An unwillingness to change applications is a primary reason quoted by many businesses that are reluctant to migrate to the cloud. The beauty of running Microsoft applications is that almost everyone you employ has a good understanding of how they work. MS Office is still the ‘go to’ office suite. While Microsoft does provide a SaaS version, it is not ideal for businesses that want to exploit the collaboration and integration features. You may have seen this when I wrote about hosted IT in an earlier post.
Many enterprise document and content management applications already integrate with Office 365, but allowing your secure cloud environment to connect to Microsoft’s cloud over an unsecured connection, could present many problems that render your IT governance measures ineffective.
Much will depend on your specific deployment and the kind of data your employees are likely to create and store. Rather than cross that bridge every time someone wants to create a presentation, it is better to provide your employees with applications in a secure environment and a secure way of connecting to those applications when working remotely or operating a BYOD policy.
Making the Transition to Hosted Office 365
For many, the toughest decision is whether to deploy Office 365 in a private, virtual private cloud or a hybrid environment with a mixture of on-premise and remote access. There is no right answer. If the current trend continues, all Office 365 deployments will eventually exist in a hosted environment that exists in a remote location.
However, your employees will always need to work offline on devices with the ability to sync their data when they reconnect. Even if you have a good idea of your needs, the Microsoft deployment assistant tool is a great help. For a more tailored solution, you really need to work with your hosted IT provider. Ultimately, your IT provider will understand your business, it’s difficulties and its goals better than a tool on a website.
Understanding Office 365 Licensing
There are some minor changes to the way many businesses license software from Microsoft that affect how you should deploy your applications. Whereas businesses were able to install on-premise applications with licenses tied to a device, now Microsoft Office Pro Plus ties licenses to users.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, as users can have up to five installations across various devices to enable use in any environment. This means that remotely hosting Office 365 and logging in to a VDI is possible. It also means the same employees can use it on their own laptop, Apple Mac, phone etc.
Users can also use installations on RDS network servers as part of volume licensing. The easiest way to know what works for your business is to consult an experienced hosted IT provider that offers a tailored service rather than a self-service off-the-shelf cloud environment.
Easily Moving Office to Hosted Environments
Despite a miniature minefield of information, optimising your business application deployment is a relatively simple process. This is the sort of migration hosted IT service providers can do in their sleep and rather than use in-house staff to migrate, you should really grant your new provider access to your legacy systems. That way, you are far more likely to have a secure environment with strict enforcement of Identity and Access Management rules.