What is Office 365 and how it works + Microsoft 365

This Office 365 tutorial explains, What is Office 365 and how it works? We will discuss what are Microsoft cloud services and Office 365. What are the benefits of using Office 365 Microsoft cloud services?

Office 365 now Microsoft 365

Microsoft Office 365 is used by small, medium and large organizations.

What is Office 365

What is Office 365?

Let us try to understand what is Office 365.

Office 365 is the “cloud” solution from Microsoft. The services are hosted outside your organization, and Microsoft cloud is fully maintained by Microsoft. Office 365 was available for the public on June 2011.

As the name suggests Office 365 provides services like Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access) as well as other services like One Drive for business, Exchange Online, Skype for Business, SharePoint Online, Yammer, Microsoft Teams, etc.

Users can access all the services online without any headache of maintaining anything on-premise. So there will be no headache of on-premise server maintenance, patching or update activities, etc.

what is office 365
what is office 365

Office 365 (Microsoft 365) is created keep in mind for the enterprise customers.

What is Microsoft 365?

According to Microsoft, Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based service that brings together best-in-class productivity apps from Office 365 with advanced device management, intelligent security, and innovative online services. It includes Office 365 Apps, Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility, and Security.

Advantages of Office 365

By this time we know what is Office 365. Now, let us check out the advantages of Office 365. Below are a few advantages of using Office 365 that an organization can get.

#1- No Installation and Maintenance Headache

Imagine as an organization if you want to use SharePoint, you decided to install SharePoint on your premises. There are a lot of things involved in the whole process like, hardware, software, you need SharePoint administrators who will have to manage your SharePoint farm, They also will be responsible for updating and patching your SharePoint server.

Also, you need windows and SQL server people, who will be responsible to take care of your Windows server and SQL server. Lots more things.

Forget about SharePoint, if you want to check your email or want to prepare a PPT for your client then you need to install Outlook client application and Office application like Office 2019 in your system.

Microsoft will take care of your hardware, software, patches, updates, everything you required. You just need a browser to use the services.

Check your email in the browser itself, create your spreadsheet in your browser itself, or create a PPT, all you can do by a browser itself.

If you choose Office 365 over your on-premises installation, you can save a lots of cost.

#2- Pay for What You Use

The cloud service Office 365 is available on a subscription-based on Microsoft. Users can opt for monthly or annual plans. It has plans for different types of use like Personal, Home, Business & Student.

Users can subscribe according to their requirements and then they can access the service from anywhere on any device with an internet connection.

Also by using Microsoft Office 365 business plans users can install the latest office applications on multiple devices like PCs, Macs, Android tablets, Android phones, iPad, and iPhones.

Another advantage of the desktop version of Office plan like “Office 365 Business Premium” and “Office 365 Enterprise E3” is that you can work offline without having an internet connection, and next time when you connect with the internet all your changes will be sync and will up to date.

#3- Available from One Person Company to Large companies

Microsoft Office 365 is available from a very small organization (one-person company) to a very large-scale organization (50,000+ users). So you should not be worry about how many users Office 365 supports.

All the business users can do there day to day activities like Emailing, document & information management, Calendar, collaboration with the team, instant messaging services, etc.

#4- Almost NO Downtime (Reliable)

Microsoft guarantees that the services will be available with 99.9% uptime, you will have almost zero downtime. Microsoft has various data centers all over the world and if one data center is down other are there to respond to users request.

Apart from this also they provide 24/7 phone support for critical issues (on selected plans).

#5- Access from Anywhere Any Device

You can access Office 365 & all its services anywhere and on any device. You can access it from desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. You just need an internet connection for it, because all the services are installed in a Microsoft data center. Microsoft is no more a windows company.

Microsoft Office 365 supported Android devices also. It provides Office for Android, users can easily work with a word document, excel documents, or PowerPoint documents from the Android devices.

#6- Active Directory Integration

Active Directory is tightly integrated with Office 365, Organizations can manage user credentials and permissions. Also, Single sign-on and synchronization with Active Directory are easier in it.

#7- Take Advantages of SharePoint Online

Office 365 provides a SharePoint feature in terms of SharePoint online. SharePoint Online is a perfect tool for collaboration, document management, etc for your organization. You can create sites in less than a minute for your team to collaborate, to maintain documents, work with lists, announcements, blogs, etc.

Take advantage of check-in, check out features, see various versions of documents, etc. You can share your documents with external users also in SharePoint Online.

SharePoint Online is tightly integrated with Office products, you can work with a word document and then publish to SharePoint online directly from a word. Apart from these, There is a number of advantages of SharePoint online.

#7- Your Data is Secure in Office 365

This question comes first when you think about moving your application or data to the cloud. Your data is safe in Microsoft cloud in Office 365, they use five layers of security to keep the organization’s data safe.

According to Microsoft, “With Office 365, it’s your data. You own it. You control it.” Microsoft never uses any of the data for advertising and organizations can take their data anytime they want. Microsoft continuously monitors the systems continuously for suspicious activity.

Microsoft provides:

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)-allows you to set granular data policies: Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in Office 365 allows you to set granular policies that govern your data and define specific actions taken when information is shared.
  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)-proactively protects against incoming threats: Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) protects from incoming threats from external sources.
  • Intelligent Protection-machine learning tracks vulnerabilities: Microsoft tracks vulnerabilities at scale through machine learning and mitigating them.

#8- Office 365 is always up to date

One of the best things to move to Office 365 is that you will always up to date, You will get all the features and functionality of the latest Microsoft Office products. Whenever newer versions will come everything will be available to Office 365.

Few capabilities of Office 365 or Microsoft 365

There are a few capabilities of Office 365 or Microsoft 365.

