Microsoft 365 will probably seem familiar because it is an online version of Microsoft Office. It still provides the usual services to home, business and education users, with some additional features that supply all the tools we might need to work efficiently online. Here are some pros and cons of switching to 365.

Pro: Remote access

Microsoft 365 allows staff to access emails and documents remotely. Colleagues or employees can then report or collaborate from any location where they can get an internet connection. Absent or mobile workers can keep abreast of current or changing workflows, for example by accessing and replying to email messages or retrieving documents stored within Microsoft 365. If internet access is interrupted staff can continue using a desktop version, and then synchronise their work when it is restored.

Pro: Outworking

Because Microsoft 365 is Cloud hosted it facilitates sharing, co-authoring or updating files from numerous diverse locations. This is great for businesses that want to let their employees work from home. When staff can work on shared documents without having to be in the same office it allows firms to make big savings in office space, electricity bills, travel expenses and paper.

Pro: IT support

Microsoft 365 engineers are constantly checking and updating their software. The benefit of this is that from initial set-up to troubleshooting, the tech team at Microsoft will guide users through everything they need to know. Their IT team does all the ‘heavy lifting’, allowing their clients to get on with running their business. In particular, home users and small businesses that do not have their own IT teams will feel confident knowing that the Microsoft 365 team has everything covered.

Pro: Budget

Just by switching to Microsoft 365 might reduce your total monthly or annual outgoings to third-party software and service providers. Microsoft has been the leading developer of easy-access software packages, and integrated solutions for homes, businesses and education for many years. All that research and expertise is constantly being channelled into their latest software versions, including updates and patches at no extra cost to their users. It is all included in the monthly subscription fee.

Pro: Security features

When thinking about working with Cloud-based systems like Microsoft 365, there are always concerns about the security of data that is being stored remotely. Included within Microsoft 365 there are several enterprise-grade security systems. It has features to cover all those security issues that give the most concern. For example, there is a data-loss protection feature which can restore vital work, and a mobile device protection feature that can delete data in moments if a phone or computing device is lost or stolen. Another security feature handles any security threats posed by phishing emails or malware attachments.

Pro: Choice of plans

Microsoft offer several different plans tailored for different users. Home users, students and businesses can select the plan that matches their current requirements, then upgrade to include other features later just by requesting a different plan.

Those are some of the many benefits of using Microsoft 365. There are also some potential drawbacks, so here are the cons.

Con: Internet reliability

This is an internet Cloud-based system, so if a user doesn’t have access to the internet or experiences frequent downtime, then they may struggle with Microsoft 365. Microsoft have built-in a desktop version intended to cover this eventuality allowing them to work for a period of time offline: once the user arrives in an area with better internet coverage their files can be uploaded and synchronised. However, many users report problems restoring their access, and with software de-registering itself.

Con: Security concerns

Many people are rightly concerned about the security implications when their work is stored off-premises in the Cloud. Centralised services are a tempting target for hackers but as we said earlier, Microsoft does take security provision very seriously and has developed a variety of ways to protect users’ accounts. Security solutions are available from other providers, but will they update them as frequently as Microsoft?

Con: Compatibility problems

Whenever new software is released onto the market, business owners often get excited about the benefits only to discover that their computers or laptops are not compatible. Microsoft also develop operating systems but incompatibilities do still arise. Often your only options are to switch to another version of Microsoft Office, another operating system, or to replace your computers.

There are many benefits in using Microsoft 365 for work, home or education, and as the world steadily moves online businesses and colleges are always trying to keep pace with the trends. Storing and working on documents in this way is especially relevant for people that increasingly need to study online, or work and collaborate with their colleagues remotely.