The benefits of SharePoint Online and Office 365

29th May 2013

SharePoint Online offers the features of SharePoint without the associated costs and time requirements of managing the infrastructure on your own. SharePoint in the cloud can be purchased on its own or as part of an Office 365 suite where you can also get access to Exchange, Lync, the Office clients and web apps.

Price plans for SharePoint Online start from $3 per user per month and in addition to SharePoint’s usual features, offers:

● Multi-device availability – Users can easily access and interact with their SharePoint newsfeeds using the SharePoint mobile apps available for different devices
● Easy management – The SharePoint Online admin area allows organisatiosn to manage configuration, permissions and security for all the content and features within SharePoint. Latest features are rolled out regularly and there is minimal downtime.
● Reliability and security – Data is kept secure by hosting it in geographically distributed datacenters with continuous backup, excellent premier disaster recovery capabilities and server monitoring around the clock.
● Extra user interface functionality – SharePoint online has had a full user interface makeover that includes drag and drop, hover-over and touch functionality
● SkyDrive Pro – SkyDrive offers cloud storage as well as easy sharing, collaboration and document versioning.

As well as the feature’s unique to the online version, users can access the flagship features that are making SharePoint 2013 such a powerful platform, such as increased social features like Yammer, excellent search functionality and apps to extend the platform’s functionality.

For large enterprise organisations, the most appropriate approach may still be to install SharePoint on private servers and retain as much control as possible. However, SharePoint Online provides much of the functionality while reducing the time and costs needed for setup and maintenance and may well be worth considering.

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