  • Office 365 helps to increase productivity and teamwork
  • Allows Employees engagement
  • By using Microsoft teams you can do instant messaging (IM), Chat and you can take Online meetings and video conferences
  • Email and calendaring
  • Access to various Office applications across devices as well as Online through the browser
  • Store and Share files or documents
  • You can automate your business applications through Business process automation
  • Forms and workflow management
  • Business intelligence
  • Project and work management
  • Access management
  • Information protection and governance
  • Security management
  • Threat protection
  • Compliance management and a lot more.

Microsoft 365 Plans (Office 365 Plans)

As it is subscription-based, the cost depends on the features you will use in Office 365. You can subscribe to those things which you need for your company. So it is very much cost-effective.

Users can opt for a monthly subscription or annual subscription. And also you can cancel at any time if you are not satisfied. In a yearly plan also there is an option to choose for a yearly subscription but you can pay month by month.

Microsoft Office Education Plans

Office 365 has various Office apps for education like OneNote, Sway, Office, OneDrive, Skype, Docs.com, etc. Sign up with your school email address and explorer.

You can also check out Microsoft 365 plans from the Microsoft site itself.

Microsoft Office Home Plans

Office 365 Home ($89.99 per year )- Office 365 Personal ($69.99 per year)- Office Home & Student 2016 ($119.99 one-time purchase)

You can check the price and compare features in Microsoft Office 365 Official Site.

All these plans will have Office products installed and also it includes Office 2016 apps. You can use it in your PC, smartphone (Windows Phone, Android Phone or iPhone) and Tablets (Windows Tablet, Android Tablet & iPod).

Microsoft Office 365 Business Plans

It has various plans for your business like Office 365 Business Plans:

Microsoft Office 365 plans
Microsoft 365 plans
  • Office 365 Business
  • Office 365 Business Essentials
  • Office 365 Business Premium
  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1
  • Office 365 Enterprise E3
  • Office 365 Enterprise E5

For example, if you opt for Office 365 Enterprise E3, then you will have below features.

  • You will always have the latest Office apps (Office 2016).
  • You can use in various devices PCs, Laptops, Macs, Windows tablets, and iPad and Android, tablets, and most mobile devices.
  • Users can access email (outlook) anytime anywhere from your desktop or from a web browser. There will be 50GB primary mailbox and unlimited storage.
  • Users can host online meetings with audio, HD video, and web conferencing over the Internet and can join the meeting from the smartphone, tablet, or PC.
  • Users can use Skype for Business meetings as well as users can take advantage of an instant message, voice calls, and video calls using Skype for business.
  • By using OneDrive for business users can store a 1TB document in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere and by using any devices.
  • By using Yammer which provides corporate social network features, organizations can connect with there employees, share information across teams, etc.
  • Apart from above lots of other benefits are there, Compare price and features in Office 365 official site.

To start a 30-day trial version, you need to have a Microsoft account and then you can Sign up for Office 365 Enterprise E3 Account. Start now to use services like Mail, Calendar, People, Yammer, OneDrive, Sites, Tasks, Delve, Video, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Sway, etc.

The App launcher will look like below:

Office 365 app launcher
Microsoft 365

How to set Targeted release or First Release in Office 365 tenant

In this Office 365 tutorial, we will discuss how we can set Targeted release or First Release in Office 365. The good thing in Office 365 is that we can receive new updates frequently.

What are Targeted Release or First Release in Office 365?

Microsoft does proper testing and validation of any new release through different teams. All new features will be tested and validated by the various team before it got released for public.

Features Teams -> Office 365 Team -> Microsoft -> Targeted Release -> Worldwide Standard Release.

See the fig below:

How to set Targeted release or First Release in Office 365 tenant?
How to set Targeted release or First Release in Office 365 tenant?

Targeted Release also previously known as First Release, done by few Office 365 customers who opted in for it. The updates apply to Office 365, SharePoint Online and Exchange Online, etc.

We can do the settings from the Office 365 Admin center.

Open Office 365 Admin center and then expand “Settings” and then click on “Organization profile” like below:

first release office 365 or office 365 first release
first release office 365 or office 365 first release

Then in the “Organization Profile“, click on “Edit” on “Release preferences” like below:

microsoft office 365 first release
Microsoft office 365 first release

Then it will open the “Release preference” windows it will show below 3 options:

Standard release: Usually you will see this option selected by default in your Office 365 tenant. If this option selected this you and your Office 365 users will receive the latest updates when they are released broadly to all the Office 365 customers.

Target release

If you choose this option, then you and your tenant users will see the lastest updates before the product release broadly. You can test the features and give Microsoft feedback about the feature.

Targeted release allows admins, change managers, or anyone else responsible for Office 365 updates to prepare for the upcoming changes coming in Office 365. They can test and validate new updates before they are released to all the users in the organization.

Targeted release for entire organization

If you choose this option, then all users in your tenant will get the Targeted release experience.

Targeted release for selected users:

If you choose this option, you can define specific users, usually, power users, to receive early access to features and functionality.

Here choose the “Targeted release for everyone” option like below and then click on Next.

targeted release for everyone office 365
targeted release for every one office 365

Then it will ask for the confirmation message “Are you sure you want to change to First release for the entire organization?”, click on “Yes” like below:

enable targeted release for Office 365 tenant
enable targeted release for Office 365 tenant

Then it will show you the confirmation message like “Release preferences have been updated.”

targeted release office 365 or targeted release o365
targeted release office 365 or targeted release o365

This may take 24 hours to reflect. I hope this will help you to set Targeted release or First Release in Office 365 tenant.

You may like the following Office 365 tutorials:

I hope in this Office 365 tutorial, we learned what is Office 365? And how Office 365 works?

We also checked a few advantages of Office 365 or Microsoft 365 and various Office 365 licensing options or various Microsoft 365 plans.