Since the onset of COVID-19, there has been a huge movement towards remote working among businesses, and it looks as though it won’t be going anywhere soon. There is some debate going on in the business world as to whether a fully remote business model will be most prevalent, or if a hybrid work model – where some employees are remote, and others work in the office, or else split their time – will be most common. Either way, it is imperative that businesses implementing any kind of remote work should have the right products and services implemented.
Many people consider Microsoft 365 as being the ideal service stack for remote working businesses. TechQuarters, a Microsoft partner that provides IT support services in London uses Microsoft 365 in their own organisation, and have helped many of their customers migrate to it as well. One of the reasons it is so well-suited to remote working business is that all the products and services included in it are Cloud-based and are all heavily integrated, thanks to Microsoft’s approach to hyperconnectivity. Below are some of the top reasons why Microsoft 365 is great for remote businesses.
One thing that every business should appreciate is that affordability of Microsoft 365, when you consider all the services you get access to with it. Microsoft use a subscription-based model for their flagship services – plans are bill per user, per month. Microsoft are currently transitioning to annual commitments for their business plans; but at less than £4 per user, per month for the Business Basic plan, and less than £20 per user, per month for the Business Premium plan (which includes all Microsoft products and services), the value for money is undeniably very good.
Email, calendar and meetings
With all Microsoft 365 plans, you get access to the Outlook email client, and the Microsoft Exchange email and calendaring server. Outlook offers a deep set of tools that are especially convenient for users that use the Microsoft Office applications – it has excellent integration with the rest of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, particularly with Microsoft Teams, their collaborative communications platform.
The calendars for Outlook and Teams are fully integrated, meaning that you can view your schedule, and also schedule meetings in either app. You can also join calls and meetings from both Outlook and Teams.
Microsoft 365 contains a host of different communication channels. To start with, you have Outlook and Exchange for emails; but you also have SharePoint, which is a highly configurable platform that can be used to create sites for teams and departments, offering them a perfect environment to store and share files relating to their work.
What is more, Microsoft Teams combines several forms of communication into one platform – it incorporates instant messaging, video calls, meetings, and conferences; you can even enable telephony within Teams. All of these products integrate very well – for example, you can open SharePoint sites within Microsoft Teams, and it has already been said the Teams and Outlook calendars are fully integrated.
Telephony is an incredibly important aspect of all businesses, and Microsoft 365 has made it possible to integrate a businesses telephony into their other products and services. Business Voice is Microsoft’s Cloud telephony solution (also known as Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP), and it is enabled within Teams; when you purchase the Business Voice license, it automatically unlocks the telephony system in your Teams interface, and you get a calling plan.
The really great thing about Business Voice is that, because it is integrated into Microsoft Teams, it can be used from any device that supports the app – so smartphones, tablets, laptop and desktop PCs can all be used for Microsoft telephony.
Cloud Storage and Backup
Microsoft 365 has two cloud storage services included in its plans. To start with, you have OneDrive – this is an individual storage service for users; each user gets 1 terabyte of storage which can be accessed via the web, on local devices, and from within a range of Microsoft apps. For example, all Microsoft Office applications (such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) are connected to a user’s OneDrive, meaning that new documents are automatically saved to OneDrive. Microsoft Teams also allows you to search your OneDrive from within its interface.
For projects, teams, and organisation-wide file management, Microsoft SharePoint offers unrivalled configurability. The most common use of SharePoint is to create sites where teams and departments can collaborate and share files, but another common way that businesses use SharePoint is as a Backup for their company data.
Real-time co-authoring and file share
The integration of SharePoint and OneDrive with the Microsoft Office applications means that businesses can co-author files and documents, and share files incredibly easily. Users that have had a document shared with them can access the document at the same time, and work on it together – edits made to the document will be updated in real time so that all participants can see them.
Because Microsoft 365 is entirely Cloud-based, it means file sharing is very easy. In previous years, users may have had to send files via email or other dedicated file-sharing methods; however, with Microsoft 365, it is easy as simply saving a document to a SharePoint site that their colleagues have access to. This is a better solution than sending files, because it means that there is only ever one version of document to keep track of – and users can even look at the version history of a document.
Security and Device Management
Microsoft 365 also includes a range of excellent security features. Most of the security and compliance features of Microsoft 365 are found in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal. Defender includes an array of security measures – this includes Defender for Office 365, which offers email filtering and threat detection; Defender for Identity provides advanced threat detection, and helps you identify compromised accounts; Defender for business is an enterprise-grade endpoint protection service that is effective for business with up to 300 employees.