How to Prepare for Office 365 Migration

Whenever you’re dealing with the implementation of a new system inside your company’s workflow, you need to know that everybody won’t respond in the same way. The level of enthusiasm shown during the process will vary from one department to another, and also from one employee to another. Knowing how to prepare for Office 365 migration will benefit you immensely.

The best way to prepare for the Office 365 migration process is to start by analyzing in advance the necessary steps to be taken to assure a smooth and efficient transition. If you have made your plan in advance, the change will go faster both from a technical standpoint, as well as from the employee performance side. If you don't know where to get started, we can help with your Office 365 migration.

Want to explore the Microsoft tools to determine if it’s the right for you? Request a Customer Immersion Experience where our certified experts come on-site (free of charge) for a hands-on, exploratory demo with Microsoft’s suite of productivity tools.

How to prepare for Office 365 migration

1. Choose the best-suited migration method for your business

Many businesses don’t consult with specialists in this field when it comes to migrating to Office 365, and they don’t realize that this process can differ from company to company. As you would expect, a smaller company will undergo a faster migration, as opposed to a bigger company which will undertake a more extended transition period.

It is where you need to choose the right migration plan for your business because it could be easier than you would expect. Microsoft supports three migration types: cutover, IMAP migration and a hybrid migration (a mix between the two kinds of movement mentioned above.)

2. Give a fair estimation of how long the migration period will last

Business owners, or directors, can often estimate the duration of a process and be far off, due to their (understandable) constant desire to cut costs and to make everything more efficient. Although this method is not necessarily a bad one, when it comes to a technical process, like the migration to Office 365, a fair estimation could go a long way, and it could also be more cost-efficient than initially expected.

A normal migration to Office 365 usually experiences a throughput of 10 Gigabytes – 14 Gigabytes per hour, so you should calculate in advance the volume your company possesses and calculate a decent time estimate.

3. Leave it to specialists to secure the job

After the initial assessments are complete, be sure to leave your specialized IT department to do the job, or hire external professional consultants in this field if you want to ensure that none of your valuable data is lost during the process.

Sometimes it pays to hire external help, due to their experience of handling several migrations to Office 365 processes for companies operating with various amounts of data. It means an outside IT department could offer more support and solve any unexpected problems that may appear at a faster and more efficient pace.

Need to rely on an expert? We're a Gold Certified Microsoft Partner and have performed thousands of Office 365 migrations. Learn more about our services and how we can help you get started today.

 

Microsoft Teams vs Zoom: Which Tool is Best For Your Business?

Businesses are leveraging video conferencing tools more than ever before and therefore Microsoft Teams and Zoom are making headlines daily. We'll compare Microsoft Teams vs Zoom here so that you can make the decision on what's best for your business,

In this article, we'll look at the most popular software for video conferencing on the market today: Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Both have been making headlines since the world went remote, and we're going to compare them to let you know their similarities and their differences so you can make a better decision on what's best for your business.

Microsoft Teams vs Zoom: What do they have in common?

These two tools have a lot of similar functions, but the details are where they differ. At a high level, some of the similarities include:

Watch our webinar comparing the Microsoft Teams vs Zoom

The Differences Between Microsoft Teams vs Zoom

While both have some of the same main features, they do differ a lot when you dive into the details. Let's take a look at what makes these two tools different.

Communication

Teams and Zoom both offer video conferencing either 1:1 or large groups as well as chat/instant messaging. Teams allows for 250 users to join where Zoom's plan starts at 100 and you have a choice to upgrade your plan or add additional licensing to include up to 500 users.

Teams also has the ability for more customization within your communication options. In Teams you can create different Teams and Channels to organize your different groups. For example, you could have a Sales & Marketing Team with Channels like "Marketing Collateral" and "Sales Training & Resources." Zoom only allows you to create Channels without subgroups. Within each, you can choose to add who you wish and make these Channels private or public. In Teams, you can also @ mention different groups and subgroups for specific messages to notify the people within those groups. Both tools feature both group chats or one to one chats, and they allow you to set a status of whether you're available, offline, or away and customize an away message. You can also schedule meetings both out of the native application or within an integrated calendar like Outlook.

