What Does Microsoft Removal Of OneDrive Unlimited Storage Mean To An Office365 User?

About a week ago Microsoft back tracked on its previously announced and heavily promoted statement that OneDrive users would get unlimited storage for free. As you can imagine that has caused outrage among users of the service especially as the new free tier is just 5GB – yes thats 5GB!!

Here at Purenetworking, we always questions how Microsoft would continue to just give away free storage, especially as no other supplier followed with a offer similar to this. However the way Microsoft has removed this is truly disgraceful. There reason for doing this is that a number of users were abusing the service and using it to backup multiple machines, which isn’t strictly what the service was designed for. This may be true but in our opinion the correct way to remove the unlimited option would have been to give all current OneDrive users 1TB free and then for new user they get say 100Gb or 50Gb. There is currently a campaign to try and get Microsoft to back track on their decision but we don’t expect this to happen.

So many of our customer are coming to us and asking us how this will affect there Office 365 OneDrive for Business allocation. Well at the moment it doesn’t really. Every Office365 gets 1TB of storage and at the moment this hasn’t changed. In fact we don’t expect it to change, because in our opinion Microsoft’s reason for removing the unlimited Onedrive storage option is to drive users to Office365.

The simple fact is that an Office365 subscription is great value, you obviously get the 1Tb of storage but also access to Word/Excel/Outlook etc… just a few pounds a month.

We may not be happy with the removal of the unlimited storage option but Office 365 is still the best storage deal out there.

So if you need assistance setting up Office365 or moving your OneDrive data over please let us know and we’ll be happy to help.

Five Essential Tools for the Home Worker

Essential Tools to Work From Home

More and more people are working are working from home and with the ubiquity of tablets, laptops WIFI and smartphones it easier than ever to get out of the drudgery of the daily commute. But before you make the transition to full time home working we’d recommend you get a few essentials to ensure the transition is a pain free as possible.

So without further ado here are our top five essential tools for the job…

1) Mobile Hotspot
You’ll have WIFI at home, but to be being stuck at home on your own won’t necessarily provide you with the simulation your need to get those great ideas flowing. We often find that people who just swap office life for a home office miss the social interaction. However working say an hour or so in the garden, nearby park or coffee shop will help stimulate you and make you become more productive. To do this you’ll need some kind of connectivity so make sure you get either a hotspot/dongle from your mobile provider or easier still just turn your smartphone into a hotspot and work from anywhere!

2) Laptop
Now your mobile you’re going to need a flexible device that is small enough to go anywhere with you but powerfully enough to get your work done. It’s an obvious choice but our recommendation for the mobile worker would be Microsoft Surface Pro device. We really don’t know anyone that isn’t impressed with the devices. Is it a laptop or is it a tablet? Or does it really matter? It’s just great!

3) Cloud Storage
Making sure you have access to you files wherever you go is essential and with an Office365 subscription you get 1Tb of storage. In the competitive cloud storage area there is simply no better deal in the market.

4) VOIP Number
You’ll have your mobile number, but we would recommend getting a VOIP number so you can still give the impression you have a landline number. With Skype for Business rolling out PBX in the cloud feature the obvious choice would be to simply bolt on the functionality to your Office356 subscription.

5) Conferencing Facilities
Once of the mail tools you’ll need is the ability to run conference calls and share your information over video conferences. Again why look for a separate tool when conferencing, screen sharing, presence and instant messaging are all built into the Office 365 Skype for Business package!

Let us know if we are missing any essential teleworking tools or contact us if you need any help setting up your home working office.

What Can I Do With SharePoint and Office 365

One of the most of common questions we get here at Purenetworking is “What can I actually do with SharePoint and Office 365?”. Its quite a strange question really because a lot of our customers have already purchased the product and many have been using it for many years.

What we find is that most people are happily running there email system through Office 365 but not really sure what they can do with SharePoint.

I searched through the internet to see if there was a top 5 things to do with SharePoint and was quite surprised how vague many of the answers were to this question. Commonly you get blogs by consultancy firms, who are obviously trying to sell their services, saying “SharePoint can be used to do anything” or “Streamline your business processes using SharePoint”. This type of answer is one of the reasons for the confusion over practically what you can do with the product.

