It’s understandable that business owners in Kent are always looking for effective solutions that help to support and grow your business. In the digital age, IT support in Kent is naturally gaining traction.
The move towards hybrid offices has called for tools that enable you to collaborate with colleagues in remote locations. Cloud computing is the most effective solution for that. And to get the most from cloud computing the best avenue is to team up with managed IT support services in Kent.
But another benefit of outsourcing your IT to Kent-based specialists is that you have the opportunity to take advantage of a whole host of services and products we offer.
One of the most popular services we offer is Microsoft 365 — which gives you all the business tools you need without having to deal with Microsoft’s appalling customer service. 92% of customers give them a 1-star rating.
Having said that, Microsoft is not a global behemoth because they are a bad company. On the contrary, the business tool they provide is recognised as the gold standard for business users worldwide.
In this article, we will explain why — including how Microsoft 365 supports businesses in Kent by enhancing team collaboration, improving communication, fortifying your business network with robust security features and supporting your productivity with applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams, as well as cloud-based services like OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange Online.
Let’s dive in!
Microsoft 365 v Azure
Business owners in Kent often ask us about Microsoft 365 and Azure. There appears to be some confusion between the functionality of the two technologies and whether you need to buy both.
We’ll discuss the benefits of Microsoft 365 below, but for now, I’ll just put your mind at ease and tell you off the bat that you don’t need to purchase a Microsoft Azure subscription if you want Microsoft 365. Azure and 365 are integrated in the 365 bundles.
However, you can purchase a Microsoft Azure subscription if you only want cloud computing infrastructure to build your business network on. Azure is essentially, an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). You can sign up for a free Microsoft Azure account and then pay as you go.
Microsoft Azure provides a wide range of cloud services, including computing power, storage, networking, databases, analytics, and more. Azure allows businesses to build, deploy, and manage applications and services in the cloud.
As a cloud infrastructure, Azure offers a scalable and flexible) platform, allowing businesses to provision virtual machines, storage, and networking resources in the cloud. It provides a highly available and secure environment for running applications.
Microsoft Azure also serves as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) which can be used for developing, deploying, and managing applications without the need to worry about the underlying infrastructure. This includes services like Azure App Service, Azure Functions, and Azure Logic Apps, which enable developers to build applications efficiently.
In addition, you have access to data analytics and AI in the form of services such as Azure SQL Database, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Data Lake, and Azure Machine Learning. You can also build IoT services in the Azure platform.
Microsoft 365 v Windows 11
We also get asked whether Microsoft 365 is better than Windows 11. The simple answer is that Microsoft 365 is specifically designed for business use whereas Windows 11 is a generic.
If you’re a freelancer, you can probably get away with Windows 11, but you will still need to download a variety of other apps to build a suite of tools that enable you to perform your professional duties.
Microsoft 365 has more tools to offer. And they’re accessible from one central location. The sticking point is that Microsoft 365 is a subscription service only, whereas you can get a reasonable digital toolbox for free.
Just be warned that free tools do have their limitations and may not be able to perform all the tasks you need them to — which means you may not produce the best results. Alternatively, you will end up paying subscriptions on two or three tools which amount to more than a Microsoft 365 subscription.
So what can you expect from a Microsoft 365 subscription?
How Does Microsoft 365 Enhance Communication, Collaboration and Productivity?
Microsoft 365 provides various tools which facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among team members. You can send and receive emails, schedule meetings, and share documents in real time, enabling efficient teamwork and streamlined workflows.
Applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, Microsoft 365 help enhance productivity by giving your team the ability to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and notes, both online and offline. Content is stored in the cloud via OneDrive which provides easy access to files from any device, allowing for greater flexibility and mobility.
With Microsoft Teams, businesses in Kent can foster effective communication and collaboration via a chat function, video conferencing, screen sharing, and document collaboration features, enabling remote and in-office teams to work together efficiently.
Microsoft 365 also integrates with other Microsoft services and tools together with most other third-party tools. However, sometimes, third-party apps need configuring to ensure a seamless experience. This is something our IT support specialist in Kent can help with.
Microsoft 365 Business Intelligence and Data Analysis
Microsoft 365 offers powerful data analysis tools such as Excel, Power BI, and SharePoint, which enable businesses to gain valuable insights from their data. Leveraging these tools can support businesses in Kent to create interactive dashboards, generate reports, and perform in-depth analysis, helping you make informed decisions and drive business growth.
Power BI, for example, provides business analytics and data visualisation by pulling data from multiple sources and building visualisation-rich reports. You also have access to various data connectors and APIs which integrate with external data sources and services.
This allows for seamless data retrieval and integration into BI and data analysis tools like Excel and Power BI. Data connectors include those for popular databases, cloud services, and business applications.
