Microsoft 365 is the ideal platform to support and empower mission-driven nonprofit organisations, not least of all because Microsoft offers Microsoft 365 plans specifically designed for nonprofits. These plans are designed to provide the same high-quality technology and business tools that for-profit organisations use, but at a discount, making them accessible and affordable for nonprofits of all sizes. 

Qualifying for Nonprofit Pricing

Needless to say, there are requirements that your organisation must meet in order to qualify for access to Microsoft nonprofit resources. In summary, your organisation must meet three eligibility criteria: 

  1. Your organisation must be a legally recognised nonprofit or NGO. Specifically in Australia, this means that: 
    1. Organisations must be deductible gift recipients (DGRs) endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or listed by name in the tax law.
    2. Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Nonprofits Commission (ACNC); or
    3. Income tax-exempt not-for-profit organisations as defined by the ATO. 
  2. Must operate on a not-for-profit basis and have a mission to benefit the local community. 
  3. Must be non-discriminatory. 

There are also guidelines around which employees may use the licenses based on their employee status and role in the organisation. These guidelines draw a distinction between paid employees and volunteers and between Grants (free licenses) and discounted licenses.  

You can read more about eligibility on the Microsoft website 

Microsoft 365 Nonprofit Pricing

Finding the right Microsoft 365 plan for your nonprofit can appear confusing due to the multiple options available. In practice, it’s quite straightforward, and here we aim to simplify the process and guide you towards making an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs both in terms of functionality and budget. 

Price isn’t everything, but as consumers, we often consider price before any other factor. So, as a quick start, let’s look at this handy table below to see how Microsoft 365 for nonprofit plans compare with one another on price, before moving on to consider features and functionality. 

Pricing

License $AUD ex GST Notes
Microsoft 365 Business Basic (Charity) 0 Free up to 300 users
Microsoft 365 Business Standard (Charity) $4.50
Microsoft 365 Business Premium (Charity) $8.20 Free up to 10 users
Microsoft 365 E3 (Charity) $14.20
Microsoft 365 E5 (Charity) $34.10
Prices are monthly, annual commitment, $AUD ex GST
as at January 2024
Choosing Microsoft 365 Plan infographic non profit

Microsoft 365 Business vs Enterprise

When deciding which Microsoft 365 plan is right for your non-profit, the first decision to consider is whether to choose a Business plan or an Enterprise plan. Thankfully this can be an easy decision for most, given that the Microsoft 365 Business plans support a maximum of 300 users.  

Put simply, if you are a non-profit with more than 300 users, have a strong digital focus, require cybersecurity features, and solutions for compliance and governance, then the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Plans such as E3 and E5 will be the best fit. 

On the other hand, if you are a non-profit with less than 300 users and looking to utilise the Microsoft 365 suite of business applications and are security conscious, then the Microsoft 365 Business Plans are your best option.  

As a general rule of thumb for most nonprofit organisations (under 300 users) we recommend Microsoft 365 Business Premium due to the included features, primarily around cybersecurity & data protection.

Case Study Example 

Care-Full Services is a growing non-profit, currently with 43 staff, operating out of one office location with multiple staff working from home. Front-line staff are often required to visit clients and frequently work remotely.  

Team members need access to Microsoft Office applications including Outlook and Word, both on their laptops and mobile phones, and cloud storage services such as SharePoint to access business documents.    

Team communication and collaboration is a high priority for leadership, particularly given so many of the team work remotely, so tools such as Microsoft Teams and Viva are important.  

Cybersecurity is also becoming an increasingly urgent concern for the organisation, particularly given the sensitive nature of the information that is stored about clients and benefactors.  

Care-Full Services decides to move to the Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan to provide the organisation with the most appropriate features to support the growth of the organisation while meeting immediate cybersecurity and collaboration concerns. They did consider Microsoft 365 Standard and Basic, but decided that the advanced security features, and access to the full suite of Office applications was important.  

With Microsoft 365’s scalable pricing, Care-Full Services can scale up and down as the organisation grows or takes on new projects. Flexible plans and service offerings mean they can use the Microsoft 365 products and services that they need now and explore additional features later.  

Other Microsoft 365 Business Plans

Microsoft does have other plans such as the Microsoft 365 Frontline Worker plan that may be suitable for your non-profit in certain situations, however these plans do have an extremely limited set of features and are best applied only in specific situations. For this reason, we don’t go into detail on these plans here in this post, however, may include them in any detailed recommendations that we offer on a case-by-case basis. 

Find the right Microsoft 365 Plan for your Nonprofit

Before you make any decisions on a Microsoft 365 plan, the best thing to do is to start with assessing your organisation, its current and future goals. Grassroots IT has extensive experience working with nonprofit organisations and can assist you with evaluating your readiness for the move to Microsoft 365 and which plan would best suit your organisation to ensure a smooth, easy and rewarding experience. 

Detailed Plan Inclusions

Microsoft 365 Business Premium (Charity)

Price: AUD $8.20 + GST per user/month 

Ideal for: Non-profits with less than 300 users that require the latest Microsoft 365 applications as well as cloud services, email hosting, Microsoft collaboration tools plus more advanced cybersecurity defence and device management features. 

Features include: 

  • Desktop and web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote 
  • PC only version of Access and Publisher 
  • 50gb email storage 
  • Custom domain name 
  • Access to Microsoft Exchange 
  • Microsoft Teams – a chat-based collaboration hub that lets you host online meetings for up to 250 participants. 
  • SharePoint – Share and collaborate on files and content with your own organisational intranet. 
  • 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage 
  • Exchange Email Protection – protect organisation emails from spam, malware and known threats. 
  • Microsoft Bookings – allows customers to easily schedule appointments 
  • Advanced Threat Protection – Protect your organisation with Microsoft’s state of the art security defence against more sophisticated cyberattacks. 
  • Manage and control access to corporate files and data remotely 
  • Enforce malware protection policies to prevent future cyberbreach attacks 
  • PC and mobile device management 
  • Automatic Office 365 applications deployment to managed devices. 

If you’re a non-profit that highly prioritises data security and cybersecurity, then a Microsoft 365 Business Premium Plan is your ideal option. You can get your always up-to-date Microsoft 365 essentials with cloud storage, integrated Microsoft business tools plus a highly advanced Microsoft defence system to give you peace of mind about the security of your data and resources. Have the ability to manage the devices that access your data and create policies to make sure that your business is protected against internal cyberattacks. 