For virtual events like webinars, both have the ability to deliver. Teams webinars are included in its paid plans, whereas Zoom requires additional licensing for this. When creating a webinar in Teams, it's similar to creating a meeting and you invite people the same way. Zoom creates a registration page for your webinar where people can sign up and automatically get emailed their unique attendee link. Teams allows for up to 10,000 attendees and Zoom's starting plan allows for 100 attendees and goes up as you get a higher tiered plan.

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Storing & Sharing Files

You can store and share files within both applications, however Teams, again, is much more customizable and much more organized when it comes to storing and sharing files. Teams allows you to edit documents (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc) directly within the application itself. Zoom does have a place for shared files, but you can really just store and access them while Teams acts as a collaboration hub for all users. Because Teams natively integrates with the rest of the Office 365 applications, it increases the ease of use of your tech stack and makes it the ultimate collaborative workplace. Both have search functionality to find previous chats or files, but Teams is second to none and can search content within files as well as the file name, making it a much quicker process to find what you're looking for. In the end, Zoom's file sharing is comparable to sending a file via email, whereas Teams' major functionality is file-storing and file-sharing as it sits on top of SharePoint.

Security

Microsoft natively bakes in security to all its application so naturally, Microsoft Teams is going to be hard to compete with at the security level. That said, while Zoom's security features aren't as robust, both tools provide security layers. Zoom offers SSL and advanced encryption and has enabled features like blocking or removing participants and restricts certain users from being able to share screens or rename themselves. Zoom, like Teams, also has waiting rooms or "lobbies" to approve people to be let in and you can also enable passwords for meetings.

Teams absolutely has an edge here, though, largely due to its integration with the Microsoft Admin Center, allowing for Microsoft admins to control security and compliance policies across all applications within their suite of products. Teams offers features like two-factor authentication, channel controls, and data loss prevention. Additionally, Microsoft has Advanced Threat Protection, communication compliance, secure guest access, cloud app security, sensitivity labels and more. If you’re in a highly-regulated industry or are concerned about compliance and security (as all businesses should be), then Teams without a doubt has the advantage here.

Pricing & Free Versions

Both tools have a few different pricing plans and have freemium versions available. Teams freemium includes video and audio conferencing, scheduled meetings, 1 to 1 chat, file sharing, screen sharing, and data encryption. Zoom's free version allows for video and audio conferencing (only up to 40 minutes), scheduled meetings, screen sharing, and chat.

Teams pricing plans range from $0 to 12.50/user/month whereas Zoom ranges from $0 to $19.99/mo/host

In the end, Zoom is a great tool if all you're looking for is video conferencing or webinar delivery. Microsoft Teams, on the other hand, brings all business applications and tools of a workplace together and allows for ultimate collaboration -- and video conferencing is just one feature benefit of its all-encompassing solution. However, if you do need just a conferencing tool, Teams does deliver that, so it really is up to what your business is looking for. In the end, when all things considered, especially (and most importantly) security and productivity, Teams takes the cake.

Considering migrating to Teams? We'd love to help.

Microsoft Teams vs Slack Comparison [Updated for 2020]

When it comes to office collaboration and communication tools, Microsoft Teams and Slack are the significant competitors that come to mind. Slack is best known around start-ups and digital agencies circles. It has been the first such collaboration tool of its kind, providing companies and organizations with chat and file-sharing capabilities.

With so many businesses now partially or fully remote, these tools are more important than ever, and even have benefits for teams in the same building. In this article, we'll compare the two and look at both similarities and differences so you can make a well-informed decision on what's best for your business.

What Do Microsoft Teams and Slack Have in Common?

Since both Slack and Teams are communication tools, there is some similar functionality between the two. The major commonalities include:

The Differences between Teams and Slack

Slack’s strength is that it was built for startups so it's easy to get started - plus it integrates with ~800 third party applications.  Microsoft Teams' strength is its built-in security features and strong integration with Office 365.

Truth be told, these two tools share a lot of the same features but the differences are in the details. Let's dive in and take a closer look.

