Microsoft has made a remarkable shift in the SharePoint platform by migrating into the cloud with the latest Office 365/ SharePoint online version. While the benefits of this new cloud SharePoint are broad, many company owners still hesitate to move their content to the cloud. Let’s now discuss some of the benefits of SharePoint Online that you take into consideration as the owner of a company during the evaluation of SharePoint platforms.
Also Read: How to Migrate SharePoint 2010 to Office 365
1. External user access management is made easy
While using an on-premise environment, no out of the box method is possible to share the SharePoint content with the users outside the domain. You could use the content web app, configure forms authentication and then ask your developer set up an ASP.NET page to handle the credentials for the Forms Web Application. Whatever method you adopt for this, you are going to require a decent amount of human effort to set up and maintain.
As an IT director, you should establish policies on external sharing, where content areas or data types are allowed to be shared externally and who should audit the external permission.
2. Avoid network share with OneDrive for Business
OneDrive for Business is the simplest cloud storage for your staff. Anyone who has access to a personal site(earlier known as My Sites) can access OneDrive for Business, with a 1TB personal storage quota. Moreover, OneDrive storage quota of each user does not count against your overall SharePoint online storage quota.
OneDrive for Business provides employees with a personal site, where they can share, sync and collaborate on documents with people inside and outside the organization and access their content from a large number of devices. OneDrive for Business can be integrated with Office products and can also be synced into Windows Explorer for a familiar experience.
Being an IT director with a network share for your users and you are looking to return that pesky network share, OneDrive for business could be your solution.
3. Receive New SharePoint Updates and Features First- Choose to be more stable
Earlier Microsoft has released a SharePoint version every 4-5 years with new features and functionalities. With SharePoint Online and Office 365 which use a rolling release model, the big chunk approach has been eliminated. Rolling releases means new versions, features and improvements, are continually released to SharePoint Online customers regularly, free of charge and without any installation or use of the application.
Microsoft has done a brilliant job of communicating through the Office 365 admin portal when the updates are scheduled, and we ‘ve experienced no significant issues from any of the updates. Essentially moving towards, new SharePoint online features and functions are released first and then applied to on-premise environment sometime in the future. If you are furious to see what all new features are in the queue, Microsoft has recently published an Office 365 roadmap, a living document which is updated frequently and lets to know completely what is coming down the lane. You can also choose to enable the preview features which gets you early access to new features that have limited support, allowing you to be on the bleeding edge of SharePoint.
4. You can access SharePoint Online anywhere
With Office 365 and SharePoint Online, your users are no longer limited to a single device or a single network. Imagine a world where you can access your email, contacts, docs, from any place using any browser with an internet connection.
Not having a laptop 24/7 is no more an issue, you can log on to Outlook Web Access to retrieve your emails to grab the required documents before your meeting in Skype for business. Maybe you are traveling, and you have the only intermittent internet connection, you can sync your contents to the Windows Explorer from the SharePoint Online so that whatever changes you have made while offline will be uploaded back to SharePoint Online once you are reconnected to the internet. This adds to the benefits of SharePoint Online and Office 365 that any place in this world is your workspace.
5. You can quickly scale your farm up and down
In Office 365, you only pay for what you really need and just when you need it. The monthly subscription model allows you to add and remove users as per your wish so that you do not have to worry about expired licenses leeching the life out of the IT budget. Provisioning a new user on Office 365 is simple. Click a few times on the admin portal to create a new user or assign new licenses. Suppose the user’s leaves the company you can reassign the license or just remove it. This same scalability can also be applied for the Office 365 data storage side, where you only pay for the storage you require when you need it, and can easily purchase more room with a few clicks.
Every company owner wants to improve the availability and uptime for their Sharepoint intranet. However, to provide 99%, uptime capital investment is required. With a financially supported 99.9% SLA, SharePoint Online provides better reliability and uptime than could be reasonably achieved on on-premise. We will have to submit support tickets through Office 365 admin portal and the response times for support tickets have been phenomenal and usually gets a response within a business day.
Also Read: Integrating Microsoft SharePoint with Drupal
7. Turn CAPEX to OPEX
Yet another tip to make your CFO happy. By moving into SharePoint online, the unpredictable expenditures can be turned into predictable operational expenditures. This can free up the cash for some other critical business needs and reduce your companies taxi liabilities; For instance, this can be used to take the money, which is earmarked for buying hardware to providing SharePoint training for end users.
As an added benefit of SharePoint Online, the labor cost of keeping our SharePoint environment updated declined hugely, and the labor cost of migrating to SharePoint 2016 is avoided.
With the introduction of Microsoft Cloud Offerings, there are often chances of resistance around data security. Here are some reasons why the benefits of SharePoint Online should be considered:
— Physical Security: Microsoft doesn’t reveal where the data centers are, and provides multiple layers of physical security. This consist of biometrics, motion sensors, constant video surveillance and the armed guard at the data center.
— Encryption data: Microsoft use disks with BitLocker encryption and secures traffic with SSL over HTTP. Information Rights Management options allow you to encrypt further and control access to sensitive data.
— No Data Mining: Unlike various other cloud platforms, Office 365 does not mine data for advertising purposes.
— Backups: Microsoft employs multiple layers of backups and redundancy in their data center more than any company owner of a small business could provide.
— In region Servers: Microsoft keeps data in the region specified when the subscription is created. If you‘re worried about keeping your data in the US, then you can choose to keep it in a data center located outside it.
–Identity protection: Office 365 requires strong user passwords out of the box, and multifactor authentication is easy to turn on and roll out n a user-by-user basis.
Also Read: How to Use SharePoint Effectively
9. Free up IT Staff-No more maintenance
IT departments typically do not suffer from a shortage of work to be done and no longer have the backups, OS maintenance, SharePoint patches, etc. to be performed. By moving to SharePoint Online, hours could be freed up that was spent on-premise SharePoint environment every week and that time could be utilized in creating an intranet for small business. A large number of improvement requests have been there from the user base, but once all the on-premise maintenance time is freed up by moving to SharePoint Online, the IT staff could start working on long overdue improvements, which will satisfy everyone.
There are many types of standards, regulations, and rules and hard work, costing IT time and money are the compliance in an on-premise SharePoint instance. You get compliance with the following standards out of the box in SharePoint online:
— ISO 27001
— SSAE 16
— EU Model Clauses
— US-EU Safe Harbor Framework
Bonus: Work with Office Stack right in the browser and no client-side installs required
With Office Online, the users can have almost all the functionality of the client-side office product in the browser, open and edit documents from Outlook Web App or SharePoint, see hover instead of previews of documents in SharePoint or SharePoint search results and much more. Office online gives you improved collaboration with enhanced co-authoring capabilities.
Never again worry about running out of office licenses, as it is easy and quick to add, re-assign remove Office Online licenses. Since moving to Office online, the client-side office offerings are rarely utilized, and we could be just as productive from a random internet-connected PC as we can be from our workstation.
Also Read: SharePoint Overview for Dummies
All in all, there were some speed controls in the migration to Office 365 and SharePoint Online, but at the end of the day we get a faster, more reliable, more secure and user friendly intranet software for small business as the benefits of SharePoint Online and the money and time we saved on the hardware and maintenance have been put to great use in other IT areas, such as training and business process improvements.
If you have SharePoint on-premise or want to migrate to SharePoint, then a study on SharePoint Online benefits and Office 365 is highly recommended since it has been an excellent product that has proven to make the job much more manageable.