop, laptop, tablet, etc, you can view and edit files stored in your OneDrive on any device and the changes will be synced across devices.

*Pro tip – You can configure OneDrive to Automatically backup your Desktop, My Document and Picture folders on your PC.

Sharepoint can be used as an online collaborative space for your organization.  You can have shared document storage and manage who can access those documents within your organization.  You can specify whether people can share documents outside of your organization.  Sharepoint also allows you to create an intranet site to share important information via accessible online web pages.  Sharepoint can be configured to notify people of any changes made to anything contained within Sharepoint.
*Pro tip – You can map a network drive to Sharepoint document storage to help people in your organization adjust to cloud storage.  This works the same as mapping a network drive to an internal file server.

3. Increase Communication & Reduce Internal Email with Teams

Microsoft Teams creates an easy to use and manage chat system within your organization.  Team members can chat with each other directly.  You can also create “channels” within Teams to act as a feed for groups or departments within your company.  Channels work great for projects.  You can create a channel for a project and only associate the people working on the project with that channel.  This gives everyone on the channel the ability to communicate easily about project updates, changes, etc without having to create an email chain, notify people individually or create noise for other people not working on a particular project.  Teams channels have an email address associated with the channel, so you can share that email address with people outside of your organization.  Anytime someone emails that Teams address, a notification will be created in the channel for everyone to see.

Teams also allows you to securely share files between people and channels.  You can call, video call or conference call with others.  There is a shared calendar, file repository, Wiki, shift scheduling and more. 

All chats, messages, etc are logged so organizations can review and monitor communications within teams if necessary.

Teams has allowed our organization to significantly reduce internal email since we can now easily communicate within Teams.

4. Secure Your Data

Office365 allows you to configure several advanced security controls for your accounts. Some are included with every subscription, but some features may require specific plans, which goes back to #1 – Determining the needs of your organization.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA is included with all Office365 accounts and can be controlled by an administrator.  Multi-factor authentication requires users to provide an additional authentication method to use Office365 beyond just a username and password.  Secondary authentication methods include phone call, text message or approval via a mobile app.  This means when users to try to sign into their account, they enter their email address and password and then have to authenticate with a code sent via text, phone call or on the mobile app.

With MFA enabled, user passwords become less important.  In fact, Microsoft even recommends turning off password expiration and securing accounts with MFA.  Our recommendation is use Microsoft’s Authentication app, available on Android and iPhone, as the secondary authentication method.

There are other protections you can configure as well such as geographic filtering which allows you to block user logins from other countries.  Mobile device management (MDM) is another great feature that allows you track, log, audit and enforce security on mobile devices.  With MDM enabled, you can also remotely wipe company data off of the device should it become lost or stolen.

5. Share Knowledge with Office365 Videos

Sharing knowledge within an organization is key. Writing a document may not always be effective, but the use of videos can provide more insight on certain processes.  Office365 has a built-in Video app that allows you to create channels and upload videos to share within your organization.   Our company uses this to create training videos that are used for onboarding new employees, as well as “How To Videos” for various tasks and processes.   You have the ability to share these videos outside of your organization if desired.

There are several other ways to maximize your investment with Office365.  Microsoft continues to add more features and enhance existing features, so it is important to stay up to date as the platform continues to grow and add value to those who use it.

If you want help with Office365 to make sure you are taking advantage of these features and more, give us a call at 951-653-9562 or email