office 365 mailbox quota increase

Microsoft reveals new Office 365 Mailbox quota increase

This week the Office 365 Roadmap announced that an increase in Mailbox quota with Exchange Online would be increasing from 50 GB to 100 GB.

The new mailbox quotas will only apply to the Office 365 E3 and E5 plans. All other plans will remain with the 50 GB quota.

Why the need to upgrade?

You might ask why the need to increase mailbox quotas with Exchange Online when only a few individuals need extra space?

Well, a) storage is cheap for Microsoft especially when bought in the quantities that Microsoft purchases to equip hundreds of thousands of Office 365 servers.

And b) it gives them a competitive advantage against Google. Google’s G Suite (which includes Google Drive, Google Photos and Gmail) is limited to only 30 GB. This gives Microsoft a huge upper hand in this market.

Things to consider:

If you’re using the Outlook desktop client, consider how much data you want to cache locally and how well the hard disk on your PC will cope with the size of that cache. PCs equipped with fast SSDs usually perform well up to the 10 GB mark and slow thereafter. PCs with slow-spinning 5,400 rpm hard drives will pause for thought well beforehand.

So if you upgrade your mailbox quota, consider the cost of upgrading your hard disk.

Although having a large mailbox can be an advantage, it also comes with its challenges. While Search is much better today, looking for an item can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Sometimes it can be much simpler to the delete the items you know you don’t need.

Office 365 and SharePoint Information Session

Coffee, croissants and Office 365. What more could you want?

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A few months ago, our good friends over at Sharing Minds approached us about holding an information session about Office 365 and SharePoint to educate our clients about the benefits of using software that can make day-to-day business life easier for them and their employees.

So last week at Microsoft HQ in Brisbane, attendees settled into their seats with a coffee in one hand and a croissant in the other to listen to Ben and Adam share their experiences and recommendations about working with Office 365 and SharePoint.

The focus of this session was to help people who are using Office 365 and SharePoint use the features that they may not have yet discovered and to encourage non-users to join the bandwagon to better develop their business.

Adam Clark (founder of Sharing Minds) shared his wealth of knowledge and insight into really high-level features that SharePoint has to offer.

Ben shared some great user case studies from a couple of our clients who are using this software and how easy it is to implement into any business. We’ve got Ben’s notes below for your reading pleasure!

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Microsoft Office 365 is a high level brand that covers an ever-expanding range of Software Products and Cloud Services.

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Expected active Office 365 users will exceed the 100 million mark in early 2017.

 

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The top two features driving Office 365 adoption are Exchange Online and Desktop Licensing. But if that’s as far as you go, you’re missing out on a lot of cool stuff that’s already in the box. Here are some of the newer features of Office 365 that you may not know about.

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Archiving, Legal Hold & eDiscovery

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  • Office 365 mailbox size limits are BIG at 50gb
  • Previously had to use 3rd party products
  • Policies can be entire mailbox or query-based
  • eDiscovery and Advanced eDiscovery features

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Case Study

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  • Registered Training Organisation (RTO) specialising in building leadership and communication in business
  • Previously had Exchange in-house with a separate dedicated email archival system
  • Migrated Exchange to Office 365 and enabled Legal Hold

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Video Conferencing & Cloud PBX

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  • Skype for Business
  • Instant messaging
  • Video calling – 1:1 and conference calling
  • Webinars & Screen-sharing
  • Cloud PBX

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Case Study

 

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  • People in Brisbane, Moura, Darwin and New Zealand
  • Moved email to Exchange Online
  • Adopted Skype for Business to enable easier more effective communication
  • Aiming to replace legacy phone systems

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Cloud Sharing & Real-time Co-Authoring

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  • Desktop Licenses to install Word, Excel and so on
  • Cloud Sharing
  • Co-authoring, which can actually be done simultaneously on the same document!

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Secure & Private Video Library

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  • Secure video storage & management
  • Magic stuff to stream video to different
    devices in the optimum format
  • Ideal for an internal training library

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If you’d like to know more about Office 365, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at Grassroots IT to find out more. Sharing Minds are experts on Sharepoint (as well as other products, such as Power BI) and would love to assist your business in making the most of it. You can contact them here.

