Friend or foe? Office 365 and BYOD
By Catherine McFarland • 29 May 2014
Office 365 is what Microsoft calls all your familiar Office applications, but hosted in the cloud. It’s good for Bringing Your Own Device (BYOD) for work, as you can access your office from anywhere, on any device and at any time. Security is addressed with encryption and intrusion monitoring. But what happens when it all goes wrong and you hit downtime or data loss?
Office 365 – a friend of BYOD?
Essentially, Office 365 has great advantages if you work on the go.
- It goes where you do: no matter where you are, your files, email, calendar, contacts, IM, online meetings and team sites go with you
- It works across all your devices - for example your tablet, laptop, iPhone or Android
- It’s fresh and familiar: the suite of Office apps are always up-to-date
- It’s secure: you data is protected against malware, spam, phishing attacks and other threats.
- It’s available 24/7 - with 24/7 support from Cloud Direct’s award-winning customer service teams.
- Exchange makes your email accessible on your own devices, using Outlook 2010 / 2007. There are no major firewall changes and no edge Exchange servers are required.
- Use SharePoint to share documents, libraries, lists or to make an intranet available. You can benefit from the advantages of mobility safely with access and security rules.
- With Lync, you can communicate from your own devices, connect, share desktops and hold online meetings.
Office 365 – a foe of BYOD?
If you’re considering moving to Office 365 to support your BYOD programme, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:
Customer service: will Microsoft provide the speed and quality of customer service support that you need?Say for example, you’re about to present at a client’s office and go to download the email with your presentation document on it when you realise your email is down. The obvious solution would be to call up Microsoft and ask them to fix it asap. But you haven’t paid for the top level of support, so you’re given a ticket and placed in a queue. Your important meeting is over long before your email is back up and running.
Make sure you have the level of support that suits your business requirements. For example, our award-winning customer service teams provide support for Office 365, which we offer 24/7, 365 days a week from our Bath HQ, here in the UK.
Data security & privacy: Are you comfortable that Microsoft will provide a reasonable level of security and privacy of your data in their cloud?If yours is a small to medium businesses, you’re likely to experience better security using Office 365 than you can (probably) afford on your own. But, if security is paramount to your business, make sure your data is always recoverable and compliant with legal and industrial regulations.
Data uptime: will Microsoft provide reasonable uptime and accessibility of your data?Microsoft guarantees data uptime of 99.9%, which may be fine for some BYOD-friendly organisations, however the impact of downtime can be severe - especially if you’re in a heavily regulated industry such as financial or legal services, healthcare, pharma, energy or government.
The reality is that with a 99.9% uptime guarantee, you’re agreeing that four hours of downtime a year is acceptable. Some groups have even suggested it should be called Office 360 instead of Office 365 “for five days’ downtime”.
We have addressed this with our offer of additional security for Office 365 that gives you 100% uptime. This means both productivity and legal requirements are addressed – you can keep working on the move, confident that you aren’t risking your business with a lower level of support.
Retrieving your data: if Microsoft stops offering one or more of the services, do you know how – or if - you can get your data back?Your data is critical to your business success. Make sure you find out what the process is in this scenario, and make sure you’re happy with it.
Business exposure: if you stop paying Microsoft, do you have a mechanism to access everything your business depends on?Don’t risk your intellectual property by getting caught out in a data grey zone. Make sure you know the answer and that your business is protected.
Your employees - your biggest BYOD risk
All that said, however, when it comes to BYOD, your service provider is not the most likely to be the cause of business disruption. Your biggest threats, in fact, are your own staff and associates.
A newly released BYOD report from technology analyst firm Gartner reveals that nearly a third of smartphone users who bring their own devices into the workplace have suffered a security issue and not told their boss. Only 15 per cent of respondents had signed any kind of BYOD usage agreement, and a worrying 59 per cent of employees are using their own devices in the workplace with no formal agreements or controls in place.
With the Information Commissioners Office threatening fines of up to half a million pounds for a serious breach of the Data Protection Act, a BYOD policy is a corporate must-have. Check out our blog: BYOD security risks: play devil-may-care and there’ll be hell to pay.
You can download our BYOD policy template here. You’re welcome to edit and brand the template according to your specific organisation’s requirements.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about our Office 365 packaged cloud service, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 0789 437.
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