So this is what we are finding our customer are using or want to use SharePoint to do for them:

1) Internal Document Storage
By far the most common request is for an area to be setup were users/departments can centrally store there files and folders that can be accessed both online and offline (Onedrive Pro)

2) External Document Sharing
A very close second to internal document storage is having the facility to share either a document folder or dedicate website with a supplier

3) Intranet Site
Customer that are say 100 users+ and have a number of departments want to use SharePoint as there Intranet. Each department will have its own page and have on there any policies/procedures they have, a list of people in there department and a overview of what that department does. Some departments say HR will have a form on there for say a new starter or leaver.

4) Workflow Approval
Once people get used to sharing documents and having basic forms on SharePoint, the next thing they want is some kind of approval system setting up. Typically the three areas were workflow is looked at are:

  • Purchase Orders were a PO will be raised and then it goes to someone who can approve the order
  • Expenses – Again expense claim raised and then goes for approval
  • Holiday Approval – You request a holiday and it goes to your manager to say yes/no

5) Case Management/CRM
Finally we would say that customers then want to use SharePoint to store all correspondence with a certain customer, be that emails, documents, pictures, contacts, notes, tasks etc…

It is true that SharePoint if developed can do almost any task you want it to do but to get the most out of the product we recommend doing it one step at time. Get used to using SharePoint by doing basic document handling then build on this.

If you want help in getting the most out of SharePoint on Office 365 why not contact us for a friendly chat

Dropbox vs Skydrive Pro

Now that Office 365 comes with Microsoft’s Dropbox equivalent in the form of Skydrive Pro, a number of our clients are asking if they should ditch Dropbox and move over to Skydrive.

In a number of ways Dropbox and Skydrive are very similar, in the most basic format they both allow you save a document into a folder which then synchronises back to a cloud based service. Once the files and folders are hosted in the cloud then you can access these documents from almost any PC, phone or tablet from anywhere in the world.

Many people think that Skydrive Pro is a new product but it’s actually just a rebrand and simplification of what used to be called SharePoint Workspace and in order to use many of the features of Skydrive you need to setup Sharepoint within Office 365.

Because Skydrive is based on Sharepoint in typical Microsoft fashion a number of the easy to use features that people love with Dropbox, such as sharing files, are slightly more complex to setup. What this however means is that from a business point of view the controls that Sharepoint gives you are also available in Skydrive Pro.

One of the big augments against Skydrive Pro is that it is limited to 7GB of personal data, whereas Dropbox can be a lot larger than this. However this is a where again Microsoft’s marketing department haven’t really got the correct message across. It is true that a Skydrive Pro user can only have 7GB of “Personal” data, however if they access say departmental Sharepoint sites then the files stored in this area aren’t counted against your 7Gb. So in some ways your Skydrive storage limited in only really restricted by the storage available to you in SharePoint (which is unlimited as you can keep adding to this)

Dropbox is really the market leader and rightly so, its ease of use has made is extremely popular and with the Dropbox for business bring with it a central administrative control IT departments are even accepting of the once consumer oriented product.

Steve Balmer once said that “Dropbox was a great little company” and when Steve Jobs was trying to purchase Dropbox for Apple he told there CEO that “Dropbox is a feature not a business” and I can see where both of these people were coming from.

Dropbox was one of the first companies to offer an easy to use cloud based storage solution and as such grabbed market share. However now that you get iCloud with Apple, Gdrive with Google and Skydrive with Microsoft why would you use another solution?

For any Office 365 customer, the built in business level security and features of the Skydrive Pro product make it very difficult to make a case for staying with Dropbox.

As a cost comparison, a company with 10 employees would pay $1,420 dollars a year for Dropbox for Business, while an Office 365 customer could pay just $600 a year, get access to Skydrive Pro, Sharepoint, Lync and Exchange and still save $820 a year.

Here at Purenetworking.net we have found that Skydrive Pro has generate more questions and interest from our customer than probably any other feature in Office365. If you need any other information on how you can setup Skydrive Pro or need help migrating from another product please let us know.