Microsoft 365 Business Standard (Charity)

Price: AUD $4.50 + GST per user/month 

Ideal for: Non-profits with less than 300 users that require up-to-date versions of Office applications as well as cloud services, email hosting, and Microsoft collaboration tools, but do not need advanced cybersecurity protection or centralised device management.  

Features include: 

  • Desktop and web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote 
  • PC only version of Access and Publisher 
  • 50gb email storage 
  • Custom email domain name 
  • Access to Microsoft Exchange 
  • Microsoft Teams – a chat-based collaboration hub that lets you host online meetings for up to 250 participants 
  • SharePoint – Share and collaborate on files and content with your own organisational intranet 
  • 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage 
  • Exchange Email Protection – protect organisation emails from spam, malware and known threats 
  • Microsoft Bookings – allows customers to easily schedule appointments 

The Microsoft 365 Business Standard Plan is perfect for your non-profit if you require the Microsoft Office 365 applications, as well as cloud storage and customised domain for your company email. This plan does not have the advanced security features of the Business Premium plan. 

Microsoft 365 Business Basic (Charity)

Price: Free for up to 300 users. 

Ideal for: Non-profits with less than 300 users that require web-only versions of Office applications as well as cloud services, email hosting, and Microsoft collaboration tools. 

Features include: 

  • Web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote 
  • 50gb email storage 
  • Custom email domain name 
  • Access to Microsoft Exchange 
  • Microsoft Teams – a chat-based collaboration hub that lets you host online meetings for up to 250 participants. 
  • SharePoint – Share and collaborate on files and content with your own organisational intranet. 
  • 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage 

The Microsoft 365 Business Basic Plan is perfect for your non-profit if you require only web-based access to Office apps and cloud services and have no particular concerns about cybersecurity. In some situations, Microsoft 365 Business Basic can be a good fit for frontline works who only require a bare minimum of access to corporate systems.  

Microsoft 365 E3 (Charity)

Price: AUD $14.20 + GST per user/month 

Ideal for: A digital-driven organisation with more than 300 users that requires the essential Office 365 business tools, more storage options plus more powerful functionalities and integration between apps to keep up with the growing needs of the business using the help of Microsoft 365 enterprise technologies. 

Highlight Features included: 

  • All features included in Microsoft 365 Business Premium Plan 
  • Enterprise-class Microsoft 365 applications 
  • Microsoft Teams – a chat-based collaboration hub that lets you host online meetings for up to 250 participants using the desktop or web applications 
  • OneDrive for Business (Talk to us about storage options) 
  • Windows Enterprise 
  • Microsoft Intune 
  • Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager 
  • Windows Autopilot 
  • Azure Active Directory Premium Plan 1 
  • Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager 
  • Microsoft 365 data loss prevention 
  • Windows BitLocker 
  • Microsoft Security and Compliance Center 
  • Microsoft 365 Admin Center 
  • Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics 
  • Advanced organisational productivity insights with MyAnalytics 
  • Azure Information Protection P1 

Having a Microsoft 365 E3 Plan in your non-profit means that your organisation has the right tools to move forward with a more collaborative approach. With fully integrated applications and administration tools in the bag, Microsoft 365 E3 enables you and your organisation to work more efficiently while maintaining the security of your corporate data. 

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Tips on choosing the right plan for your business

Navigating the multiple options and finding the right Microsoft 365 plan for your business can be tricky. In this blog post, we’ll help you cut through the confusion and make the best decision for your business needs.

Price isn’t everything, but as consumers we often consider price before any other factor. So let’s look at this handy table below to see how the Microsoft Office 365 for Business plans compare with one another:

Note: This article covers Microsoft 365 commercial pricing. If you are a nonprofit, click here to learn more about Microsoft 365 Nonprofit pricing.

Microsoft 365 Pricelist Jan 2024

^^Please note these costs are monthly, but based on an annual commitment, and do not include GST. 

Now that you have an idea of the costs, let’s dive into the features that you get from each plan.

All business and enterprise plans of Microsoft 365 (previously Office 365) come with the Office applications that are vital for any business. However, the Business Plans cater for a maximum of 300 users. If your organization has more than 300 users, an Enterprise Plan is what you should be looking for.

Which Microsoft 365 Plan Should I Choose (2)

Here’s a breakdown of the main features included in each plan, starting off with the Microsoft 365 Business Plans:

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Price: AUD $32.90 + GST per user/month

Ideal for: Businesses with less than 300 users that require up-to-date versions of Office applications as well as cloud services, email hosting, Microsoft collaboration tools plus more advanced cybersecurity defence and device management features.

Features include:

  • Desktop and web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote
  • PC only version of Access and Publisher
  • 50gb email storage
  • Custom domain name
  • Access to Microsoft Exchange
  • Microsoft Teams – a chat-based collaboration hub that lets you host online meetings for up to 250 participants
  • Sharepoint – Share and collaborate on files and content with your own organisational intranet
  • 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage
  • Exchange Email Protection – protect organisation emails from spam, malware and known threats
  • Microsoft Bookings – allows customers to easily schedule appointments
  • Advanced Threat Protection – Protect your organisation with Microsoft’s state of the art security defence against more sophisticated cyberattacks.
  • Manage and control access to corporate files and data remotely
  • Enforce malware protection policies to prevent future cyberbreach attacks
  • PC and mobile device management
  • Automatic Office 365 applications deployment to managed devices

If you’re a business that highly prioritises data security and cyberbreach prevention then a Microsoft 365 Business Premium Plan has everything you need. You can get your always up-to-date Office 365 essentials with cloud storage, integrated Microsoft business tools plus a highly advanced Microsoft defence system to give you peace of mind about the security of your data and resources. Have the ability to manage the devices that access your data and create policies to make sure that your business is protected against internal cyberattacks.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Price: AUD $18.70 + GST per user/month

Ideal for: Businesses with less than 300 users that require up-to-date versions of Office applications as well as cloud services, email hosting, and Microsoft collaboration tools.

Features include:

  • Desktop and web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote
  • PC only version of Access and Publisher
  • 50gb email storage
  • Custom email domain name
  • Access to Microsoft Exchange
  • Microsoft Teams – a chat-based collaboration hub that lets you host online meetings for up to 250 participants
  • Sharepoint – Share and collaborate on files and content with your own organizational intranet
  • 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage
  • Exchange Email Protection – protect organisation emails from spam, malware and known threats
  • Microsoft Bookings – allows customers to easily schedule appointments

The Microsoft 365 Business Standard Plan is perfect for your business if you require all the up-to-date Office 365 applications, as well as cloud storage and customised domain for your company email. This plan does not have the advanced security features of the Premium plan.