Third-Party App Integrations

With over 800 third-party apps that it can integrate with, Slack beats Teams, which can integrate with over 200 apps. That said, Teams can integrate with all Office 365 apps (Skype, Outlook, etc.), making it the ultimate collaboration hub on top of its communication features. Teams is constantly adding new third party app integrations to try and keep up.  If you're an Office 365 user, Teams is definitely the way to go when it comes to integrations. If you use Google or otherwise, Slack might be better suited for you.

Sharing Files and Content

If your primary collaboration source is Google Drive, Slack allows you to create and share these kinds of documents easily while Teams operates on the Office 365 package. You can view, collaborate on, and edit files within Teams, without having to leave the platform, which is not possible in Slack. This is a game-changer when it comes to productivity. Teams users can access, share and edit files with just a few clicks and within one single application. It also allows for co-authoring documents and simultaneously working on a document with your colleagues in real-time.

Communication Options

Both tools are built for communication and therefore instant messaging, calls, meetings and video conferencing are built into both tools. However, with Slack you can only video conference with up to 15 users at a time. Within Teams, you can have up to 250 users in the most basic plan. So again, if you're a startup or small business, Slack will work, but if you have an organization with more than 15 people, then you should look at Teams. Both have features within their video conferencing to change the background, share screens, and more, but this does depend on the plan you have.

Security

Both tools provide users with security measures to encrypt files, data, and messages. They both offer two-factor authentication, channel controls, and data loss prevention, but Teams has the edge over Slack thanks to its integration with the Microsoft Admin Center and Slack only provides some of these features at the Enterprise plan level. Microsoft is known to bake security into every product and because of its integration with Office 365 the security policies spread across platforms making it extra secure. Additionally, Microsoft has Advanced Threat Protection, communication compliance, secure guest access, cloud app security, sensitivity labels and more. If you’re in a highly-regulated industry or are concerned about compliance and security (as all businesses should be), then Teams has the advantage here.

 

Deployment

Both systems are fairly easy to deploy, though due to some of its security and accessibility layers, Microsoft Teams takes a bit longer to add a new user. Depending on how sophisticated you want your Teams to be, it may require someone with technical skills to set up and deploy Teams, where as with Slack, you can get set up pretty quickly. However, once Teams is set up by your admin, it's quite user friendly and easy for new users to set up new Teams, channels, and start sharing files. If you're a startup or without a technical resource, then Slack is the way to go.

Pricing

Regarding cost-effectiveness, both platforms have a free version, making them available for small companies that don't need the extra features. The open Teams version offers more capabilities than Slack. Also, companies that have an Office 365, Teams is available in many different licensing SKUs or is an easy add-on. Slack's plans start at $6.67/user/month and Microsoft Teams starts at $5/user/month.

 

In Conclusion

In summary, both tools are great options for communication in the office. If you're a startup or small business that is simply looking for a communication tool, Slack should solve your needs.

However, if you're looking for something secure with more features (even in its free plan) that not only has many communication avenues, but acts as a collaboration hub for your business, then Teams is your answer.

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The Best Features of Windows 10

While many users have already made the transition to Windows 10, others have yet to make the jump. Either because they got used to their current version of Windows or other similar factors, they will be, more or less, forced to do so in the immediate future. As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7 on laptops and desktops, and it will stop patching it with security updates.

While those using Windows 7 Pro and Enterprise can still extend their security updates until 2023, this will come at a cost based on the number of devices. What's more, this price will increase over time. That said, what are the best features that Windows 10 has to offer in comparison to its previous counterparts?

Enhanced Security Capabilities

For starters, Windows 10 offers better overall security. It gives you the option of subscribing to Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which is a cloud-based service that manages various security threats across all of your Windows 10 computers and devices.

Likewise, the operating system also comes with Windows Defender Exploit Guard. This is a system that finds, quarantines, and removes any malware or ransomware that finds its way into your network.

In addition, it includes several other tools that can stop zero-day attacks, block malicious programs, or isolate any infected devices on your network. If you're using Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, you will also have access to Windows Defender Application Guard.

