Office 365As Microsoft prepares to end support and updates for its Small Business Server 2003, many professionals are exploring the cloud-based Office 365 as a potential replacement. The idea of switching from a platform with which you are intensely familiar to an unknown quantity can be a daunting task, but Office 365 offers several benefits over its server-based predecessors that can provide a net gain for business owners, IT professionals, and end-users alike.

Access On-the-go for Everyone

When it comes to easy accessibility, there is simply nothing that can match the versatility of a cloud-based platform. While other platforms can now accommodate remote access, they tend to require expensive hardware and software licenses, or the user is forced to rely on a lumbering web-based access-point. Office 365 is integrated with simple, secure cloud-based storage, so working remotely is a breeze for any employee in the company. Additions such as SharePoint Online allow for streamlined document sharing and editing throughout the organization, something that required an often confusing email chain only a few years ago. End-users who are familiar with SBS 2003 will likely be able to easily adapt to the recognizable apps, so retraining efforts and costs can be minimized.

Reduced Technical Requirements

For most small business owners, IT infrastructure is often one of the most substantial costs next to payroll expenses.  If you’ve been a longtime user of SBS 2003, it’s likely that you’ll be required to undergo significant hardware upgrades if you plan to migrate to a new home-based server. With all data stored on Microsoft’s remote servers and accessible through the cloud, Office 365 can reduce the amount of physical space you’ll need for data storage and provide you with the assurance of Microsoft’s robust and secure servers.

Lower Maintenance Costs

With hardware servers always come increased maintenance and cooling costs; while the costs for data continue to plummet, it’s the one reality we still always have to deal with. Microsoft already has the space and the infrastructure to house your data, so why not let the maintenance costs be their problem? Subscribing to Office 365 provides you with the powerful software you’ve come to rely on and the efficiency of Microsoft’s IT infrastructure, without having to worry about any of the hardware headaches involved in housing your own servers.

Enhanced Security

Data security is paramount to almost every company in the wireless age; whether you’re talking about customer data, employee records, or company documents, every organization is willing to spend liberally in order to avoid leading off the nightly news as the latest victim of another huge cyber-attack. Even if you aren’t a Fortune 500 company, IT security is still crucial, and Microsoft has achieved remarkable economies of scale with the massive amount of data it needs to secure. Office 365 allows you to put the advantages of one of the largest technology companies in the world to use in your small business.

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