Alternatives to Office 365 for business

If you’re just looking to utilise the core functions of Office 365, which includes web and mobile versions (no desktop versions) of the Office 365 apps with 50gb mailbox allocation and 1 TB cloud storage in OneDrive, an alternative option is the Microsoft 365 Business Basics plan. This is best suited for frontline workers who aren’t sitting at a desk and therefore don’t have need for desktop versions of the Office 365 apps. It includes the productivity apps (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) as well as the collaboration apps (Teams, Sharepoint, OneDrive, Exchange). 

Last on the list of the Microsoft 365 Business plans is the Microsoft 365 Apps plan which can provide for your basic Office application needs (desktop, web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook) with OneDrive storage access to let you keep your files in the cloud. Basically, it’s a basic apps-only plan. On this plan, there is no shared email (via Exchange) or collaboration features (like Teams or Sharepoint). 

Now that the Business Plans are covered, let’s move on to the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Plans. If what you need is a more robust solution for your growing organisation, these Enterprise plans offer a wider spectrum of functionalities and a higher user limit that you won’t find in the Microsoft 365 Business Plans.

Microsoft 365 E3

Price: Contact Us for Pricing

Ideal for: A digital-driven organisation with more than 300 users that requires the essential Office 365 business tools, more storage options plus more powerful functionalities and integration between apps to keep up with the growing needs of the business using the help of Microsoft 365 enterprise technologies.

Highlight Features included:

  • All features included in Microsoft 365 Business Premium Plan
  • Enterprise-class Microsoft 365 applications
  • Microsoft Teams – a chat-based collaboration hub that lets you host online meetings for up to 250 participants using the desktop or web applications
  • OneDrive for Business (Talk to us about storage options)
  • Windows Enterprise
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager
  • Windows Autopilot
  • Azure Active Directory Premium Plan 1
  • Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager
  • Microsoft 365 data loss prevention
  • Windows BitLocker
  • Microsoft Security and Compliance Center
  • Microsot 365 Admin Center
  • Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics
  • Advanced organisational productivity insights with MyAnalytics
  • Azure Information Protection P1

Having a Microsoft 365 E3 Plan in your business means that your organisation has the right tools to move forward with a more collaborative approach. With fully integrated applications and administration tools in the bag, Microsoft 365 E3 enables you and your organisation to work more efficiently while maintaining the security of your corporate data.

How do I decide whether to buy a Business Plan or an Enterprise Plan?

Put simply, if you’re a business with 300 or less users and looking for solutions to start your move to the cloud and migrate data, utilise the Office 365 suite of business applications and are security conscious, then one of the Microsoft 365 Business Plans is your best option. 

If you’re an organisation with more than 300 users, that has a strong digital focus, requires cybersecurity features, as well as solutions for compliance and governance,  then the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Plans may prove a more effective solution for you.

Case example:

Acme Engineering is a growing business, currently with 57 staff, operating out of two office locations. Engineering staff are often required to travel and work from remote locations. 

Team members need access to Office application, both on desktop and mobile versions, and cloud storage services.  

They are also working towards promoting a more positive collaboration culture and are interested in using the features available in Teams, such as video calls, file sharing and project collaboration. 

Some of the staff are bringing their own devices to do their job and cybersecurity is a priority for the business, therefore they require advanced cybersecurity defences and device management options.  

Acme Engineering decides to move to Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan which can provide the business with the appropriate features to support the growth of the organisation. 

One important thing to mention is that Microsoft plans are both flexible and scalable. With scalable pricing, you can scale up and down as your business grows or you take on projects. Flexible plans and service offerings mean you can use Microsoft 365 products and services that you need now and explore additional features later. You can even mix and match to suit different staff requirements. 

Find the right Office 365 plan for your business

Before you make any decisions on a Microsoft 365 plan, the best thing to do is to start with assessing your organisation, its current and future goals. Seek the help of an expert to assist you with evaluating your readiness for the move to Microsoft 365 and which plan would best suit your organisation to ensure a smooth, easy and rewarding transition.

If you’d like more information, get in touch with the Grassroots IT team on 1300 554 138 or contact us online.

Updated 19 January 2024 with new licensing details. 

2023 has well and truly been the year of Generative Artificial Intelligence, triggered by the release of ChatGPT in November 2022. Not only have we seen an entire wave of AI based start-ups spring into existence, but big players like Meta and Google have also launched their own offerings.  

Without doubt though, the latest technology to make waves in the business world is Microsoft CoPilot – an AI-powered tool set to be embedded into almost every Microsoft app from Windows to PowerPoint to Dynamics CRM.  

With a surge of interest and early adopters already on board, it’s essential to understand how to prepare your business for Microsoft CoPilot to not only maximise the return on your investment, but also to avoid potentially unforeseen complications that may arise.  

What is Microsoft CoPilot?

Microsoft CoPilot is an AI-powered tool that uses machine learning to assist users in completing tasks within various Microsoft apps. It has been designed to help with a range of tasks – from writing emails and creating slides, to managing your calendar and organizing data. If you’re at all familiar with other interactive, chat-based AI tools such as ChatGPT then you will be comfortable with CoPilot. 

Why is Microsoft CoPilot Important for Businesses?

It’s fair to say that AI offers huge potential benefits for businesses of all sizes. But what specifically is the importance of Microsoft CoPilot?  

Microsoft CoPilot offers a wide range of benefits for businesses, including increased efficiency and productivity, higher quality outputs, and improved accuracy. By automating repetitive tasks and providing helpful suggestions, it can save employees time and reduce human errors.  

More importantly though, CoPilot offers a number of features that no other AI tool can match.  

Deep integration

CoPilot has been specifically designed to work seamlessly with commonly used Microsoft apps, such as Outlook and PowerPoint, meaning there is no need for users to switch between multiple platforms. Imagine opening up PowerPoint and instructing CoPilot to “Create a 10-slide deck on next year’s investment strategy.”

Access to corporate data

With CoPilot deeply embedded within the Microsoft cloud, it can have secure access to all of your existing corporate data stored not only in Microsoft 365, but other third-party cloud apps. This means that CoPilot can provide personalized responses based on your company’s own data, not just the generally available public information that other AI tools are limited to.