This lets you use your Edge browser inside a virtual machine. This way, if your device or those of your employees get infected with malware or ransomware, your devices won't be affected since these will be restricted to the virtual machine.

The Timeline Feature

Windows 10 also comes equipped with a Timeline feature. This feature will take a "snapshot" of all Windows apps you were using at any given time. By clicking on the "Task View" icon on your taskbar, you can select any of these snapshots and continue working where you left off.

The best part about this feature is that you can access these snapshots on all Windows 10 computers that are signed on with the same account. In other words, you can start working on a project on your home computer, then continue working on it in the office.

The My People Feature

Another simple, yet useful Windows 10 feature is My People. This lets you pin ten business contacts as shortcuts in your taskbar. Once pinned, just click on a person to email them or start a conversation.

The Focus Assist Feature

Staying focused while meeting a deadline is becoming increasingly difficult. There are plenty of distractions without Windows having to contribute to them. Focus Assist is a Windows 10 feature that allows you to toggle some or all notifications on or off, thus helping you concentrate on the task at hand.

The Nearby Sharing Feature

Nearby Sharing in Windows 10 is a feature that allows you to share all sorts of documents, photos, links, and videos with nearby devices by using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Granted, you can share links relatively easily over the browser, but when it comes to large documents, images, or videos, things become a bit more complicated. This feature helps streamline this operation if both PCs, the one you’re sharing from and the one your sharing with, have Windows 10.

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Office 365 vs Google Docs From a Security Perspective

Numerous factors go into choosing a cloud platform for an organization. Among these, we can count things such as access, design, functionality, and, of course, security. As the business landscape becomes more digitized with every passing day, the threat of cybercrime is growing ever more real. By choosing a platform that will best suit the security needs of your organization, will go a long way in safeguarding your data and processes.

Among the most popular and widely used of these cloud platforms for business, we can consider Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs, or officially known as Google G Suite. Of the two, Office 365 is older and more commonly used among businesses, providing the familiarity and ease of use of Windows apps. The G Suite, on the other hand, is newer and on an almost equal footing with Office 365 when it comes to security.  Each of them has its abilities and will probably be a better fit, depending on what you look for.

G Suite vs. Office 365 Security Features

Data Monitoring & Protection

Regarding data monitoring and protection, Google controls its entire hardware stack. It means that it can address and block security threats quickly. G Suite also offers full data encryption, while its machine learning capabilities help to detect threats more efficiently. When it comes to user data protection, G Suite focuses on malware threats in terms of infection prevention.

Office 365, on the other hand, offers an email filtering service that targets advanced spam and malware viruses. These include malicious URLs with various phishing traps and other similar infections. This platform is more focused on overall cloud security. Data encryption is also a top priority.

Compliance Management

Concerning compliance management, Google has strong user contracts that ensure their compliance environments are maintained.

That said, the platform is compliant with the following certifications:

Office 365, on the other hand, has over 900 controls built in its compliance framework. It helps the platform stay on top of every development and industry compliance standards. Besides, a team of compliance specialists track all of these regulations and helps build them into their programs.

Office 365 compliance certifications:

 

User Access

G Suite had faced some challenges in the past since it had a minimal set of security management features. And even if it has made some strides more recently, companies should still review G Suite’s user controls to make sure that it suits their respective industry. Nevertheless, admins can more easily manage user accounts, user permissions, and control access.

With Office 365, user control is built into every section. Admins have full control of security policies surrounding content sharing and external users. It allows them to create customized policy infrastructures with unique security demands based on their organization. If implemented correctly, this dramatically increases cloud security.

Automatic Updates

Regarding software and system updates, both the G Suite and Office 365 offer a seamless experience, automatically weeding out any weak security issues. Office 365 used to have a problem with this, but since it has become fully integrated into the cloud, this is no longer an issue.

Takeaway

When it comes to the bottom line, both the G Suite and Office 365 have well put together security infrastructures. And while both platforms can be useful for companies, there is one final point to consider - namely data privacy.

