Technology is ever advancing, and even the smallest of businesses must keep in step to remain competitive. Efficiency is the key to modern, effective operations, yet keeping teams aligned and working towards the common goal can be tougher than ever when members are remote working. Microsoft solutions can help the business increase productivity and modernize their operations, and at the same time provide stronger security and enhanced protection.
For just about every business, it makes sense to consider using Microsoft 365 services. But there are a lot to choose from, and not all services work as you might expect, so here is a little information that might help with making service selection a little easier.
Does it make sense to implement Microsoft Teams for intra-company calls, meetings, and collaboration?
Teams is great for calling your co-workers, sharing screens, presenting content, and collaborating in workgroups or with the whole company. But be warned that Teams meetings don’t work for everyone, particularly those outside your organization or for users that don’t have useful Internet connectivity.
- To use Teams with people outside the company, or even for users that don’t have Internet connectivity, you’ll need to also have a calling plan for each user.
- A calling plan allows Teams to connect a phone number to the Teams meeting, creating a means for non-Teams users and those without internet to connect to the meeting audio.
Should you migrate employee email inboxes to MS365 (Outlook Desktop and/or Outlook Online)?
Using Microsoft for email services make a ton of sense, especially with the advanced phishing and threat protection that comes standard with the service. It is pretty much foolproof for most businesses and is a great value. If your business is migrating to Microsoft from a legacy email platform or from a different mail provider, there are a few things to consider.
- Many companies use their desktop Outlook email folders as a sort of file cabinet, storing and categorizing emails for future use. In older MS Exchange environments, Public Folders were also used, enabling company-wide access to certain email folders and the file attachments within.
- MS365/Office365 email services don’t support public folders, and every email box comes with a storage quota. If the business is used to saving lots of emails, then it might create difficulties with mailbox management.
- Outlook Desktop still has limitations on the file size it can reasonably handle. This means that Outlook, when connected to hosted Exchange mail (Microsoft365), should run in cached mode, keeping only recent data in the Outlook file on the computer and leaving the rest of the mail on the server. Mail on the server is still available for search by Outlook; the program will simply search in the local data file first.
Can you, or should you, migrate your company’s files to the Microsoft cloud?
Keeping your files on the “cloud” is a concept that sounds convenient, but it isn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds. In this case, the idea is to migrate files from PCs and servers to Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint, where the files can be available to all users regardless of where the user is working from.
- Putting a big hard drive on your PC or server can be relatively inexpensive. “Storage is cheap” we hear quite often. Yet all storage facilities are not alike. It might be a cheap option to add a big hard drive or USB drive to your local system but paying for storage space on the web becomes a different deal. You may find that safe, protected storage for your files is not quite as inexpensive as you thought, especially over time. When you must pay every month for the storage you use, you rapidly realize why file housekeeping is essential.
- File and folder permissions do not translate from your Windows file system to a SharePoint or OneDrive. You must create your own groups and set file and folder permissions as you want them AFTER the data is uploaded to the cloud platform.
- Once the files are in the cloud platform, each user must determine what and how the files will sync with their local computers. There may be an option to “sync on demand” (depends on device platform) that can allow users to selectively sync files to/from their computers, but the fact remains that the data is being downloaded to the local computer so that it can be worked on. This still means that the local computer must have the necessary software installed, and the PC should be protected with backup, anti-virus and anti-malware and MFA.
- Database files cannot work in a web file location. This means that programs that have associated database/data files must still have their files located on a network server for users to access them. QuickBooks, tax software, trial balance software, workpapers and fixed assets, inventory management or manufacturing, and more may require the server to serve the application and/or data to the users. This means that servers and networks and the need to manage the network and the individual computers remains in full.
- If all other data is stored on the cloud platform, then you now have data and resources to manage both places.
What does the new Microsoft365 Cloud PC mean for small businesses?
- The new Cloud PC from Microsoft365 can solve a tremendous problem for the very small business in that it can become the IT infrastructure and it is fully cloud platform.
- Cloud PC is meant to replace your local PC as your operating environment. Rather than installing software and storing data on your local device, the idea is that your software gets installed on your Cloud PC and your data is stored, ideally, in your OneDrive, or maybe on the drive of your Cloud PC.
- This makes the Cloud PC a perfect solution for that single user that needs to run their QuickBooks or other applications from anywhere.
- The thing with the small business Cloud PC is that it cannot be networked. It may be able to “see” and work with your local device hard drive or even mapped drives that your local device is connected to, but it isn’t able to work with a network server or share like a local PC would.
- This means that you may be able to store and retrieve files from servers or other drives on your local PC or network, but you won’t be able to access databases or other server or network-based applications that need the network to function.
- This also means that you can’t share data on one cloud PC to another cloud PC… they aren’t networked together.
Why NOOBEH’s Cloud Service model is better
There’s a reason why businesses adopt NOOBEH QuickBooks on Azure services, and the benefits are as great as ever. Businesses work with NOOBEH and our QuickBooks on Azure services because we have the flexibility to do what the business needs, and to offer a comprehensive approach that doesn’t leave applications, services and data hanging around on local networks or unprotected computers.
Where the Microsoft365 Cloud PC is a great answer for the single-user, NOOBEH’s cloud servers are designed for multiple users needing access to common applications and/or data. Multi-user QuickBooks desktop applications, Sage or AccountEdge, MISys Manufacturing or Acctivate Inventory, ShipGear or Starship, Fedex or UPS and much more… we host the applications that businesses use every day.
NOOBEH keeps the applications and data securely running on private Microsoft Azure cloud servers. Centralized, server-based management of applications and data means that software does not have to be installed and maintained on individual computers, so the need for local PC backups and anti-virus and malware protection is also minimized. All users work on the same version of the same software, and everyone accesses the same data in real time. Version control issues and sync problems are entirely avoided when everyone is working in the live system with live data, and Microsoft’s Azure platform ensures that issues due to transient hardware failures are a thing of the past.
When the company has workers that must operate from their local computers, NOOBEH can enable a solution to keep SharePoint in sync with the cloud server, ensuring that workers on and off the server are able to reach the most current version of the files. Users working in QuickBooks can interact directly with SharePoint files and folders by using the native Windows File Explorer where users operating on their local PCs access SharePoint via OneDrive or via the web. This approach delivers the best of both worlds to businesses who need more flexible modes of operating.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can help your business do more in less time, improve efficiency and work more effectively with a system that works where and when you need it.