Cloud Comms

Microsoft Office 365: How to make the move to an empowered future

In part one of this blog, we looked at how cloud is becoming the new vision for intelligent communications. Specifically, we discussed why Microsoft is at the forefront of that vision, sparking a revolution in digital transformation and positioning financial services to better access and interpret data in real time, create agile and collaborative teams, and stay on top of rapidly-changing regulatory compliance. We addressed how Microsoft is responding to industry disruptions that are fundamentally reshaping the industry. We explored the platforms that give greater IT flexibility, nimbleness and security, infrastructure with levels of soaring performance and downward prices, packaged in elegant, powerful and modern applications that define how we do business. Our aim? - To show you why you should make the move to Office 365.

Now you know the reasons why you should move to Office 365, in this blog, we will show you how to do just that. We appreciate that embarking on any major transformational IT project can seem like a daunting prospect for CIO’s or Senior IT Managers. This is not helped by the slightly clouded perception (pun intended) of what moving to the cloud actually entails. When it comes to cloud migration and myths, there are plenty. On this journey, we’re going to pull your head out of the clouds and explain exactly what small and medium-size businesses need to know about moving to Office 365.

Cloud Migration is too complex?...

When you start to consider moving terabytes or petabytes of data to the cloud, it’s easy to see why some people think “going cloud” will be too big a challenge, despite seeing the obvious benefits. A bit like seeing a nice house in the window of an estate agent and then immediately being zapped back to reality at the thought of moving all the furniture.

Continuing that analogy, think of us as the removal company. There to help you every step of the way with information and tips on firewall configurations, reverse proxy requirements, identify options, migration possibilities, and a phased approach for hybrid setups.

When you migrate to Office 365 you have the choice of managing your own migration or letting our team of experts do it for you. If you prefer to do it yourself, we’ve created several paths you can follow, and in most cases, you can use your existing tools and processes. We provide an array of online tools to help you too. In other words, cloud migration really needn't be intimidating.

Keeping data on-premises is safer?...

Understandably, IT folk are walking on eggshells when it comes to embarking on any major IT transformation that exposes the company to as-yet-unknown vulnerabilities in new technology and the threat that poses to firms' networks and to the security of customer data. A world-wide survey of almost 900 executives found that more than two-thirds of respondents believe the likelihood of a cyber attack to be “very” or “extremely” high.

It’s no surprise then that a popular myth amongst those hesitant to make the move to the cloud base their negligence on not wanting to compromise security. However, that myth needs dispelling. According to Gartner, this is the sixth most commonly cited misconception when it comes to cloud migration.

In fact, “It’s becoming increasingly clear that on-premises systems aren’t inherently more secure than they’d be in the cloud.” These words come from Mark Anderson, founder of the INVNT/IP Global Consortium - a group of governments and security experts dedicated to the cybertheft problem.

Office 365 has dedicated security most IT departments can’t match. Staffing industry-leading regulatory compliance experts means they know and keep up to date with the latest regulations and rules, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA). This means you can confidently put the safety of your company’s security in the hands of Microsoft.

I have to move everything to the cloud; it’s an all-or-nothing scenario?...

Moving to Office 365 does not mean you have to be like Daniel Craig going all in with his last poker hand in Casino Royale. In fact, most implementations start with a hybrid approach, moving a single application, like email, and growing from there. Whilst we are happy to sing from the rooftops about Office 365, we don’t advocate fork-lifting your entire enterprise to the cloud over the weekend. When it comes to making the transition, little by little is the smart approach.

The hybrid cloud creates a consistent platform that spans data centres and the cloud, simplifying IT and delivering apps and data to users on virtually any device, anywhere. It gives you control to deliver the computing power and capabilities that business demands, and to scale up or down as needed without wasting your onsite technology investments.

Many companies are moving productivity workloads to the cloud; each path is unique, and the time it takes for those migrations varies. We can help you move workloads such as file sync and share (OneDrive for Business) or email (Exchange) first, and then help you figure out the right long-term plan for more difficult or larger projects.

If our data moves to the cloud, IT will be out of a job?...

First, let’s start by saying IT isn’t rendered obsolete when you move to the cloud. Secondly, if that is your reason for not moving to the cloud, you may as well employ someone to continuously plant trees and chop them down. A never-ending cycle of repair and maintenance is only necessary until you can avoid the problem altogether. Rather than putting your IT folk out to pasture, you can eliminate the headaches and time spent maintaining hardware and upgrading software.

Now IT can focus on becoming a value-added service broker, rather than a repair service. IT has more time to spend improving business operations and launching agile initiatives. Instead of spending ever-larger portions of your capital budget on servers for email storage and workloads, you can think strategically and support business managers in a much more agile fashion, responding to their needs quickly. Do you want to be a repair service that treads water or a business that moves forward?

I have to learn all new tools to manage SharePoint Online?...

No one wants to learn how to ride a bike. You have to fall off countless times before you even get the slightest satisfaction from it. In business terms, this could mean disaster. Fear not, all of your hard work learning how to manage SharePoint is not lost! SharePoint Online shares the same familiar administration and management tools, whether your deployment is in the cloud, on location, or a hybrid of the two. Although your customisations aren’t populated to the cloud, all the administrative controls remain the same.

When moving to SharePoint Online, you no longer need to bother with controlling the implementation of the workload. Instead, your IT team can focus on controlling the configuration of the workload. With the convenient, one-time, expert-led implementation that SharePoint Online handles, your IT team can reallocate time they used to spend on implementation and concentrate on building strong, strategic tools for the business, increasing the level of collaboration in your business. SharePoint Online simply abstracts the infrastructure, allowing you to focus on the solution.

Dealing with the cloud is just another hassle?...

On the contrary… If there’s one thing legacy systems have taught us, it’s the dangers of being caught with custom hardware and software. The investment made in technology often runs into millions of pounds making the task of updating or replacing it a difficult or even prohibitive one for most companies. The older the technology the less chance there is that it is up to dealing with the sophisticated threats, externally and internally. So actually you would be far more justified in saying - “sticking with legacy systems is just another hassle...”

When you move to the cloud, the inconveniences of maintaining hardware and upgrading software are a thing of the past. Now your team can focus on being a business rather than a repair service. That means more time spent improving business operations, launching initiatives and establishing a business that is future-proof. When you can think strategically and support managers with more agility, you can be ready for the customers of tomorrow.


"Cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world," said Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner. Most understand that much. But with the bewildering amount of contradictory information floating around on the Internet, few understand exactly what moving to the cloud entails.

Office 365 comes with a dedicated team that will help you every step of the way, providing a dedicated security most IT departments can’t match, reducing hardware and upgrade headaches, offering scalability and a variety of options that best suit the needs of your business going forward. Whether that be embracing a full shift over time or adopting a hybrid approach, the ball is in your court. It’s the familiar apps you’ve loved and known for years, and it’s the plan your business needs to reach for the skies.

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