With U.S. businesses — and even entire cities — restraining workers from commuting to and from work for the near-term, at least, many firms are turning to Microsoft Office 365 to facilitate remote workplace productivity. This platform is a sound choice — well-regarded in the business community, by 2018 it had already reached more than 50% saturation in the cloud productivity market. Today, Office 365 users comprise more than 80% of business workers whose firms have shifted to cloud productivity services.
Although Office 365 is a powerful platform that Novatech recommends highly, we have always advocated for companies to use third-party “turn up” assistance. That advice has now become an imperative, as hackers work overtime to take advantage of organizations inadequately prepared for remote working. From exploiting improperly configured network or Internet connections to persuading panicked users to open infected emails (often disguised as “urgent COVID-19 alerts”), cybercriminals are having a field day.
Consequently, unless companies already have a professional IT team proficient with both cybersecurity and cloud environments, we strongly urge professional assistance deploying and configuring Office 365’s security, backup and other advanced features.
Microsoft Provides the Tools; You Decide How to Use Them
None of our recommendations suggest that Microsoft or Office 365 are deficient. Rather, the platform was designed to be flexible — to give organizations the option of configuring different levels of security as required for different roles within the company. The activities involved with this level of specification can require a lot of informed decisions.
Office 365 also offers a wide array of enhanced solutions beyond the components most workers think of as “Office programs.” Companies are shortchanging themselves not to leverage these tools, especially since some facilitate remote collaboration and information exchange. Yet, the more cloud services a firm runs, the more important it becomes to configure them appropriately for each category of user.
Confirming Your Implementation Is Productive and Secure
Microsoft recognizes the importance of expert configuration and administration, and therefore offers “Office 365 Admin” training in two levels:
- Business owners and admins for small to midsize firm training;
- Enterprise IT Professionals for larger or more complex businesses.
Office 365 Admins are individuals within a firm who have been designated to manage the Office 365 implementation and the users who rely upon it. That can be a complicated task fraught with pitfalls for the unwary, so this training is important if a firm plans to designate an Office 365 Admin.
In our experience, however, unless the organization already has an Office 365 expert on staff, the considerable education and training involved will delay secure implementation and configuration of Office 365. Given the current emergency, that’s not a safe option. Professional assistance is the prudent alternative.
We recommend even firms that already have Office 365 installed work with a platform specialist that can perform a “checkup.” Novatech has experts on its staff who are deeply qualified in Office 365 deployment and administration. They have helped businesses large and small define their user groups, custom match the perfect combination of Office 365 features with each one, and then configure each to ensure secure operation.