In an article on nathanneil.com there are some valid points about how the system works should any circumstances change. The first being what happens if the organisation wishes to leave the Office 365 service for something else. How will users be able to keep their data, emails and even retrtact any domain name they have linked to the service.
Another potential problem that could occur is when an employee leaves. What happens to their account (emails & data)? The article suggests that the organisation would be required to continue paying the subscription for this employee to keep the data secure and available.
A third point to note is that Microsoft say Office 365 can encrypt your emails, which is essential if you are in the medical or legal fields, but it will only work if you buy extra equipment and have an IT professional that is trained and experienced in connecting the rights management system to Office 365.
A fourth point to note is that although Microsoft offers a 99.9% uptime, this is only scheduled uptime. This means that Microsoft could give advance warning of any scheduled downtime. This time would not be included in the guarantee. The message here is that the organisation would not have any control over any downtime, and this ultimately could cause disruption to its staff and or students. I posted a question about this to the Office 365 community, here is the link: http://community.office365.com/en-us/f/148/p/5707/22878.aspx#22878.
There is a great feature made possible using SharePoint called co-authoring. Co-authoring will allow a team of people working together to work on a document simultaneously. Each user can see who is currently editing and which part of the document they are working on in real time. This feature will save the headache of emailing back and forth a document and attempting to draw together the most recent information.
With SharePoint Online it’s easy to share and manage documents with colleagues. Once you have a Team Site you can add users and set their permissions. Now the Team Site members will be able to share documents, images, lists, blogs and much more, with both internal and external organisations, which are password protected. You will also be able to manage meetings and track key project milestones and schedules using the shared calendars. You can even save documents directly from one Microsoft’s Applications to SharePoint Online.
Lync Online is an Instant Messaging client for the working environment. It enables staff to instantly see if their colleagues are available (from many of the Office 365 Applications) and start an instant conversation, so that decisions can be made much quicker than by email for example. Once a decision has been made this could be acknowledged with a confirmation email.
Microsoft is holding an invitation only press event on Tuesday 28th June at 4:00 p.m . BST (10:00 a.m. EDT) to officially launch its cloud hosted productivity suite. Office 365 is still currently being fine tuned and is still in beta today.
Office 365 consists of cloud hosted versions of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online. Customers who wish to can also opt to have Office Professional Plus which is locally installed on a PC and has a paid monthly subscription. The service will compete with a few similar services including Google Apps.