Privacy and security

Microsoft has always been at the forefront of privacy and security, and CoPilot is no exception. All data used by CoPilot is stored securely within the Microsoft cloud and is subject to strict privacy policies and existing security rules. CoPilot will not make your data available to anyone who does not already have access to it. 

The risks of adopting Microsoft CoPilot

While the benefits are clear, it’s important for businesses to understand and mitigate any potential risks associated with implementing Microsoft CoPilot.  Many of these risks are best-practice considerations already but are worth revisiting before considering a CoPilot deployment. 

Poor user adoption

It’s important to remember that CoPilot is an AI tool and therefore requires some level of training in order to use it effectively. Additionally, there may be a learning curve for employees as they get used to using CoPilot and may need support during this transition period. A well-planned training and change management program can help mitigate these risks.  

Data privacy

CoPilot operates within the context of the user, meaning that CoPilot will respect any security restrictions that exist around what corporate information the user can and cannot access. CoPilot will not surface information that the user would not otherwise have had access to. This does however put the onus back on the business to ensure that all data is properly restricted to only those who should have access. 

Governance & compliance

With the use of AI in businesses becoming increasingly common, it’s important for organizations to have a good understanding of how CoPilot is using their data. A governance and compliance plan should be put in place to ensure that all data used by CoPilot is compliant with existing regulations and policies.  

Preparing for Microsoft CoPilot

So, what should businesses do to prepare for the adoption of Microsoft CoPilot? There are three key issues that need to be addressed. 

Microsoft 365 Licensing

The first step is to ensure that your organization has the appropriate Microsoft 365 licenses in place to support CoPilot. This means that you must be using one of the following Microsoft 365 license types. Our recommendation for most organisations is Microsoft 365 Business Premium. 

  • Business Standard
  • Business Premium
  • E3
  • E5

CoPilot itself will require an additional per-user license costing approximately AU$540 per user for an annual license. At this stage there is no month-to-month purchase option available, only annual. Please also note that there is no non-profit pricing available at this stage. 

Application Deployment & Adoption

CoPilot requires the latest Microsoft 365 desktop apps such as Outlook and Word, so if you don’t already have these apps deployed & in use across your organisation, you will need to address this before deploying CoPilot. Don’t forget to also consider user adoption. You can’t unlock productivity gains if no-one is using your new productivity tools.  

Equally as important is where your corporate data is stored. CoPilot is a cloud service, and your data must be in the cloud for it to be accessible. If you haven’t yet migrated your data into SharePoint, OneDrive, or some other cloud service accessible via CoPilot Plugins, you will not be able to receive the full benefit of CoPilot.  

Data Security

The power of CoPilot is in its ability to ingest your corporate data and provide intelligent, insightful responses. However, this also means that you must ensure your data is properly secured and only accessible to those who need it, lest you find information inappropriately surfaced to those who shouldn’t, but do, have access.  

Microsoft 365 is extremely good at automatically surfacing relevant and related content. This can be handy when, for example, Outlook presents you with a list of documents related to your upcoming meeting. Of course, it will only show you documents that you already have permission to access, but there-in lies the potential for problems, when documents may not have been properly secured to only those people that truly need access. 

Conclusion

Microsoft CoPilot offers a wealth of benefits for businesses, from increased productivity and efficiency to improved accuracy and access to personalized data. As with any new technology, there are potential risks to consider and prepare for, such as user adoption and data privacy.  

If you would like to talk about preparing your business for CoPilot, contact us today. 

The question of whether you should be backing up your Microsoft Office 365 data will often illicit passionate arguments from both sides. On one hand, you have those who argue that Microsoft 365 already has built-in backup and disaster recovery features, making an additional backup unnecessary. On the other hand, you have those who swear by Office 365 backups as a necessary precaution against potential data loss. 

But what is the truth? Is backing up your Microsoft 365 data necessary or is it all just a conspiracy by software vendors to sell you more products. The answer to that will ultimately depend on what purpose you see Microsoft 365 backups serving.  

The fact is that the Microsoft 365 platform is built from the ground up with resilience and data-integrity in mind, so many of the traditional reasons for backups, such as protecting against data corruption or system failure, are simply no longer of concern.  

In addition to that, Microsoft 365 has various features to protect against other forms of data loss, such as accidental deletions and malicious attacks (assuming of course that you have appropriate licensing). So why bother with a backup then?  

In our years of experience at Grassroots IT supporting clients with Microsoft 365, there are still several scenarios where the native data recovery capabilities can fall short, and third-party Microsoft 365 backups will shine.  

When you need to minimise Microsoft 365 licensing costs

For those clients looking to actively minimise their licensing costs by choosing a lower-end plan, third-party backup solutions can provide functionality that might otherwise be missing, such as the Litigation Hold feature found in the more complete plans. Litigation hold is an invaluable tool for eDiscovery and compliance purposes, essentially allowing you to indefinitely keep any emails or documents. In lower-end plans without this feature, deleted data will ultimately become unrecoverable after a set retention period, unless you have third-party Microsoft Office 365 backups in place.  

Another related scenario that we often face with cost-conscious clients is what to do with staff members’ Microsoft 365 data when they leave the organisation. To keep their profile fully active would require a paid license, while to archive their mailbox into a free shared mailbox would only retain their mailbox, and not data stored elsewhere, such as in OneDrive. With a third-party backup solution in place, the ex-staff member’s account can be fully deleted, safe in the knowledge that all their Microsoft 365 data has been retained within the backups.  

When you need a point-in-time snapshot of your data

While the native Microsoft 365 backups do retain previous versions of your files to allow recovery from unwanted deletions, they can only go back so far, and don’t always allow you to restore from a particular point in time very easily. External backups on the other hand, provide you with the flexibility to restore from any point in time that has been captured within your backup schedule.  

When you have compliance obligations to meet

For organisations subject to strict compliance regulations, such as those in healthcare or finance industries, having an additional layer of control over your Microsoft 365 data is non-negotiable. Microsoft 365 backups are also important for organisations looking to improve their cybersecurity posture by aligning with one of the major frameworks, such as the Essential Eight 

When data is intentionally deleted

It’s a scenario we all hope to never encounter, but the reality is that data can be intentionally deleted by disgruntled employees or external attackers. While Microsoft 365 does have a feature to recover recently deleted items, this only works if the data is still within the retention period and hasn’t been permanently deleted. Third-party backups are an essential safeguard against these types of malicious actions, ensuring that your organisation’s critical data remains safe and accessible.  

