But Office 365 is just the same as on-premises functionality!

Clearly the title of this blog post is incorrect, but I had to raise it as recently someone made this comment to me. Their view was that they can run Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Skype for Business Server on-premises which would deliver the same functionality as Office 365.

What does Office 365 provide that you simply CANNOT deliver with on-premises systems? Focusing on the core feature set (without bringing in Project Online, Dynamics 365, EMS or others into it), it’s not a small list:

Product Description Where you see it
Exchange Online Protection Mail filtering service built into Exchange Online Behind the scenes
Advanced Threat Protection Protection against unknown malware & viruses, real-time protection against malicious URLs at time-of-click Behind the scenes
Exchange Online Archiving Yes you can have archiving on-premises, but not unlimited Client & web
Office 365 Groups Mix of document library, OneNote, Planner, Skype for Business, and SharePoint team site functionality Desktop, web & mobile
Microsoft Teams Chat-based workspace integrated with Office 365 Groups Desktop, web & mobile
OneDrive for Business Similar to Exchange Online Archiving, organisations can run OneDrive for Business on-premises but not provide unlimited storage Desktop, web & mobile
Skype Meeting Broadcast Host online meetings for up to 10,000 attendees Behind the scenes
Clutter / Focused Inbox Email sorting using machine learning, based on individual mail habits Behind the scenes
Delve Personal search & discovery of content Desktop, web & mobile
MyAnalytics (formerly Delve Analytics) Behavioural analytics based on mail & calendar Web
Yammer Enterprise social network platform Web & mobile
Office 365 Video Share & manage business videos Web & mobile
Planner Manage tasks on graphical boards (similar to Trello) Web
Sway Visual storytelling service Desktop, web & mobile
Power BI Interactive business intelligence dashboards Desktop, web & mobile
PowerApps Build mobile apps & logic flows Desktop, web & mobile
Microsoft Flow Automating workflows across apps and services (not just Office 365) Desktop, web & mobile
Office Graph Machine learning mapping connections between people & content Behind the scenes


Kirsty McGrath of OnPoint Solutions has created a wheel of the Office 365 services available, building on a similar one from Sharegate.

Send your backups… to the cloud!

Cheaper and simpler cloud-based backup solutions could finally solve one of the longest lasting issues in business – poor or non-existent backup procedures. The high cost and hassle of backups has meant few companies have practiced safe computing. One poll suggested only six percent of systems are backed up on a daily basis, according to Harris Interactive in 2011.

Failure to backup can be devastating. Almost 90 percent of companies go out of business every two years due to failure of data recovery at the event of an outage, Harris Interactive found. The reason for this direction varies, but perhaps the most common sentiment is the costs associated with archiving.

Traditional archiving usually relies on copying data to different hardware such as a Network Attached Storage (NAS), external hard drive or tape. However, the costs associated with these types of archiving can reach upwards of thousands of dollars. For instance, most tapes cost $25 – $50 each; but businesses would need several of them per week.

Tapes also needed to be transferred to a secure vault – this make the capital costs, maintenance and support take a decent chunk of a company’s IT budget. In my experience, businesses are gearing towards cloud based-backups.

Cloud-based backup is a service that stores and archives data on virtual servers over the internet. These virtual servers are hosted in data centres that are secure, redundant and recoverable in the event of a disaster. Cloud-based back-ups are often cheaper and easier to use because loud computing is founded on the theory of economies of scale. It makes use of resource pooling – an approach where multiple companies can share a common yet highly secure server resource to store data.

Cloud-based back-up is such a promising technology that its market is estimated to grow up to $2.5 billion by 2014. Several reasons are making cloud-based backups more attractive. Businesses using the cloud to backup have lower capital costs and eliminate the need for storage capacity such as disks, tapes or other removal media. The pay-as-you-go model gives SMBs more predictable operational expenditure.

Cloud-based backups also make it easier for companies to be compliant with industry standards and best practices for disaster recovery. With this technology, SMBs can easily implement policies and access control giving more confidence in the efficiency and regularity of the procedure. It also reduces staff involvement, which can further bring down costs of IT support and maintenance. Other than archiving, storage and reduced costs, the most important facet of cloud based backups to SMBs is its role in risk management. The cloud gives business continuity, protection against data loss; together with data security and reliability.

If you’re in the 94% of businesses that don’t back up daily, it’s worth exploring cloud-based backups and see how easy it can be to find peace of mind for your data.