Office 365 Review

The control aspects are top-notch, it could email quarantine details, block, and allow domains


What is our primary use case?

Email, Instant Messaging with Teams, Teams Video Conference & Mobile Outlook Application.

Office 365 works very well with Microsoft Windows ECO system without any friction. Microsoft Teams video conference is a very good tool to have instant or scheduled video conferences, the quality of the video and audio is excellent but requires good internet bandwidth. As an email Admin, control aspects are top-notch, it could email quarantine details, block, allow domains, etc. especially Microsoft email filters (Spam, Malware, etc) with a basic standard subscription are on par with leaders in Email filters (Like Symantec, Barracuda, Cisco). These features are really handy for small and medium organizations. Outlook configuration for receiving and sending emails is very simple.

How has it helped my organization?

We have been struggling with quarantine email details, with office 365 as an admin, with an easy interface, we could able to trace which are all the emails are in quarantine, sometimes Genuine emails also will get blocked and quarantine, with trace option we can easily find the quarantined email and can allow the same to deliver it to recipients. IP Blocklists and country-wise, language-wise blocklist or allow list can be enabled to have better email security controls. Additional features like audit logs, message trace (delivered or failed to send or receive) are handy for IT admin personnel. And this solution can be easily connected with the help of Microsoft connectors to third-party cloud partners like Symantec, Sophos, barracuda, or Cisco email security. Last but not least exceptional channel partner and Microsoft services, based on the subscription services will be honored (like phone/email/remote, etc.)

What is most valuable?

1. Admin Console, control on allow, block, and quarantine list -  always top feature as an admin.

2. Strong sharing control options in One drive & Share points.

3. Microsoft Teams (instant message or audio or video conference with excellent quality).

4. Easy integration with Microsoft Windows environment.

5. Outlook is or was an all-time favorite email application for most of the users, IMAP or Exchange configuration for sending and receiving emails are very easy and frictionless.

6. Outlook is capable of integrating multiple calendars and it can enable add ons like Webex/go-to-meeting/teams/team viewer etc...

7. Seamless integration with third-party partners for email security aspects.

8. Quarantine email alerts to users to allow the email to their inbox (tricky but handy) - tricky if one doesn't have third-party email security, handy if one has got good third party email security).

What needs improvement?

Data protection and email security are almost the same for all the organizations, irrespective of their segment (SMB or enterprises), with standard subscription at least basic Data loss prevention and Advance threat protection can be enabled for SMB segments, it is available in enterprise version / Premium versions. For basic business subscriptions, Microsoft can think of providing PC and mobile management features to enable good security for data in different devices (It comes with additional cost). Overall Microsoft can think of providing DLP and ATP (at least some basic) options to Small and Medium organizations (Its already available for premium and enterprise customers).

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Office 365 for two months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Microsoft product works very well with the Microsoft Windows environment. (It could be windows 10/windows 7/Office 2019,2016,2013), works well with Mac Environment with Outlook as an email application.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not at all a problem when you use Microsoft products.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using IBM Smart Cloud Notes (IBM Verse). Switch because of IBM Email solutions migrated to HCL technologies, the cost of subscriptions are very high with external data centers with disaster recovery. So thought of switch over to Microsoft (Since Microsoft is a reliable player in the globe).

How was the initial setup?

Very easy, no third party support is required. Microsoft services team will definitely help you in this with a single service request (at least the basic setup).

What about the implementation team?

We have done the deployment with an internal team.

What was our ROI?

Maximum two months with the features or products like Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint (these are bundled with Basic business subscription) that's a great move from Microsoft.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing and licensing are not an issue with Microsoft - they offer good prices for any subscription. Migrating from other solutions like IBM Domino (NSF format emails) is tricky because Microsoft outlook only accepts *.PST (Windows) or *.OLM (Mac Book) converted emails to have a backup of your older emails or till the last email before the switch over to Microsoft email solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have evaluated HCL & Google Suite.

What other advice do I have?

Overall excellent product with great features, consider small and medium businesses to have at least basic ATP and DLP features.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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