When quick & complete data recovery is a priority

As capable as the native data recovery features of Microsoft 365 are, they don’t always make it easy to rapidly restore the data that you need, nor to recover the full structure of data, such as email folder structure or SharePoint document libraries. With third-party backups, you have the peace of mind that you can quickly and easily restore large quantities of data without any hassle.  

Conclusion

Ultimately the decision is yours – are Microsoft 365 backups a necessity or overkill? From our perspective we see the addition of a third-party backup solution to your Microsoft 365 tenant as a wise investment. In some cases, it can provide the belt to Microsoft 365’s braces, while in other cases, without external backups, you may truly be sod-out-of-luck.  

If you would like to talk about backing up your Microsoft Office 365 data, contact us today. 

As businesses increasingly migrate to digital platforms, cybersecurity has become a non-negotiable priority. Microsoft 365 leads the way in providing robust security solutions and offers an abundance of features designed to safeguard your business data and systems – but how do you navigate the plethora of options available to ensure that you’re choosing the best security measures for your specific needs without feeling overwhelmed?  Enter Microsoft Secure Score.

Just as the name suggests, Microsoft Secure Score is a built-in tool that not only scores your security posture but also recommends actions for improvement. With Secure Score, enhancing your cybersecurity is no longer a daunting task but a series of quick, actionable wins that will strengthen your defence line further against potential threats. 

Secure Score

What is Microsoft Secure Score?

Secure Score is a free tool that comes with Microsoft 365 that analyses your organization’s security stance based on your unique use of Microsoft 365 services. It provides a numerical score, along with a detailed breakdown, of how well you are implementing the recommended security controls. Quite simply, the higher your Secure Score, the lower your risk level.  

Secure Score monitors Identity, Apps, Data, and Devices in Microsoft 365, helping you to report on the current state of your security posture, suggest improvements by providing guidance, visibility and control, and compare yourself against similar sized organisations. 

Importantly, it does not simply focus on one specific area of security in your Office 365 environment. Instead, it looks at all products available under your current licensing and providing recommended actions across multiple areas. Recommendations are presented in an easy-to-understand dashboard, grouped by product, and sorted by the impact the recommended change will have on improving the security of your Microsoft 365 environment. This approach makes it easy to focus your efforts in the right area and avoid spending unnecessary time on actions that won’t move the needle as much.  

Key features of Secure Score

Key features of include: 

Security Recommendations 

Secure Score provides actionable security recommendations tailored to an organization’s specific environment. These recommendations cover areas like identity and access management, data protection, threat detection, and more. 

Point-Based Scoring 

Each recommended security improvement comes with a point value. By implementing the recommendations, your organization can earn points and increase your Score. 

Comparison and Benchmarking 

Secure Score allows you to compare your security posture with industry benchmarks and similar organizations. This feature provides valuable insights into how well you are performing relative to your peers. 

Threat Intelligence Integration 

The tool integrates with Microsoft Threat Protection, offering real-time threat intelligence and helping you stay ahead of emerging threats. 

Historical Tracking 

The system maintains a historical record of progress, enabling you to visualize your security journey and measure improvements over time. 

Why use Microsoft Secure Score?

Microsoft Secure Score provides high impact recommendations to improve your cybersecurity posture, usually requiring little or no additional expense. Rather than requiring new and additional security services, Secure Score simply helps you to make the most of the features that you already have access to within the Microsoft 365 platform.  

Importantly, Secure Score may help you reduce your cyber-insurance premiums. With cyber-insurance becoming a vital piece of any cybersecurity strategy, many insurers are now recognising the value of Microsoft Secure Score and factoring it in when calculating insurance premiums. Improve your Secure Score and you can potentially reduce your cyber-insurance premiums.  

Not only that, but if your organisation aligns with one of the recognised cybersecurity frameworks, such as the Essential Eight, improving your Secure Score can also positively impact your alignment with your chosen framework.  

Using Microsoft Secure Score

You can find your Secure Score in the Microsoft Defender Portal. Navigating the portal is quite intuitive, allowing you to focus on the insights and recommendations provided. Importantly, each recommended action also provides details on how the action will impact your security standing, along with any potential user impact.  

Recommendations may range from reviewing an existing policy to implementing changes that may have a significant impact on users completing everyday tasks. As with all such changes, it’s important that you carefully assess the recommendation and consider the potential impact on operations.  

Secure Score 2

Reporting and Tracking with Secure Score

When embarking on a process of change, it’s important to measure and demonstrate progress over time. Thankfully the Secure Score portal provides a historical view of your organisations score over the last 90 days, showing a trend line that makes sudden changes easily visible. A list of recommended actions is also shown, showing when there was a change to each action, if points were gained or lost and allowing you to understand sudden changes in score. 

The Secure Score dashboard shows different metrics and trends, where an action may have regressed, recent decreases, points achieved, along with a comparison against similar sized organisations. Metrics and trends can be shown over 7, 30, & 90 days or using a custom date range and can be filtered based on the 4 main categories Secure Score applies against.  

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Safely Implementing Changes (without the drama)

Unfortunately, there are too many stories of (easily avoided) problems being created when security changes are made without proper consideration. One story that we’ve heard too many times is when an over-enthusiastic sysadmin has enabled multi-factor authentication or conditional access policies within Microsoft 365 without properly preparing the organisation – thus effectively locking many, if not all, staff out of the system. Problems like this are easily avoided though, with appropriate forethought and planning.  

For many clients we find that an effective approach is to develop a roadmap of changes based on the Secure Score recommendations, and then progressively work through these changes over a period of weeks, reviewing improvements in their Secure Score as they go. Some changes may be quick and easy to implement, while others may require more careful management, such as technical change control and user training. By approaching this as a progressive roadmap of smaller actions you can ensure ongoing improvement while managing the risk of disruption.  

How we improved both user experience and security with secure score

Grassroots IT recently helped a mid-sized non-profit organisation that was struggling with their systems. They reported inconsistent user experience across their Tenant, no defined settings for users when accessing systems and their users didn’t trust that they could easily access Office 365. When a review was conducted of the organisation’s Secure Score, it was immediately apparent that there were problems with both Identity and Apps within their tenant.  

