Imagine Microsoft Office in the cloud and you’ve got Office 365. This solution is proving to be an attractive option for SMBs that want a simpler approach to a network, not requiring servers. Here’s an overview of some of its key features:
A subscription to Office 365 includes Office in the cloud, which is a full-strength version of the Microsoft Office Suite, and the ability to install Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs. And, if you need to use Office from a device that doesn’t have it installed, you just use the cloud version. You can easily switch back and forth between the installed and cloud versions of Office without losing any formatting or revisions.
Office 365’s SkyDrive provides you access to documents from anywhere, at any time, using any device, including Android devices, iPhones, and iPads. This capability is useful to road warriors, telecommuters, or individuals who simply need access to a business document while out of the office. Business subscriptions include 50GB of storage per user, and additional space is available at a low cost.
You can easily and securely share Office 365 documents with others. Multiple individuals can edit a single document and it keeps track of each user’s changes. The document owner can accept all changes, accept some changes, or revert to prior versions – making this an excellent tool for team projects or collaboration.
Office 365 includes hosted email that lets you access messages using the familiar Outlook product. It also includes presence information, instant messaging, and web access to email from any device.
With Office 365, you can connect immediately or set up and host online meetings with multi-party HD video conferencing, real-time note taking, and screen sharing – making it simple to keep in touch with remote team members.
Office 365 is available at multiple subscription levels based on the total number of users. The lowest level is Office 365 Small Business, followed by Office 365 Small Business Premium, and Office 365 Midsize Business. Annual user fees range from $5 per month per user for up to 25 users on the Small Business plan, to $12.50 per month per user on the Small Business Premium plan, to $15 per month per user for up to 300 users on the Midsize Business plan. Prices are slightly higher when billed monthly. The Small Business plan does not include desktop versions of Microsoft office, although the other plans do.