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Microsoft unveils their Slack & HipChat killer – Microsoft Teams

Last week Microsoft announced the latest addition to the formidable Office 365 family – Microsoft Teams. Teams is squarely targeting the success of other chat-based collaboration tools such as the extremely well-funded Slack (which Microsoft almost bought not that long ago) and Australian’s own Atlassian’s HipChat.

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We’ve long been fans of HipChat here at Grassroots IT. In fact with staff spread across offices in Brisbane, Auckland and the Philippines it’s hard to imagine how we’d communicate effectively without it. We also have numerous clients who have deeply integrated either HipChat or Slack into their own businesses.

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Interesting side note – why did we choose HipChat over Slack? Well we were already using Atlassian’s Confluence app for our documentation, so HipChat was an easy add-on. Would we make the same decision today? Honestly if we weren’t going to use Microsoft Teams, we would probably toss a coin. Both Slack and HipChat are awesome apps.

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So the big question – Will Grassroots IT be swapping over from HipChat to Microsoft Teams? I can say with certainty that we will be trialing it. I can also confidently say that we will have a number of clients who will very quickly see the value in team chat, especially now that it’s included in their Office 365 subscription at no extra cost.

One of the big promised advantages of Microsoft Teams is deep integration with other elements of the Office 365 family, such as Skype for Business and Outlook, both of which we use a lot. Could this be enough to sway us away from HipChat at The Garden Shed? Watch this space as we spend some time with the new kid on the team-chat block.

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SharePoint document libraries get a facelift

The uptake of Microsoft SharePoint by Australian small businesses is increasing, driven in part by the rapid move towards Office 365, which effectively includes SharePoint at no extra cost. Many businesses are discovering the benefits of SharePoint for a range of uses ranging from simple shared calendars to full blown document management systems.

Document Libraries, which form a core component of SharePoint, are finally due to receive a long-overdue update, bringing the user experience up to date with modern expectations. Not only is the visual design changing to a far more appealing and modern look, but new features are being introduced such as file linking, and far easier file move/copy functionality.

Microsoft SharePoint has long provided exceptional functionality, but I’ll be the first to admit that the dated user interface could often be a barrier to user adoption. If it’s been a while since you last looked at how SharePoint could benefit your business, I encourage you to have a look at how far the product has come.

For a more detailed run down on the new Modern Document Libraries you can visit the Office Blogs.

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What’s new on Windows 10

I’ve been seeing more people and businesses transition from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10. A question I always get asked before they make that transition is “what do I need to know about Windows 10?”.

So, I’ve compiled a list of features that are new to Windows 10:

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Start Menu

The new Start menu looks more like your mobile apps than a desktop menu. It has the same navigation function as it did before (installed applications, power options and settings), but it just looks a little different.

Don’t like the tiles? Just right-click to remove them. Move your mouse to any edge of the menu to resize.

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Cortana

Cortana is your digital agent; she helps you to get your work done. You can talk to Cortana using your built-in microphone or type your question directly into the search bar. The more you use Cortana, the more personalised your experience will be.

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Some of the cool stuff Cortana can do for you:

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  • Track packages, teams, interests and flights
  • Send emails and text messages
  • Manage your calendar and keep you up to date
  • Create and manage lists
  • Chit chat and play games
  • Open any app on your system
  • Find facts, files places and info

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Need a personal assistant? Cortana’s your girl. You’ll just have to get your coffee yourself.

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Microsoft Edge

Say goodbye to the old Internet Explorer and hello to Microsoft Edge. Think of the new web browser as a Hub where you can collect all your favourites, reading lists and browsing history in one place. You can add extensions to translate web pages, block adds and even manage your passwords all in one place. Cortana can even help you from within the web page.

My favourite feature of Microsoft Edge is that it’s the only browser that allows you to write directly on a web page. You can write notes on a recipe, doodle or highlight information directly on the website you’re on, save it and share it!

Please note: We do not own this video

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Tip: Sign in with a Microsoft account to have all your preferences available across all your Windows 10 devices.

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OneDrive on your PC

When you receive your Microsoft account you get free online storage with OneDrive. Save your files in OneDrive means you can access them from any PC, tablet or phone. You can also share those documents with anyone that has a Microsoft account.

The files you save to OneDrive are available online at OneDrive.com (just sign in using your Microsoft account) and offline on your PC. If you’re stuck somewhere with little to no internet, you can still access your files. Once you’re reconnected to the internet, OneDrive automatically updates the online versions of your document with the changes that you made when you were offline.

