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Understanding What Office 365 Can (and Can't) Do

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Understanding What Office 365 Can (and Can't) Do

February 29, 2016
By Michelle Amodio
TMCnet Contributor

When Microsoft’s (News - Alert) cloud-based solution, Office 365, made its debut in 2011, it gave organizations another approach to how and when they used Microsoft’s host of tools. Office 365 allows users to access files anywhere, online or offline, and offers the ability to collaborate and share from a computer or mobile device. While software as a service (SaaS (News - Alert)) has changed how people work, there are still limitations to consider, especially where Office 365 is concerned.

There are data, security, and mobility limitations, all of which can impact productivity and efficiency, depending on needs and expectations. As with all cloud solutions, there are also network and bandwidth concerns and lack of data control. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that with a subscription service, you will always have access to the latest versions and oftentimes, it is much cheaper to pay monthly versus having to purchase several licenses. While that is all well and good, organizations must look at the total picture of what they’re getting – and what they’re not.

The first notable limitation in using Office 365 lies in Microsoft’s file sharing services. All Office 365 file sharing services come with size limit of 2GB, which can make routine sharing of very large files or batches of files a bit of an issue. Clients want high levels of sharing, collaboration and productivity inside their organizations. Distributed enterprises with mobile workforces need their employees to have anytime/anywhere access to their files and important data. Cloud-based file sharing is a critical solution to helping employees access their files from mobile devices, tablets, home PCs, or from a secure Web portal accessible anywhere in the world. Limits only hinder this objective.

There are also security limitations where certain customers are concerned. For example, Microsoft does not operate a data center in the U.K., which raises some security concerns. Sharing and collaboration can make organizations more competitive, but owners, managers, and channel professionals need to ensure that the right security and control procedures are in place to safeguard corporate data. Business-class file sharing make this possible, but only when it’s at a data center that is secure and doesn’t involve other jurisdictions and legal ramifications.

As useful and versatile as software packages are like Office 365 are, and as with any system, there are limitations as to what you can do and what you can achieve using the native software. As always, the proof is in the detail and how it has an effect on overall quality and cost, not to mention productivity and efficiency. 

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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