While Microsoft has made it clear that they will not scan user data and make it available to third parties for advertisement purposes, the same thing cannot be said about Google. And with Microsoft's years of experience in optimizing security strategies and patching up security vulnerabilities, it makes Office 365 a better candidate.

If you are interested in migrating to Office 365, Managed Solution is here to help.

We provide a hands-on discovery of the Microsoft Suite of products through a Customer Immersion Experience. We’d love to host a CIE on-site or at our headquarters for you to learn more.  We supply all the hardware and software for you to demo the tools interactively with a group. Contact us to learn more.

What Are the Security Features of Office 365?

With more and more companies embracing cloud computing, the long-held misconception that it isn't secure is fading away. If you are already using Office 365 or are intending to do so, know that it has numerous security features that can help you out.

And as cyber crime is evolving, Microsoft is continuously bringing in new features to bolster its users' safety. There is no such thing as being too safe when it comes to the digital environment and, for this reason; Microsoft Office 365 is a great choice to protect your organization and its data.

That said, there are several such features.

Advanced Threat Protection

Ransomware is at an all-time high, being spread by malicious links and various other email attachments. To make matters worse, these are becoming increasingly sophisticated and realistic, making it difficult even for the more tech-savvy among us to tell the difference.  The Advanced Threat Protection feature will significantly improve security by stopping those links and attachments from making it into the users' inboxes, in the first place.

It does this by opening them in a virtual environment, separate from your environment, and checks them for any malicious activity. It is done before they are sent to the inbox, and if there are threats discovered, they will not infect your system.

Outlook Email Encryption

Email interception is a preferred way for many cybercriminals to get their hands on sensitive information. But with Outlook's end-to-end encryption, hackers will have a much harder time intercepting emails.

The process works by requiring all non-Outlook recipients to choose between single-use passcode or re-authentication when opening an email from an Outlook sender. Outlook-to-Outlook email exchange, on the other hand, will not require any further action, regardless of device or operating system.

Azure Active Directory Identity Protection

Detecting a compromised account is nearly impossible until the damage is done. But the Azure Active Directory Identity Protection feature will be able to identify and prevent hackers from getting in, in the first place. The system uses machine learning  (ML) to understand the daily processes and activities of your organization, red flagging any unusual behavior.

It can detect multiple log-ins that happen in quick succession or from various locations. It also learns the usual times of log-ins, highlighting any deviations from that pattern. Once a threat is detected, the person attempting to log-in may be asked to perform multi-factor authentication, an ID verification, or prevent them from signing in altogether.

Mobile Device Management and Microsoft Intune

Mobile device management (MDM) is about controlling access to your company's data. The built-in MDM feature of Office 365 helps companies where employees are only able to access email from company-issued devices.

For a higher degree of control, however, and if your employees will be accessing more than email or using their devices, there is also the Microsoft Intune feature. It will give you a greater deal of control concerning how data is used on mobile devices. For instance, you can restrict the possibility to copy data from a managed to a non-managed app.

Takeaway

All of these features and others more will help ensure the safety of your organization against cybersecurity threats when using Office 365. If you want to learn more or know how to utilize them to their fullest effect, our specialized consultants are at your service.

We provide a hands-on discovery of the Microsoft Suite of products through a Customer Immersion Experience. We’d love to host a CIE on-site or at our headquarters for you to learn more.  We supply all the hardware and software for you to demo the tools interactively with a group. Contact us to learn more.

Managed Solution Establishes Partnership with LiveTiles

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SAN DIEGO, California – Managed Solution is excited to announce partnership with LiveTiles.

LiveTiles Design is an all-in-one solution for creating beautiful, engaging sites that foster collaboration throughout your organization, effectively managing content and seamlessly integrating third-party applications within a single platform.

As one of Microsoft’s top partners, Managed Solution is known throughout the industry as a partner friendly, full service Microsoft solution provider with expertise in Office 365, Enterprise Mobility & Security, Windows 10 Enterprise, Azure, Dynamics 365 and the new flagship Microsoft 365.