Utilising the recommended actions in Secure Score, Grassroots IT was able to implement multiple changes to their environment that made the user experience easier while also improving their overall security posture. Some of these changes included simplifying the user login process, enabling self-serve password recovery and using a single authentication service for apps. At the same time, multifactor authentication was enabled for all users, and appropriate policies were implemented to protect users from malicious content and emails, significantly improving their Secure Score and security posture.  

Additional Resources

Microsoft Secure Score is a powerful tool for improving the security of your Microsoft 365 environment. To learn more, speak to us today, or explore some of these additional resources.  

Microsoft Office 365 is built from the ground up to be a highly secure platform, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your own Office 365 environment is configured securely. There are numerous different ways that organisations can use Office 365, and just as many ways that it can be configured.

Ultimately the responsibility for securing your Office 365 environment, and the information and data stored in there, rests with you. Microsoft provides the platform and the means, but it’s up to you to consider your unique situation and ensure that appropriate security measures are taken.

So how do you know if your Office 365 environment is secure? Every organisation is different, and with so many ways of using and securing Office 365 there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The good news is that there are some well-established best-practices that can significantly strengthen the security of your environment.

Here are five critical questions that you need to ask about your Office 365 security to ensure that you’re properly protected.

#1. What Microsoft Office 365 plan do we use?

Let me start by saying that Microsoft has a frustrating habit of changing product names and bundles regularly, which can lead to some confusion. So, for the sake of clarity, let me share a bit of history with you.

First there were the Office 365 plans, offering a suite of products such as Word, Excel, Email and Teams. Then Microsoft added a whole new line of plans called Microsoft 365, which included all the things from Office 365, plus added a whole lot more, mainly to do with security and governance. Then more recently the Office 365 name has been retired entirely, leaving only Microsoft 365 plans to choose from. If you were using Office 365 plans before these changes happened, you will still be on those same Office 365 plans now.

It’s important to understand which Microsoft Office 365 plan you subscribe to, because not all of them have access to the better security features. For most organisations, we recommend that you subscribe to the Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan, or for some larger organisations, the enterprise level Microsoft 365 E3 or Microsoft 365 E5 plans. The important services that are included in these plans (but not the lower plans) are Azure Information Protection and Intune, both of which bring a range of security and data governance capabilities to your environment.

Recommendation

Review all your Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions and consider upgrading any that are not Microsoft 365 Business Premium, E3 or E5 so that you can take advantage of the better security and governance capabilities.

#2. What’s our Microsoft Secure Score?

Microsoft Secure Score is a rating of your organisation’s Microsoft 365 security posture, compiled from a range of configurations, metrics and various other data points, depending on what Microsoft 365 plan you subscribe to, and what services you use. The higher the number, the more secure you are.

In addition to a numeric score, the Secure Score dashboard will also provide actionable insights and prioritized recommendations tailored to your unique needs. By following these recommendations, you can progressively improve your Secure Score and strengthen the security posture of your Microsoft 365 environment to provide better protection for your confidential data.

Recommendation

Review your Secure Score and progressively implement the recommendations to improve your score.

#3. Is Multi-factor Authentication enabled on all our Microsoft 365 accounts?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an authentication method that requires a user to provide two or more verification factors to prove their identity and gain access to your Microsoft 365 environment, most often a password plus a unique code provided by a separate app.

Despite being one of the most effective cybersecurity measures you can implement in your Microsoft 365 environment, MFA is not always enabled by default or enforced across all accounts. The important point to remember is that your security is only as strong as the weakest link, so for MFA to be most effective it must be enforced on all accounts in your Microsoft 365 environment, not only some of them.

Recommendation

Review all accounts in your Microsoft 365 environment and enable MFA where necessary. Configure Microsoft 365 to enforce MFA on all accounts by default.

Read more: 3 reasons you need to enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) today

#4. Are we using dedicated Microsoft 365 admin user accounts?

Every Microsoft 365 environment has one or more “admin” user accounts. These accounts possess elevated privileges that allow them to perform sensitive tasks such as changing system settings and accessing data anywhere across the environment. These admin privileges can be seen as the “keys to the kingdom”, and if allowed to fall into the wrong hands can be exploited to cause significant damage.

User accounts used for everyday tasks such as checking email and editing work documents should never be granted such elevated admin privileges, so as to reduce any potential harm should the account be compromised. Instead, dedicated “admin” accounts should only ever be used for duties requiring elevated security privileges.

Not only does this approach reduce the risk of accidental changes or security breaches, but it also makes it easier to monitor and audit their activities, improving accountability and traceability of any suspicious actions taken within your Microsoft 365 environment.

Recommendation

Review all user accounts in your Microsoft 365 environment for elevated admin privileges and remove such privileges in favor of dedicated admin accounts.

#5. How are we monitoring for suspicious activity within Microsoft 365?

Even with a well secured Microsoft 365 environment, ongoing monitoring and alerting of unusual activity is important for the prevention of a full-blown security incident. Monitoring can help identify a range of suspicious activities, such as multiple failed login attempts, unusual data access or transfers, and changes in user permissions. These could be signs of a brute force attack, data breach, or insider threat.

Moreover, monitoring isn’t just about detection, it’s also about response. When you spot suspicious activity, you can quickly investigate, take corrective action, and learn from the incident to strengthen your defenses.

Recommendation

Ensure monitoring is configured within your Microsoft 365 environment, and alerts are sent to the most appropriate person to take action as required.

Microsoft 365 is a highly secure platform, but that doesn’t mean that your organisation’s Microsoft 365 environment is secure by default. Microsoft provides the means, but ultimately, it’s up to you to ensure that your environment is secured appropriately, and that starts with asking the right questions.

If you have questions about your Microsoft 365 security, Grassroots IT can help. Speak with us today.

How the app can connect your staff and share ideas

Microsoft Office 365 is designed from the ground up to enable seamless collaboration and encourage greater team communication. With this philosophy built into every app, it’s not surprising that there is some crossover between what each app can be used for.

Yammer, SharePoint, and Teams can all be used to improve office communication, each adding different value to the process. Here are 5 ideas for how you can use Yammer to connect staff and share ideas.

1) Share videos of internal training & project handovers

At Grassroots IT we frequently run internal training sessions. These sessions are normally hosted by one of our team who has a particular expertise, or body of knowledge that we want to share with others.

Recent examples include a refresher session for our helpdesk staff on best practice for managing tickets; an introduction to Privileged Identity Management; and a project handover from our project team to the support team, training them on what they need to know to support a new Azure implementation.

