Can You Improve On One of the Best SaaS Products Ever Released?

One of the best & most successful examples of a vendor delivering their services via the Cloud is Microsoft and their Office365 product.  It has been claimed that it is the fastest growing business in Microsoft’s history.

Below are some of the reasons why

1: Security

Microsoft’s online services have been designed with security in mind.  An example of this is the inclusion of multiple antivirus engines that don’t rely on manual updates and access of applications through 128-bit SSL/TSL encryption to mitigate against snooping.

2: Reliability

After security, the most commonly mentioned area of concern regarding cloud services is reliability. Downtime means lost worker productivity and ultimately costs companies money.

3: Compliance

Compliance with government and industry regulations is a big deal in today’s business world. Microsoft Office 365 services have been certified as compliant with ISO 27001 standards, completed SAS70 Type I and II audits.

4: Compatibility

In today’s economy, many companies can’t upgrade all of their desktop systems to the latest operating system. That’s not necessary to use Office 365. Microsoft Online Services supports not only Windows 7 and Vista (SP2), but also Windows XP SP3. Even XP Home edition or Media Center edition can be used, although it doesn’t support federated identity. Mac users can also access the Office 365 applications, using OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

5: Up-to-date versions

With Office 365, companies and their users get all the features and functionality of the very latest versions of Microsoft’s server products. The services run on Exchange 2010 SP1, SharePoint 2010, and Lync. Client software is Microsoft Lync 2010 for Windows (Communicator for Mac), and the enterprise edition includes the licensing for Office 2010 Professional Plus.

6: Single sign-on

Assuming your network is running Server 2008 Active Directory on-premises, you can configure Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) to achieve single sign-on, so that users can log on to the domain and be automatically authenticated to Office 365.

7: Reduced IT implementation and Support effort

With any implementation and ongoing administrative effort, this will be minimized as the core foundation of the service will be managed by Microsoft. Any effort is now reduced as there is more predictability and less effort on implementations and ongoing troubleshooting.

8: Financial Savings

There are multiple areas of cost savings when it comes to moving into the cloud. Know that this can vary greatly depending on your organization’s size, licensing agreements with Microsoft, etc. Overall the savings fall into three separate areas: Infrastructure, User licensing, Migration savings.

9: Updates

Microsoft will automatically apply updates every 90 days instead of manually applying every 3 years on each desktop.

10: Disaster Recovery

Microsoft has real time backups and a 99.9% guarantee uptime. Data will never be lost again as it can be restored in virtual realtime.

Is there room for improvement?  The answer is always yes.

Appriver have built a host of services & complimentary products that can be used to supplement the O365 suite.  These include anti-spam, web filtering, email archiving and encrypted email all wrapped up in an award winning support package.  Recently Appriver has expanded its successful email and security business by joining the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider programme which now allows them to sell Office 365.   Partners are always looking for the opportunity to increase loyalty from their customers and to elevate their margins.  With Appriver partners now have the opportunity to add additional value to any Office 365 sale.

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