A User’s View of Office 365 – Part 3

In this series, we’ve been exploring Office 365 from a user’s point of view - how it works, how easy it is to adapt to, new features, cool features. 

In part one, we looked at why someone would choose Office 365, what the migration process was like, and the ease of establishing Office 365 Groups.  In part two, we explored the different kinds of Office 365 Groups (public and private), went through the discussion group experience, and delved into Office Delve.

Today, Tony explores Office Graph, talks about the newness of subscribing to Office products rather than outright purchasing, is grateful for the ease of accessing his data from multiple devices, and discusses security in the Cloud.  

Now that I have explained how Groups in Office 365 works and how Delve gives me great information I would like to further discuss my experience with Office 365 by explaining how Office Graph feeds Delve and a few other great features that have made me wonder why I didn’t make the change sooner.  Overall I couldn’t be happier with my Office 365 experience.  Outlook Web App works great, with some very handy new features with Groups.  After tinkering around and finding my way through SharePoint I may end up migrating all my documentation to that versus Dropbox.  I still consider myself a novice when it comes to Office 365 but the more I dive into it the more integrated I can become with my friends and colleagues.

Office Graph

Graph works hand-in-hand with Delve.  Graph helps weed out all the information overload I get on a daily basis.  Graph uses machine learning to map connections between my contacts and the content I use every day within the Office 365 domain.  The information it learns is sent to Outlook and removes clutter for me automatically so I can get to the more relevant information I need.  Graph ties into my calendar as well to “learn” topics of meetings I have scheduled and provides latest content on that subject and provides the information on cards I can review before my scheduled meeting or event.

Office 365 Subscription

While the thought of having to pay for a subscription for Office products made me skeptical at first I realized the value of paying to use the products quickly as I began working with it more and more.  I discovered the vast amount of integration Office truly has to offer.  While I still have a choice to stick with a perpetual license in Microsoft’s Office 2013 suite I think I will stick with Office 365.  As technology continues to change and evolve and security becomes a greater concern I trust Microsoft will provide the most up-to-date patches and security through Office 365 automatically without charging me an additional fee.

Multiple devices

Since the subscription allows me to install Office 365 on up to five devices I have used it on my laptop and new Surface Pro 3 which allows me to use my laptop at home or work and bring my Surface Pro 3 when I travel since it is much lighter and portable than the laptop.  Since I store everything in the Cloud I never have to worry about memory cards or constantly emailing working files to myself like I used to.  Having the same programs and apps on my devices also means I don’t have to worry about compatibility.  When I begin to migrate from Dropbox to OneDrive I know the 20GB of storage will be plenty for my files.


Office 365 provides built in defense-in-depth security to protect your files, documents, and account against hackers and vulnerabilities.  I always worry about security, and decided to look into how Microsoft has handled it in Office 365.  Iwas quite pleased with my findings.  Office 365 offers security at all levels including physical, logical, data, and admin and user controlled security.

Microsoft monitors their data centers 24 hours a day and requires biometric scanning to access their servers.  They also segregate their internal data center from their external network servers.  Their employees have role based access to ensure customer data is useless to the people that have the physical access to their servers who perform installations, upgrades, and maintenance.

The logical security involves a lock box process to restrict physical access to data.  Their servers only run processes on a whitelist to cut down on malicious code.Microsoft has dedicated threat management teams who are proactive in responding to current and future threats.  Intrusion detection and port scanning are also performed to detect malicious activity.  Encryption at rest, in transit, and threat management all protect server data when you are actively using it and storing it.

Through admin and user controls you must enter your credentials in order to access your files.  This is a simple login painless to do, and gives me peace of mind knowing Microsoft has this level of defense-in-depth security.  If I wanted to access my OneDrive files on my phone I have to enter my credentials in that device as well.  Office 365 Message Encryption allows me to send encrypted emails to anyone.  This is a key feature and is very non-intrusive to my daily routine.  If I were to send or receive an encrypted email I would receive a notification that it was encrypted but it would not deter me from wanting to send or receive encrypted emails.  I can send important information or simple one line emails encrypted with ease.

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