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Systems Engineering Blog

SE Lunch & Learn Recap:  Office 365 Adoption - Collaboration, Communications & Identity

July 23, 2017 | Posted in:

SE Data Points, SE Events, IT Strategy, IT Consulting, Cloud, Collaboration, Data Management, Digital Transformation

At our recent SE Lunch & Learn, Microsoft Office 365 (O365) subject matter experts, Jean Haskell, Senior Analyst, and Mark Benton, Director of Product Management, reviewed many of the features and benefits of O365.  In this article, we highlight a couple of the key features they spoke about.

Jean Haskell began the event by answering, “Why should your business care about O365?”  It’s no secret that the way we work today is vastly different than it was a generation ago or even ten years ago.  It’s reported that:

  • 90%(+/-) of the data in the world has been generated in the last two years. 
  • 87% of senior managers admit they use personal cloud accounts to manage company information. 

In addition, over half of people admit they have sent sensitive information to the wrong person as well as taken sensitive data with them when they leave a job.

With increasing amounts of data to manage, rapid changes in technology and businesses needing to move quicker than ever to satisfy customer needs, organizations must implement solutions that answer these demands . 

Some organizations have implemented disparate, disjointed and/or disorganized group of “shadow IT” offerings which can isolate data and are most likely difficult to manage.  What most organizations need is a solution that provides enterprise grade security and administration all wrapped into one offering.

Enter Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft’s O365 goal is to enable organizations to work anywhere, anytime and on any device.  It is immense, offering a number of configurations with varying levels of features and functions.  As there are so many apps to choose from (Image 1), many organizations struggle with where to begin.

Image 1

Haskell suggested breaking up the O365 journey.  She stated, “Don’t do it without forethought. You cannot expect, ‘If you buy it, they will use it.’  This is big organizational change that must be carefully planned for and promoted within the organization.”  Start with one or two business processes, such as collaboration or governance.  Pick what will be beneficial and make the most impact on your organization.

Mark Benton followed Haskell's presentation giving us a view into security within O365/Windows 10.  Microsoft has developed what they call Identity Driven Security.  Securing identity is so important in this mobile world.  Users are everywhere.  They may be remotely logging on to do work from an airport, in a conference room, at a client site or at home.  They are trying to access your network and/or business apps, but how do you verify who they are and ensure they are not a hacker?

Answer: by securing a user’s identity with multi-factor authentication (MFA) and controlling logons from one place, known as Single Sign-on (SSO).  MFA uses a second factor you need to have with you, typically your smartphone to verify identity.  SSO allows users to connect to different systems by using only one set of credentials in which the administrator can turn on or shut off from one place. 

A nice feature about Microsoft's SSO is that it is not just limited to their apps.  Microsoft has created a marketplace (Image 2) to enable independent software vendors to offer their solutions to customers around the world.  This allows organizations to quickly configure, deploy and manage products and solutions.  The best part, is users only need to login once to access it all.

Image 2In addition to security, Benton reinforced Haskell’s message; “You don’t have to adopt all of O365 at once.  Just focus on those features that are right for you and your business.  Because O365 is so robust, you have the ability to try out their productivity apps to see what works without putting your organization at financial risk.  Certainly, do it with planning and intention but know your investment risk is low.”

For more information on Microsoft O365 or SE Lunch & Learns, contact Systems Engineering at info@syseng.com.