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Microsoft Office 365 VS Microsoft Azure – What’s the Difference?

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In the past few years, products for business like Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure have gotten a lot of attention, and they’re definitively being used by more companies of all sizes each year. If you’re not in the information technology (IT) field, you may not really know what these products are and what they can do for your company. This week’s blog discusses some of the unique characteristics and business options of both Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, but if you want to know more specifically about how these products and services can improve your business, it’s time to talk to the IT ArchiTeks team.  Contact us to learn more about our IT support and consulting options. Whether you’re struggling to migrate your business networks to the cloud or you’re unhappy with performance of your costly business software suites, we can help you find cost-effective solutions that work for you.

Microsoft Office 365

If you’ve ever worked in an office, you have probably used the Microsoft Office Suite. These are your daily-use products like Word, Excel, and Power Point. In the past, you may have purchased physical disks that contained individually licensed software to be used on one or a few devices. More recently, you likely updated to the downloaded version of the software for each of your business computers, and now, you’re hearing some rumblings about the benefits of switching to Microsoft Office 365. In addition to allowing for easy download online from any device, Microsoft Office 365 gives your employees the ability to access their documents, apps, and information from up to five devices. Notice we said your employees have this ability. Rather than downloading and maintaining a license, Microsoft Office 365 allows you to establish individual accounts for users. Once they’re set up, your employees can download updates, customize their app preferences, and access the same Microsoft products on any computer or mobile device. It’s great news for increased productivity with diminished headaches for your IT manager, and these products are even better for companies that no longer have a traditional brick and mortar business since any user has access to the service center and troubleshooting options.

Check out our July blog on the benefits of migrating to Office 365

Microsoft Azure

If Microsoft Office 365 gave your business the flexibility to allow employees access to business software on the go and when working remotely, imagine if they could access ALL of your business network offsite. That’s the power of Microsoft Azure. It’s not one product or software. Instead, it’s a fully customizable, cloud-based platform and IT infrastructure tool. That sounds complicate, and it can be. Put simply, Microsoft Azure is a flexible and customizable infrastructure that can be used for safe and redundant data storage, easy communication and collaboration between employees, and better access for businesses who have remote employees around the globe. Because it is so easily customized, Microsoft Azure can be extremely beneficial for your business, but all of the moving pieces and flexible components can be a little overwhelming if you don’t have an IT background. Don’t forget IT ArchiTeks has team members who can help translate all the technical specs and IT lingo into great products that work for your business.

Check out our July blog on the benefits of migrating to Microsoft Azure

Know Your Service Acronyms – SaaS, IaaS & PaaS

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So – what is the difference between the two Microsoft products? Like so many things in the world of IT, it all comes down to knowing your acronyms. Microsoft 365 is an SaaS product. Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform that combines elements of SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS products. We’ve broken down the definitions and descriptions of each of these for you here:

SaaS – Software as a Service

You may also hear this referred to as on demand software. Essentially, software as a service (SaaS) is a distribution model for software licensing. It allows for greater flexibility and improved function as the software is constantly updated and perfected by the providers of the program. This means you pay a monthly fee that includes the software itself as well as regular updates and improvements. In the case of Microsoft Office 365, your employees will also have access to limited IT support if they experience issues with software. Additionally, Microsoft offers user-centered tutorials and help videos and articles, so your employees can easily learn new functions of the software and troubleshoot issues from anywhere.

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS) gets a little more technical. We recommend thinking about your current computing, storage, and networking tools. Does your office have an onsite room filled with servers and/or an offsite server? These can be bulky, costly to maintain, and if you don’t have offsite backups, you may find yourself losing business if the unforeseen happens and your server room is compromised. Rather than relying on a set of physical infrastructure components (like servers) that you need to maintain, replicate to ensure redundancy, and increase as necessary to support your business, a cloud-based IaaS product gives you the ability to rent just the space and infrastructure support you need. This makes IaaS products great options for businesses that are growing fast.

PaaS – Platform as a Service

Microsoft apps on computer screen

Perhaps the most complex in concept, Platform as a Service (PaaS) tools offer your business the ability to develop, customize, and maintain computer applications without first needing to have a degree in computer science! Some PaaS products that are commonly created by businesses include shared calendars/task management systems. Almost every business needs these applications, and PaaS products allow you to make one that is customized to your needs without building a new product from the ground up. There are many different uses for the PaaS functions within Microsoft Azure if you’re able to take the time to explore all of the capabilities. The IT ArchiTeks team can also help you review and explore these solutions and how they can improve your business.

Still Not Sure Which is Right for You? We’re Here to Help!

If you still don’t feel 100% ready to commit to one of Microsoft’s new cloud-based office suites, it might be time to give IT ArchiTeks a call to schedule a consultation. Our team of experts can translate the technical jargon and help you understand how these resources will benefit your business.

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