This partnership enables Managed Solution customers to create captivating sites on SharePoint and Office 365 to give their teams a phenomenal user experience, with no coding necessary. It gives them the ability to create a seamless workplace experience across devices, departments, and time zones with the ultimate SaaS offering. And it empowers teams with custom, mobile-friendly LiveTiles Design solutions so they can access what they need anywhere, anytime.

Sean Ferrel, Managed Solution, Chairman and Founder, stated, “LiveTiles makes the navigation in SharePoint much easier for end user, with ability to design it in just minutes and make changes as you go. Which makes SharePoint more accessible to our customers.”[/vc_column_text][grve_button button_text="Learn more" button_shape="round" button_link="url:http%3A%2F%2Finfo.managedsolution.com%2Flivetiles||target:%20_blank|"][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Non-Profit Partners In Health: Saving time, saving money and saving lives with the cloud

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Powered by Microsoft Azure, Partners In Health saves money and fine-tunes its programming—creating additional resources to improve people’s health worldwide.
The international nonprofit Partners In Health (PIH) modernizes healthcare in the world’s most in-need populations. By deploying Microsoft cloud solutions across sites globally, PIH is streamlining operations, optimizing capacity and communication, and most importantly, saving lives.
Marc Julmisse, chief nursing officer at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti says “we’re saving time and money, and every dollar we save is making it to the field to help those that need it.”
A nonprofit’s mission is focused on serving its people and can be even more empowered by the right IT. Non-Profits can now qualify for large discounts which accelerates their mission to do good.

How can the Microsoft cloud empower Non-Profits to achieve more?

Non-Profits are constantly pinching pennies and trying to make the most of their existing resources. To help them leverage their existing resources, including data, Partners In Health created a centralized, cloud-based clearinghouse for its offices, clinics and field employees to store, access and analyze data.
It's up to the staff to input patient details but because the files are hosted in the cloud, team members can upload information from any device, anywhere in the world. This optimizes their communication and collaboration and expedites decision-making.
Partners In Health also utilizes data stored safely in the cloud to better understand quality of care in its clinics, hospitals and home visits.  The insights gleaned from data uploaded in real time empowers the Non-Profit to share best practices from locations that are exceeding benchmarks, direct resources where they are most needed and demonstrate success to donors.

How can the Microsoft cloud leverage communication to connect multiple employees worldwide?

Non-Profit leaders know that communication is the key to innovation and problem-solving.  Because of that, Partners In Health standardized its communication systems with Microsoft and these improvements led the way for  non-profit’s directive to help people that need it most.
Take, for example, the recent Ebola outbreak. With Office 365, PIH sent an all-hands email to mobilize people—and start saving lives as quickly as possible. Such an efficient response to a health emergency would have been impossible in the nonprofit’s previous IT solution and employee’s reliance on personal email accounts.
And because Outlook is just one part of an entire cloud ecosystem, employees who are integrated into the email exchange can also collaborate on documents in SharePoint, access performance metrics in OneDrive and brainstorm solutions with colleagues half a world away on Skype for Business. What’s more, the Azure cloud identity solution provides a database of employees, their location and their work, which local technical leads can manage without relying on headquarters oversight. This solution ensures staff get the access and resources to do their jobs—quickly.

How does the Microsoft cloud protect Non-Profit’s sensitive data?

Partners In Health collects patients’ most sensitive information about their health status so PIH knew they had to show how safe and secure they were, and the cloud allows them to do just that.
Microsoft’s cloud encrypts email, allows custom security settings and protects data from threats with industry-leading firewalls and antimalware.

How does the Microsoft cloud help non-profits work in remote and challenging conditions?

Serving the world’s most at-risk populations where they work and live means that Non-Profits operate in unforgiving locations.
Thanks to cloud access, employees plow through what used to be daily IT headaches and even bigger IT disasters. By backing up the data to OneDrive, non-profits no longer worry about losing valuable or sensitive data.
Mobile access to documents, programs and storage allows employees to stay productive. The Microsoft cloud helps people stay connected and collaborate in real time, even to the most remote areas.
The Microsoft cloud empowers Partners In Health to do more with less. As a more efficient, collaborative and flexible nonprofit, PIH can respond to any health crisis—and ensure people across the globe get the life-saving care they need.