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Because our team works across multiple locations, these sessions are always held online via a Teams video call, making them super easy to record. These recordings are then stored in Microsoft Stream and shared in a Yammer post.

With the video available in Yammer, staff who were unable to attend the live session can still join the discussion afterwards, raising any further questions or comments that they may have. Stream also offers the additional benefit of automatic transcription of the audio, providing an easy way to search the video for any particular references.

2) Encourage experts to share their knowledge via Yammer

Every organisation has its subject matter experts. These champions have a particular passion for a topic and enjoy digging deeper and learning all they can. Yammer provides the perfect platform for these experts to share their unique knowledge with the broader team. It helps not only to educate others, but also to celebrate their own contribution to professional development.

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In the complex and fast moving world of IT we find posts such as this Weekly Learning Post on the Microsoft Power Platform particularly useful for encouraging learning and further discussion.

3) Use Yammer to explore ideas together

It’s often said that two heads are better than one. So if you have a team full of people with diverse and valuable experience, why wouldn’t you use that resource for exploring ideas? Yammer is the perfect platform for encouraging the sharing of ideas across the broader team in an asynchronous way.

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One recent example was when a client wanted greater control of their internal cost allocation of Microsoft 365 licensing. This isn’t something that Microsoft 365 could help with out of the box, but with some collaborative ideation we were able to design a solution that met their needs.

4) Keep staff connected with business leaders

Keeping staff connected across all levels of the organisation can offer significant benefits. It’s particularly important as staff numbers grow, and the risk of communication breakdown increases.

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Yammer offers business leaders the ideal platform for keeping staff informed about business performance and strategy, and inviting questions and discussion.

5) Have some fun!

Who says work shouldn’t be fun, right? It’s fascinating to learn more about what our team do with their time. Recently via Yammer we’ve discovered that James grows chilies, David recently completed the trek of a lifetime, and Michael’s mad keen on footy tipping.

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Find out more about improving office communication

If you’d like to know more about how you can use Yammer to connect your staff and better share ideas, contact us today. 

Manoeuvre your Windows PC with just your voice

When Pam (a busy property manager) broke her wrist roller skating over the weekend, she thought she wouldn’t be able to get back to work at the real estate agency until she got her plaster off.

However what Pam didn’t realise is that Microsoft has some pretty nifty dictation features built into Windows and the Office 365 suite which had her back in action sooner than she expected.

Yes. You can do this with Windows’ dictation feature that uses speech recognition.

This is a speech-to-text tool that provides accessibility to its users and, conveniently, it’s already built in to Windows so you won’t have to install new programs for it to work. Microsoft envisions this tool will support users that are looking for a more accessible alternative to traditional typing.

We don’t want an unfortunate roller skating incident to keep you from getting work done on your PC or mobile device. Here’s how to activate and start using the dictate feature in Windows and Office 365.

First, you need to make sure that Speech Recognition is enabled on your PC. You can do that by looking up ‘Turn On Speech Recognition’ from your Windows search bar. This will take you to the Speech settings window.

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From Speech Settings, see that the toggle marked Turn on Speech Recognition is set to On. If not, click the toggle to turn it on and a speech recognition widget will appear.

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Now, you can try using speech-to-text dictation on several apps.

Please note that you need to be connected to the internet to be able to use dictation because it is part of the Azure Cognitive Services. This means that this tool uses utterance from users to further improve the dictation experience.

On a Windows machine, you can utilise Cortana (like Siri on Mac and mobile devices) as your digital assistant to do things such as opening apps, setting reminders and writing emails.

To start dictation, select a program you generate text in (like a Microsoft Word document or an email in Outlook). You can then easily use the hotkey Win+H (Windows icon key then ‘H’) on your keyboard to open the dictate toolbar. You’ll then hear a beep and text on the toolbar saying ‘Listening…’ which means that your dictation service has started.

There are a couple of other ways to activate dictation depending on the app or device you are on.

On Desktop Office Apps

The dictation feature is most useful in the following Office applications where its main focus is generating text:

  • Word
  • OneNote
  • Outlook
  • Powerpoint

(Less helpful in apps like Excel, for obvious reasons).

In Microsoft Word, you can find the Dictate button from the Home ribbon.

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You can click on the arrow down button to show a drop down menu. It offers various language options for you to choose from.

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Here’s a short tutorial video to help you navigate the Dictate button on Microsoft Word:

Unlike Word that has a dedicated button for the Dictate feature, the other Office applications mentioned above may need the use of the hot key Win+H for dictation to start. There are also restrictions to the capacity of the dictate tool to respond to certain commands in other Office applications. 

In 25 August, 2020, Microsoft announced a new feature called Transcribe in Word which allows you to record or upload audio of conversations and have it automatically transcribed into a Word document. This feature enables users to proactively participate in an oral discussion without the worry of missing out on notes.

The Transcribe feature supports various audio file types like .mp3, .wav, .m4a or .mp4. For now, Transcribe for Word is available at no extra cost using the web version of Word in all Microsoft 365 subscriptions but you can look forward to using it in your Office mobile in the coming months.

On Mobile Office Apps

If you’re using the Office app on your mobile phone, tablet, or touch screen device, you can select Documents from the main menu and then choose to Dictate in Word.

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The Help & Support feature within the Office app can provide more tips on voice commands to ensure your dictation experience is more smooth.

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What commands can I use?

Since the dictation service is part of the Azure Cognitive Services, it is continually improving and expanding its command knowledge. We can list down some of the most common commands you can use using the dictation tool but keep in mind that this list will continue to grow as more people use the tool.

To do this… Try saying…
Clear section Clear selection or unselect that
Delete the most recent dictation result or currently selected text Delete that; strike that
Delete text, such as the current word Delete [word]
Enter one of the following keys: Tab, Enter, End, Home, Page up, Page down, Backspace, Delete Tap Enter; press Backspace
Select a specific word or phrase Select [word]
Turn spelling mode on and off Start spelling; stop spelling

Although dictation can support multiple languages, it can only dictate basic words, symbols, letters, and numbers in seven other languages besides English. The dictation commands mentioned above are available in English only.

To know more about dictation commands, Microsoft has a document source page to help you.

It is believed that our brains work with ideas faster when we speak than when we write or type words. Therefore, this dictation tool opens a potential for better productivity and faster thought process for its users. But keep in mind that there are still windows for error on this one. Like on formatting and grammar.

