Microsoft office has more than 1.5 billion users worldwide. In fact, anyone who has used a computer in the last thirty years has probably come across an MS Office product.

Given its popularity, millions of businesses rely on Microsoft’s suite of productivity tools to communicate, collaborate, create documents, and balance their books.

Since its release in 2011, Office 365, the cloud-based version of the Office suite, has quickly gained traction as businesses seek a competitive edge in the marketplace.

So, what is Office 365, and how is it different from the regular MS Office suite? Why should businesses look to Office 365 to scale and grow their businesses? Are there any security risks? We’ll explore the answers to these and more of your Office 365 questions. Let’s get right down to it.

What is Office 365?

Office 365 is a cloud-based version of the popular Microsoft Office productivity suite. It’s subscription-based, meaning you only pay for the package that fits your needs.

Launched in 2011, Office 365 offers businesses an easier way to scale in the cloud without worrying about technical capabilities. Interestingly, the suite has all the core applications found in the traditional Office Suite, including Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, and OneNote. Depending on your subscription, the suite may include Skype for Business, Planner, Publisher, Exchange, Microsoft Teams, Sharepoint, etc.

While there are several subscription options for Office 365, including for personal use, education institutions, etc., our guide will mainly focus on Office 365 for Business. Our firm belief is that Brisbane businesses stand to benefit from MS Office 365 Business Premium cutting-edge capabilities

What is the difference between Office 365 and other versions?

Long-term MS Office users have grown accustomed to MS Office applications’ ease-of-use. Office 365 extends MS Office capabilities by running in the cloud and creating robust, seamless ways to collaborate and store information.

As a subscription-based service, you only pay a monthly fee for your desired level of service. In contrast, the traditional Office suite requires buying a copy for a single, upfront cost.

With Office 365, you always get the latest version of your popular applications because the updates occur on Microsoft’s end. Traditional Office users have to buy the newest software to enjoy the latest upgrades.

Additionally, Office 365 runs in the cloud. While a desktop version exists, the applications run online, with data hosted on Microsoft servers.

With Office 365, your business does not need to install countless software applications or maintain expensive hardware to operate. It runs online, giving you access anywhere your business takes you. It also comes with email hosting and generous cloud-based file hosting, so you always have access to your data regardless of the device you use to connect to the internet.

Looking at Office 365, it’s worth mentioning Google Workspace (formerly G-suite), another popular suite of productivity apps from Google. Unlike Office 365, G-suite is strictly online, meaning it does not offer any desktop applications. For businesses that require some offline presence, Office 365provides a much better option.

What’s included in Office 365 for Business?

Office 365 for Business includes all your favorite applications, such as Word and Excel. It also has other applications that help your business communicate, collaborate, and operate more efficiently.

While the eventual package differs based on your subscription, you can expect some of the core applications. These include Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Exchange, Sharepoint, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive for Business.

Indeed, some of the applications have mobile versions so you can run your business on the go.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of these applications and what they do for your business.

Microsoft Sharepoint

Sharepoint is a cloud-based collaborative platform that integrates with MS Office applications. You can use it to share documents and critical information with colleagues, vendors, and customers.


OneDrive is a cloud-based file storage solution. You can keep, sync, and share your files from anywhere with an internet connection. All Office 365 business users receive at least 1 TB of OneDrive storage. Indeed, more than 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies use OneDrive.

Skype for Business

Skype for Business is a commercial-friendly version of the popular chat and conferencing application. You can use it to send instant messages, share screens, record conversations, video-conference, etc. Furthermore, it integrates with other Office 365 applications for a seamless experience.

Why should businesses switch to Office 365?

Office 365 includes a whole range of benefits to businesses. These include:

  • Allows companies to focus on their core businesses without worrying about managing complex IT infrastructure.
  • Provides a cost-effective way to scale quickly without incurring expensive upfront infrastructure costs.
  • Office 365 helps companies cut back on expensive software licenses, storage capacities, and human resources to make it all run smoothly.
  • Businesses get the latest versions of all Office applications on their IT infrastructure, unlike in the traditional model where you have to wait for the upgrades.
  • It eases collaboration by providing seamless tools to communicate and quickly share documents. This is especially critical now as more people work-from-home because of the pandemic.
  • Office 365 equips your business with the productivity tools you need to create and manage data (Word, Excel, etc.), communicate (Skype for Biz, Outlook, etc.), and collaborate (Sharepoint, Microsoft Teams, etc.)
  • Provides layered security measures to protect your data by controlling and monitoring information access. Also, it has 99.9 percent uptime giving you access to your data anywhere, anytime.
Deploying Office 365 for your business

Office 365 mainly runs online, with most of the data hosted on Microsoft servers. However, you can still download desktop applications and work offline when needed. Your documents sync when you reconnect, ensuring your work is always up to date.

Most businesses can deploy Microsoft Office 365 in a matter of days. However, for the best results, work with experienced Microsoft consultants to help migrate legacy data such as documents and ensure that everything is configured correctly.

Here at Itopia, for example, we assist Brisbane businesses, and others switch to Office 365. We go the extra mile to give our clients the optimal setup for their business while ensuring security. Additionally, we provide seamless Office migrations and desktop support to your users during and after the transition.

Make the switch

Office 365 is a powerful tool for the modern organization. It gives your business a significant competitive edge in an increasingly competitive and volatile marketplace by connecting you with cutting-edge tools to help your business thrive.

Ready to upgrade your business to the next level and leverage the immense power of the cloud? Get in touch with an Itopia Microsoft Consultant today.

About Steven M

Digital marketing consultant specialising in IT & SaaS, I currently live in Australia. I consider myself a student of the world and am always learning about new ways to grow and improve what every I do.

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