So, now you can go to the park or the beach and take your work with you!

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Family

While I have been pointing our business features of Windows 10, I think it’s worth pointing out the Family feature. Windows 10 isn’t just great for business, it’s personal uses and family attributes are also noteworthy.

Basically, you can add your family members to your Microsoft account and Family allows adults keep kids safer online by seeing their online activity, limit their time on Windows 10 devices and limit their spending. It helps to make sure kids aren’t seeing any inappropriate websites, apps or games.

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These are just a few features that Windows 10 has to offer. I love the innovation that has gone into creating technology that anyone can use and I know you’ll love them too. Windows 10 has really placed an emphasis on personalisation and productivity to help you get the most out of the features they have to offer.

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For more tips and tricks about Windows 10 check out this free eBook by Ed Bott.

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conditional formatting

Conditional Formatting in Outlook 2016

This training video is part our Microsoft Office 365 Training Tutorials series. Click here to go to the training tutorial index page.

Conditional Formatting in Outlook 2016 from Grassroots IT on Vimeo.

In this lesson you will learn:

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  • How to apply conditional formatting to emails in your inbox
  • Go to: View > View Settings > Conditional Formatting
  • This is useful for VIPs, projects, etc

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“Elvis has left the building!”

Mobility is becoming the new ‘trend’ in business practices and we’re seeing more companies switching from the traditional office cubicle space to the virtual office. In theory, this sounds great for employees. You can (somewhat) set your own hours to best suit your needs and still keep your job. What does this mean for keeping up appearances when you’re not physically in the building? And, as a manager, how do you manage your staff when you don’t know where they are?

We’ve compiled a list of tips that can help keep your team communication strong.

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Do you trust me?

First things, first – micromanaging your staff isn’t going to get you anywhere. Regardless of whether your team is in the office or working offsite, building trust and creating accountability is going to be the best way forward in a mobility-based business world. So, let down the barriers and trust a little!

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Get connected.

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Here at Grassroots IT, we communicate through a program called HipChat. It keeps us in regular communication with each other, especially if we are onsite at a client’s office. It means we are able to attend external meetings or work from home and still have a presence at the Garden Shed. What’s great about this chat feature is we can also keep a record of conversations so no communication is lost along the way.

 

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Atlassian Hipchat

 

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Stop. Collaborate and listen.

 

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With the risk of sounding like a broken record, there are plenty of ways to collaborate on team projects without being in the same room. Cloud services like OneDrive for Business and Soonr are really awesome tools that not only let you securely store your company files, but also allow you to collaborate on the same documents. What’s more, these services are also available on mobile devices, so you could be waiting in an airport for your flight and working at the same time!

 

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SoonrDropboxOneDrive

 

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Socialise, socialise, socialise.

 

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It’s important to our culture that we all get along with each other. Regular social gatherings are a great way to keep in contact and build stronger relationships amongst older and newer employees, especially if we’re not all in the office at the same time. Organising a social event doesn’t have to be hard. A barbecue every few months can be a great way to bring the team back together without the pressure of deadlines hanging over everyone’s heads. Anything for a happy team, right? 😉

 

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New usage reports for Office 365

If you use Office 365 in your organization you’ll be delighted to know that Office 365 has released a new reporting dashboard in the admin centre. This is a great new tool as it can help you understand exactly how your staff are using their technology and whether you are getting the most value from your IT investment.

The reporting dashboard and usage reports makes it easier to see if there is a need for additional support, such as user training.

Reports are provided for services as follows:

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  • Activity dashboard (full organisation overview)
  • Email activity
  • Office activations
  • SharePoint site
  • OneDrive for Business
  • Skype for Business
  • Yammer

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For a full overview of the new reporting features click here.

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winding back the clock

Winding back the clock

We all know that technology is a rapidly changing industry and we are constantly being told we need to keep up. Today, I want to do something different. I want to take the time to go through 10 of my favourite Grassroots IT blog posts. I’ve raided the library and chosen the ones I think are still relevant and useful to you. These are the ones you may have forgotten about, or may have never read, but they might just be coming to you at the right time.

So. Sit back. Relax. Grab that mid morning coffee and have a read. All below for your reading pleasure.

