By Rick Blaisdell
Apple launched iCloud and shortly afterwards, Microsoft pushed their offering, Office 365. The long-awaited Microsoft response to Google Apps was based on the hugely popular Microsoft Office. Now you can have it on the cloud, as well.
Microsoft finally released its Office 365 product, after unsuccessful attempts with Business Productivity Suite and Office Live, aiming to meet the collaboration requirements of companies in a Cloud environment.
Here are some of the main features of Office 365:
Access: For personal users, it only requires a Microsoft Live account, but in order to have storage space on the webmail, you have to pay for Outlook 2007 or 2010.
Usability: It provides access to e-mail, calendar and contacts for up to 25 gigabytes. It can be accessed on Android, Blackberry (except for enterprises), and Macs.
Reliability: 99.9 percent uptime guaranteed
Features: It integrates Microsoft Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync, Office Professional Plus and Web Apps. However, these products do not offer all of the options on premise software offer. Skype is also expected to be integrated in the Office 365 suite.
Cost: The professional edition costs $6 per user, per month. For enterprises, prices range between $10 and $27 a month. For SMEs and enterprises, Google Apps is a fierce competitor offering great prices as well.
Security: Office 365 has the ISO 27001 information security management standard. Microsoft stated that its security experts on staff can provide better security settings than those in-house, a fact which I have argued before.
On the downside, there are shortages of Office 365. However, I think that this attempt by Microsoft to reach for the clouds was more than welcome. Many enterprises are still reluctant to move to the cloud, due to compliance and security worries, but with all the numerous services that become available at an increasing rate, the reluctance towards implementing cloud computing will fade away.
Rick Blaisdell is an accomplished technical and business leader and a pioneer in the cloud computing field and in delivering the next generation of business technology. Focused on results, he has implemented revolutionary solutions to cut costs and improve efficiency. He is a creative thinker and visionary in the area of cloud computing. You can read more about him on his personal website, www.rickscloud.com, or e-mail him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published: Sep 6, 2011