The Case for Backing Up Office 365

Whether or not you agree that OK Computer, the third album by the English rock band Radiohead released in 1997, deserved its critical acclaim, know that the Library of Congress had already deemed the album “critically, historically, or aesthetically significant” when it was included in the National Recording Registry in 2014.

What cannot be disputed is that Radiohead has more than a little experience in dealing with data loss. The darker side of technology OK Computer foreshadowed became a reality 22 years after it was released when a hacker stole 18 hours of recordings, including unreleased content intended for the band’s next album. Rather than caving into the hacker’s demands for a $150,000 ransom, Radiohead pre-empted the hack and released all 18 hours of material and donated the proceeds to charity.

Most IT professionals, however, don’t have the same freedom as legendary rock bands to take the bold steps of calling an attacker’s bluff and releasing sensitive data. The burdens of mitigating the damage to an organization’s reputation and preventing serious outages falls on the shoulders of IT teams often working with limited time and resources.

In Office 365, Microsoft takes responsibility for ensuring the infrastructure is always up and running. Your IT team, on the other hand, takes charge when it comes to protecting the data generated and stored in Office 365.  We created the following infographic to help you understand the consequences of misaligned expectations around data protection in Office 365.

In today’s technology landscape, a solid backup and recovery strategy is critical to survival.

Working with a partner like Softchoice helps you cut through the complexity and select the best solutions for your Office 365 backup and recovery needs.

Looking to better protect your Office 365 data? Register for a free trial.

Jennifer Reed is Senior Manager – Solutions Architecture at Softchoice 

Microsoft 365 Collaboration and Productivity: Webinar Recap

Realizing the productivity of M365 and modern collaboration

If one thing drives the modern workplace, it’s technology.

From new work devices to the rise of the cloud, mobile and big data, technology has changed the way we do our jobs. But with new opportunities, the “digital office” brings new challenges.

Users want a technology experience that meets their rising expectations. They don’t like interference with the way they prefer to work. IT departments want to deliver modern workplace solutions. They can’t compromise on security or control. Businesses want to maximize productivity and user satisfaction. They want to avoid unnecessary duplication or added costs.

Without a solid plan, you could find your digital journey fraught with high costs, security threats and dissatisfied users.

Microsoft 365 addresses these challenges by providing a “universal toolkit.” It’s a holistic platform that combines usability, productivity, and security. The result: a secure solution supporting communication and collaboration delivered through the cloud.

In our recent webinar, Softchoice cloud solution architect Anil Verma explores the business trends that inspired Microsoft 365. He also explains how the solution addresses today’s productivity and security challenges. We cover the key highlights in the article below or watch the full webinar:

Introducing Microsoft 365 

The inspiration behind Microsoft 365 is the need to provide a secure, rationalized experience to users regardless of device. It acts as an intelligent fabric, combining Windows 10 with Office 365 and the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). It also provides IT departments with a centralized point of management and built-in security. Users sign in and access the full suite of tools and apps through a single team membership via Azure Active Directory (AD).

Another key component of Microsoft 365 is Microsoft Graph. This set of APIs allows the platform to deliver dynamic, personalized user experiences using the public cloud. It also layers in a reactive, predictive security posture based on real-time data.

To accommodate various work styles and preferences, Microsoft 365 offers a purpose-built productivity toolset. The suite includes SharePoint and Office applications as well as a unified collaboration hub supporting chat, social and other ways to create and share.

Microsoft 365 combines Windows 10 with Office 365 and the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS)

Securing your digital transformation 

“Businesses and users are going to embrace technology only if they trust it,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The idea that security is critical to winning the trust of any organization informs every aspect of Microsoft 365.

Traditional security strategy employs a “castle and moat” approach. This method puts a single layer of protection around the network perimeter. But in the era of mobility and the cloud, thousands of data assets may be moving in and out of the network at any given time.

Instead, Microsoft 365 shifts its focus from the “moat” to protecting the “king and queen.” These are the critical data assets that require classification and protection throughout their lifecycle. This multi-targeted approach covers vulnerabilities in your data, identities, applications, devices, and infrastructure. Using the public cloud allows the platform to handle data classification and protection at scale. Single identity through Azure AD provides conditional risk-based access to authorized users only.

Through the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, Microsoft 365 provides advanced, up-to-the-second threat intelligence. To do this, it combines raw public cloud compute power with high-volume security data. This compute power offers predictive protection from common threat vectors, including ransomware, phishing and “living off the land.” It also permits data classification at scale, removing the need for impractical manual methods.

Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph

Made for modern collaboration 

New technologies have given rise to new possibilities – and new expectations. Mobile devices and social media have altered the way we communicate and work together.

There has also been a fundamental shift in organizational structure. Gone are the days of static hierarchies, scarce information and individual productivity. Today, more workplaces thrive on abundant information, experimentation and collective value creation.

Microsoft 365 is purpose-built for this new era of collaboration. It takes a holistic approach to support effective teamwork anywhere, on any device.

Organizations create more content than ever. Yet many of them struggle to classify, manage and control it. Microsoft 365 addresses the need for centralized content storage and version control using intranets built on SharePoint.

Microsoft 365 also strives to accommodate various communication styles and preferences. With Yammer, it offers a social media and crowdsourcing network for the enterprise. Through the Stream platform, it supports video engagement. Meanwhile, the Planner tool provides streamlined project planning and organization around tasks.

All of these collaboration elements come together in Microsoft Teams. Teams unifies core communication and collaboration applications like Skype, SharePoint, Exchange and OneDrive in a single dashboard. Through it, users also have access to a wide range of tools, including chat, content sharing, and working groups.

Microsoft 365 also leverages the public cloud to drive personalized experiences. With it, users can track a range of powerful, personal usage analytics and insights through a private dashboard.  Microsoft has also made significant investments in accessibility. The Microsoft 365 platform layers in accessibility features throughout to support inclusive, efficient content creation and collaboration for users with disabilities.

Journey to a modern workplace 

To get the most out of any technology, it’s imperative that your people use it. But the typical lifecycle of technology adoption goes through highs and lows.

Adoption challenges arise when users fail to connect the technology with business outcomes. Often, training and communication plans are an afterthought. Undefined success criteria makes it difficult to measure success. Lack of executive sponsorship often makes the difference between a successful deployment and weak adoption.

Building an adoption plan is key to helping your users be their most productive. Ensuring the plan aligns with business goals from the start helps drive adoption. To this end, many organizations are looking to experienced partners for help.

Whether you’re looking to embark on your Microsoft 365 journey, or accelerate return on your investment, we’ll help you all the way from migration to optimization. Our adoption framework builds on our experience with thousands of modern workplace deployments.

Microsoft Teams: Collaboration Tools for Modern IT Departments

In late 2016, the authors of a joint report from Harvard Business Review (HBR) and Ernst & Young (EY) asked if collaboration had become the new innovation. [Read more…]