 Although it is continually improving to provide a more accurate dictation service, the tool still does listen to what you say and translate it to text as it is without the punctuations you mean to put in between words (unless you say a command to add in the formatting). You can say ‘period’ at the end of your sentence to add a period or ‘comma’ to separate words with a comma and so on.

Take note also that the words may look a bit dodgy at first as you speak but be patient as the dictation tool will often automatically fix those when you finish speaking.

Dictation is a powerful tool that provides greater accessibility for users who are experiencing difficulty in using keyboards or other typing tools. So next time you have a rollerskating accident, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be back typing (using your voice) before you know it.

It’s promising what else the dictation tool may provide in the future as it improves to have better accuracy and a wider array of languages to support with its machine learning capabilities.

Tips for installing Word and Excel

A lot of Microsoft Office 365 plans include what’s called Desktop Licensing. This is the bit that lets you install the Microsoft Office applications such as Word and Excel on your computer. In this post we show you how to install Office 365 on your computer.

1. Sign in with your work or school account at https://portal.office.com/OLS/MySoftware.aspx.

Note: If you don’t see Office listed, your plan probably doesn’t include Office applications. If you know your plan includes Office, you may not have a license assigned. See What Office 365 product or license do I have? If Office is not listed, ask your Office 365 administrator to assign a license to you.

2. On the Office page, set-up which version of Office 2019 you want to install. By default, the 64-bit version is selected. You can change this by clicking on the drop-down box under Version.

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IMPORTANT: The process that installs Office 2019 also uninstalls all Office 2016 products. If you previously have the 32-bit version of Office installed, you should first uninstall this version before upgrading to the 64-bit version.

If you’re not sure which version you currently use, have a look at What version of Office am I using? or if you’d like to know which version you should install, read on Choose between the 64-bit or 32-bit version of Office.

3. Select a preferred Language from the drop down list under Language.

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  1. Select Install.
  2. Depending on your browser, go to the install pop-up that appears then click:
  • Run (in Internet Explorer)
  • Setup (in Chrome) or;
  • Save File (in Firefox)

NOTE: If you’re using Edge, first click Save, and then click Run.

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If you see the User Account Control prompt that says, “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?” Click Yes.

6. The install begins…

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7. Your installation of Microsoft Office 365 is finished when you see the phrase, “You’re all set! Office is installed now”and an animation plays to show you where to find your Office applications on your computer. Follow the instructions in the window.
For example Click Start > All Appsto see where your apps are, and select Close.

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8. Start using an Office application right away by opening any app such as Word or Excel. In most cases, Office is activated once you start an application and after you agree to the License terms agreement by clicking Accept.

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Now you’re ready to use Office 365!

A quick recap of the steps for installing Office 365

  1. Sign in with your work or school account.
  2. On the Office page, set-up which version of Office 2019 you want to install.
  3. Select a preferred Language.
  4. Select Install.
  5. Depending on your browser, go to the install pop-up that appears.
  6. The install begins…
  7. Your installation of Microsoft Office 365 is finished when you see the phrase, “You’re all set! Office is installed now”
  8. Start using an Office application right away by opening any app such as Word or Excel.

If you’re curious as to how other successful businesses utilise the Office 365 suite to the best of their advantage, you can head to one of our free webinars by clicking here or if you’re looking for new features and new ways to work your way around your freshly installed Office 365, click here.

Right when you need professional assistance in your Office 365 journey, we’d be glad to be there and help! Just reach out to us and let’s talk about how you can make the most out of your Office 365.

Are you ready to get solutions that drive positive change to your business? Reach out to us to know more about how we can build these solutions together.

There is one app on my iPhone that I now simply cannot live without. The app is called Office Lens and it is available for free at the Apple App Store and for your Android phone on Google Play.

In a nutshell, the Office Lens app is a portable scanner in your pocket. Now, these kinds of apps aren’t new. You have Evernote, Scanbot and no doubt a variety of other flavours available to you on your Smartphone but where Office Lens shines is in its tight integration with the Office 365 suite.

If you are rocking Office 365, odds are that you already enjoy the mobility and agility of access to all your documents and productivity applications from anywhere on your phone. Here is another tool in your toolbox to get the most out of the modern workplace.

Practical uses of Office Lens

Here are just some of the ways that I have personally used Office Lens in the past few weeks:

  • At presentations:

I have been fortunate to attend some fascinating road shows hosted by cloud companies who are making fantastic presentations up on the big screen. Problem is, you’re often seated at a weird angle off to the side, right?  You will see people snapping pics of the big screen at these kind of events, which is a great way of capturing the information. But, if you are using Office Lens, the image will automatically identify, keystone (correct the angle of the image for ease of viewing) and save with an optimised image where you can store it away in a OneNote file to annotate and comment so that you can more easily document and retain all of the cool stories on display.

  • When collecting business cards:

Collected a pile of business cards at that networking event?  Snap them in Office Lens and the app will automatically identify the printed text with optical character recognition (OCR) and generate contacts that you can add right into your phone. Handy.

  • When documenting receipts:

When compiling expenses, having to dig out all those paper receipts can be tedious. Instead of being monopolising the office scanner in a scanning marathon, Office Lens enables you to snap a photo with your phone at the time. Office Lens will automatically crop, enhance and clean up the image and export it to your OneDrive as a PDF document ready to attach to your expense claim. Job done.

Sounds good, right? But how do you do it?

How-to Steps

  1. Install Office Lens on your device. Run the app, then give it permission to access your camera.
  2. The default view is a camera viewfinder. You can select from “Business Card”, “Document”, “Whiteboard” or “Photo” then point the phone at whatever you are wanting to capture.
  3. For Documents or Whiteboards, you’ll see the app attempt to frame the object by detecting the corners. Once it is framed to your satisfaction, snap it.
  4. The app will present you with a preview and give you the option to perfect the layout, be it cropping or rotating the image.
  5. You will be presented with a list of destinations for the image. This is where Lens comes into its own. You can save as: an image to your Photo Gallery, as a PDF to your OneDrive (perfect for those expense reports), to OneNote (perfect for saving presentation slides where you can annotate and comment) and you can even save directly to a Word document or PowerPoint Presentation.
  6. If you are working through multiple slides, or receipts, go ahead and append on the next one.

Have you given Office Lens a run yet? I’d love to hear how you are using it in your business.

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