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How to get the most out of your IT support team

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How to get the best from your IT Support Team

It’s fair to say that you’ve invested a lot in your IT support team. If you have an IT support team in house, then you’ve spent time and money recruiting them, training them, and developing them with the hard and soft skills necessary to perform at a high standard. You’ve spent money on computers, software, desks, all sorts of gadgets you may not understand, and of course plain old (but not plain cheap) floor space in your office.

Keep reading here!

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The 3 things every business owner needs to know about their backups

 

Brisbane and large parts of Queensland were hit recently by Tropical Cyclone Marcia, with extensive damage and destruction left in its wake. Thankfully none of our clients across greater Queensland suffered any real damage, and by the time the weather reached Brisbane, although it brought with it a heap of rain, there was no real damage or destruction beyond some minor flooding.

Keep reading here!

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Need to know about your backups

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How to Identify Malicious Phishing

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How to identify a potentially malicious phishing email

There’s a lot of risk these days with emails arriving in your inbox, spam that’s essentially carrying some sort of a malicious payload. It’s dangerous in the sense that it will potentially risk installing some bad software or virus or malware … something like that on your computer.

Keep reading here!

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Announcing our free downloadable BYOD Policy Template

The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend is well and truly here to stay, with employees pretty much expecting these days to be able to bring their own personal choice of mobile device to work with them, and use it to access corporate data and systems, usually starting with email.

Keep reading here!

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BYOD Policy

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How Hipchat can solve your internal communication problems

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How HipChat solved our internal communication problems

Our team cover various functions such as technical support, administration, finance and marketing, and just like more and more businesses don’t necessarily all work from the office, at least not at the same time. It’s normal for us to have at least one or two people working remotely at any one time, either from home, or from a client site.

Keep reading here!

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Going to ProBlogger? Here are our top travel tech tips.

The tickets are booked, clothes are in the suitcase and we’re humming the tune of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (actually we’ll be driving, but you know). But what about the gadgets, widgets, and other technology to make life a little easier whilst in transit? We asked some tech-savvy business travellers what their top travel tech tips.

Keep reading here!

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Top 3 tips to reducing your IT costs

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Top 3 Tips to Reduce IT Costs

Years of IT consulting have taught me where and how people spend unnecessary money on IT and lose their competitive edge. My goal with Grassroots IT is to help small to medium businesses get the most value from their technology investment. Here are three simple tips that can help you reduce IT costs and take charge of your technology today.

Keep reading here!

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Is Your IT Health Check up to Date?

You see, while technology appears to be solving all of our problems, they still suffer from some of their own. With a little forethought and a little TLC, there are ways and means to minimise the impact when technology does fail. There are also ways to improve their function and monitor their health. Simple checks on servers and network systems can save you much time and money in the long run.

Keep reading here!

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Is your IT health check up to date

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how we collect client feedback

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How we collect Client Feedback

From the day we opened the doors at Grassroots IT over 10 years ago we have had a passionate focus on our clients, and how we can best help “keep the light green” for them, so they can focus on growing their business and not be held back by technology problems. We obviously need certain technical skills to help deliver on this, but just as importantly we need to effectively engage with the people involved. Thus our tagline – “IT Help for Humans”.

Keep reading here!

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How to successfully deal with IT problems

Technology can be an amazingly powerful business enabler, pretty much everyone agrees on that point. But it can also be bloody frustrating at times. Its ok, I get it. Even though we’re the experts it happens to us too. In fact not only do we get to deal with our own frustrations with IT, we also get to deal with our clients annoying IT problems!

Keep reading here!

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How to successfully deal with IT problems

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office 365

Office 365 free for students

Education Queensland recently published an article stating that all Queensland state school staff and students can download multiple free copies of Microsoft Office 365.

We love this because almost everyone in most computerised working environments today is using Microsoft Office 2016 and it gets students familiar with the tools they will need in the real world.

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office 365

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Office 365 free for students and teaching staff

 

This announcement comes with the new Microsoft 2016 software update and although Microsoft have offered this to students in the past (read our blog here), this new offer promises to be more accessible.

What is really convenient about this is the self-service portal. Students can now sign up and download the software themselves simply using their email address from their educational institution. It takes under 15 minutes to register and start using Office 365.

This offer is only available for personal home computers and mobile devices, not for department owned devices. For more information from Education Queensland, click here.

 

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For PC and Mac, visit portal.office.com , login using your school email address, click through to install and follow the onscreen process.

For instructions on how to get started, click one of the links below:

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