Advanced analytics capabilities include data modelling, advanced calculations and machine learning integration which provides valuable insights that enable C-suite executives to make key decisions.
The collaboration platform, SharePoint, also includes features that support data analysis and reporting. It enables project leaders to create custom dashboards, reports, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Tools
Microsoft 365 includes robust security features to safeguard your business data and ensure compliance with industry regulations. In light of the threat to business continuity posed by GDPR, the advanced security and compliance tools built into Microsoft 365 are a cost-effective solution that adds additional layers of protection to your business network.
Microsoft 365 security features advanced threat protection, data loss prevention, encryption, and multi-factor authentication, among other security measures. Additionally, it helps you meet compliance requirements like GDPR, HIPAA, and ISO 27001, reducing risks and enhancing data protection.
We’ve already written about the advantages of Microsoft 365 security tools in a previous article so we won’t cover it again here. But if you are interested to know more, read about all the Microsoft 365 security features you should know about.
How Does Microsoft 365 Support Scalability and Flexibility
Businesses in Kent that plan to scale quickly will find Microsoft 365 works to your advantage by offering scalable plans and licenses that have more features that suit your business needs. As your business grows, you can easily add or remove licenses and services, ensuring flexibility and cost optimisation.
However, scaling through Microsoft directly can be more expensive than you actually need to pay. Each plan may include more features, but you won’t actually need all the features. You may only ever need one feature — which is a teeth-grinder if you have to up your subscription payments to access it.
Taking advantage of managed IT support in Kent enables you to avoid overpaying to scale. We give you access to the Microsoft 365 services you need without having to overpay subscription fees.
Microsoft 365 v Google Workspace
Whilst Microsoft 365 is regarded as the global leader when it comes to providing businesses in Kent with IT that supports your endeavour, their closest rival, Google Workspace also delivers similar benefits.
We can’t really say which is better for your business without consulting with you first. The truth is that some businesses in Kent will find more benefits from Microsoft 365 whilst others will fair better with Google Workspace.
There’s very little to choose between the two suites when it comes to functionality, collaboration and productivity. When you boil it down to the nitty-gritty, the key considerations are cost and storage.
Cost-wise, M365 is hard to beat. Starting at just £7.99 a month per user, the basic package gives you 1TB of cloud storage, OneDrive, 300-participant video conferencing, and web and mobile versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as Microsoft Teams, Exchange, and Sharepoint.
Google Workspace subscriptions for Kent-based businesses start at £5 but you only get a measly 30GB of pooled storage. That won’t get you very far. The next plan up is £10 and you get 2TB of storage.
So the decision to you probably need to make is determined by how much pooled storage you need per month. That may depend on how many users you have and the size of the content you’re creating.
Another key consideration is contract terms. Microsoft 365 tie you into annual contracts whereas Google Workspace offers a month-by-month plan which you can cancel at any time without any financial loss. Teaming up with managed IT support in Kent also enables you to avoid getting tied into costly contracts.
Can You Set Up A Microsoft 365 Account Using Your Own Domain?
Yes, Microsoft 365 allows businesses to use their own domain name. First, you need to have a registered domain address. If you have a domain all you have to do is verify the DNS settings with Microsoft when you register for an account. Microsoft provides detailed instructions on how to complete the verification process.
After verifying domain ownership, you need to configure the DNS records to point your domain to Microsoft 365. These records include MX (Mail Exchanger) records for email delivery, CNAME (Canonical Name) records for domain verification, and other optional records for specific services like SharePoint and Teams.
Again, the process for setting up DNS records will depend on your domain registrar or DNS provider. If you run into difficulties during this process, out IT support specialists in Kent can help you troubleshoot any issues you encounter.
IT Support in Kent
It’s clear that Microsoft 365 has plenty to offer to support businesses in Kent. However, because subscriptions are bundle-based, you can often be paying for tools and servers you don’t actually need.
In addition, Microsoft’s customer service is way below the standard you would expect from a global organisation. A quick glance at the company’s reviews paints the picture of how frustrated their customers are.
The alternative option is to take advantage of managed IT support in Kent. Our Microsoft 365 specialists will be able to help you troubleshoot any issues you encounter and resolve problems far quicker than you will if you go through Microsoft directly.
In addition, our experienced and knowledgeable IT consultants provide you with advice about the digital tools that will best serve your business. Our philosophy and work ethic is designed to help business in Kent grow in the short term and the long term.
If you want to know more about Microsoft 365 or how MicroPro IT support in Kent can help your enterprise to become a rip-roaring success, contact us today and speak with one of our knowledgeable team members. We’re happy to anise any questions you have.