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Managed services for Microsoft 365: A guide to optimizing their use

The adoption of managed services in Microsoft 365 is one of the alternatives for companies seeking to digitalize their operations through a comprehensive cloud solution.

In this sense, more businesses are integrating cloud solutions to increase productivity and generate competitive advantages by leveraging digital technologies. Microsoft 365 -formerly called Office 365- is a business tool created by one of the leading companies in the tech industry.

However, some organizations may find it difficult to migrate their processes and databases to the cloud, to integrate this tool into their existing digital infrastructure or to adapt it to their staff and work mode.

That is where Microsoft 365 managed services come in, helping companies get the most out of this powerful tool. If you want to learn more about it, read on! In this article, we'll tell you:

  •   Why companies use Microsoft 365;
  •   How the cloud is transforming business paradigms;
  •   How managed services work in Microsoft 365;

·    And what advantages they can bring to your business.

Microsoft 365 use among SMBs and the enterprise markets

Before we go into detail about managed services, let us first look at what Microsoft 365 is and how it can benefit your business.

In essence, Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that falls into the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) category. It is one of the most important hybrid cloud solutions on the market.

This service includes different applications, cloud solutions, and security optimizations that adapt to organizations regardless of their size or industry.

Thus, Microsoft 365 allows companies to integrate a wide variety of digital tools into their operations to enhance productivity and collaboration in work teams and optimize information security.

Such is the importance of this tool today that, in 2020 alone, 70% of the companies listed in the Fortune 500 started using it. And if we consider only Microsoft Teams -one of the applications included in 365-, the percentage of companies on that list that use it reaches 91%.

What does Microsoft 365 include?

Microsoft offers different plans specifically for businesses based on their size and needs. Depending on the subscription plan you choose, Microsoft 365 may include, among others, the following services:

  • Word;
  • Excel;
  • PowerPoint;
  • Microsoft Teams;
  • Outlook;
  • One Drive;
  • SharePoint;
  • Exchange;
  • Among others.

Cloud transition on the shoulders of Microsoft 365

Migration to the cloud and the adoption of cloud-first strategies will soon cease to be an alternative and become a necessity in many organizations. In fact, according to a report by Gartner, by 2025 almost all companies will run under the cloud-first logic, and investments in the cloud will exceed all those not linked to this technology.

In addition, the consulting firm researched the role that the cloud plays today. According to the consulted CEOs' answers, this tooling is a disruptor technology and enabler of new capabilities.

On the other hand, considering the rise of remote work and hybrid modalities that mix home office with the traditional office, today it is essential to have tools such as Microsoft Teams, One Drive, or SharePoint (all included in the Microsoft 365 services) since they allow working from anywhere and collaborating remotely.

Within this new paradigm, the solution created by Microsoft managed to position itself as a true creator of value within companies. Such is the case that, during 2021, Microsoft's profits increased by 12% due to the demand for Microsoft 365.

Why is the cloud so important for businesses? We already expected some of the benefits that migrating to the cloud means for them, but, in summary, we can mention the four keys that explain the exponential increase in migration to the cloud:

Cost Reduction: Cloud computing makes it possible to reduce operational and hardware costs, such as those related to data storage.

Time Savings: Having a centralized database in the cloud makes it possible to access valuable information in a matter of seconds from anywhere.

Increased Security: Cloud service providers are constantly updating their security measures and protocols to prevent and be prepared for possible threats. In turn, backups of services such as Microsoft 365 make it possible to recover information in case of any data loss.

Collaborative Work: The cloud is essential to increase the productivity of work teams, allowing them to collaborate remotely from any place, device, and operating system.

Creating value with integrated services

Adopting a comprehensive tool that enables the use of applications and solutions in the cloud is ideal for businesses looking to enter the path of digital transformation.

Likewise, those companies that are already digitized, but need to optimize their technology infrastructure, data management, or remote work mode, can benefit from managed services in Microsoft 365.

On the other hand, this type of management allows organizations to be more secure against potential cyber-attacks and other cybersecurity incidents.

Now that you know the importance of Microsoft 365 and cloud solutions to grow your business, we will explain in detail what Microsoft 365 managed services consist of and why it is an ideal possibility to optimize the use of this tool.

What types of managed services are available for Microsoft 365?

There are different options available in the market for managed services in Microsoft 365 that vary depending on the service provider and the type of license purchased by the company.

In that sense, the idea is to opt for Microsoft Gold Certified partners, as these are companies with the highest standards within Microsoft's partnership program.

Although Microsoft 365 managed services plans may seem similar, the truth is that each provider tends to specialize in strategic areas.

Thus, some services are oriented to Cybersecurity, while others may prioritize data migration to Microsoft applications or advice linked to information storage.

Likewise, plans such as those of ne Digital (which we will talk about in detail later) seek to offer comprehensive solutions to meet all the needs of the organizations that choose them.

Considering your company's current situation, needs, and goals, managed services in Microsoft 365 can include:

  • Ongoing technical support,
  • Cloud services and threat monitoring;
  • Data migration;
  • Priority contact with Microsoft's team;
  • Staff training;
  • As well as help in the configuration of tools and cloud solutions.

Microsoft 365 license types

To a significant extent, the managed services will depend on the license chosen by the company. As such, when choosing a solution, one of the key factors to choose is the type of license you will use for your company.

Although the service provider can advise you on how to choose the right license according to the size of your organization, it is good to be aware of the different offers provided by Microsoft, among the best SKU's available there are:

  • Business Premium: Ideal for small and medium-sized businesses that need secure, remote work solutions as well as advanced cyber-threat protection and device management included.
  • Enterprise E3: Meets all the requirements for midsize companies looking to incorporate the best productivity applications, increasing security and compliance capabilities for all internal processes.
  • Enterprise E5: It is ideal for those companies that want to obtain the best productivity applications, advanced Cyber security, as well as compliance, and advanced analytics capabilities.

In short, when contacting a service provider, it is important to analyze the priority needs of your organization, your plans for the future, as well as what your IT capabilities are, and in which relevant areas you will need assistance.

To clear up any doubts, in the next section we will look in more detail at exactly how managed services work in Microsoft 365 and what are the main benefits they can bring to your organization.

 How do these services work?

Getting the right license to implement Microsoft 365 in your company is just the first step to taking full advantage of the functionalities of this tool, saving costs and increasing ROI.

In that sense, managed services allow you to outsource the administration of Microsoft solutions to another company to implement it safely and efficiently, allowing you to overcome the critical challenges posed by this technology and leverage its main benefits.

Thus, managed services in Microsoft 365 are ideal for organizations that do not have a qualified IT department, or the time needed to manage complex cloud infrastructures.

In addition, in many instances, migrating resources to the cloud and Office applications may require the assistance of a Microsoft partner with the experience and ability to do so.

So, if your business acquires these services, do you lose control of your resources? Of course not! Both Microsoft and managed service providers guarantee a high level of security and privacy for all your company's data.

What is included in a managed services contract?

These services are characterized by their flexibility, allowing companies to choose a specific plan that suits their goals, technology infrastructure, and IT capabilities.

 Microsoft 365 usually consists of a monthly price that covers all the services required by the customer. In addition to management and monitoring (of both Office applications and Microsoft cloud solutions) these requirements may include:

  • Professional consulting and support.
  • Priority escalation of problems and incidents to Microsoft.
  • Helpdesk services.
  • Application maintenance.
  • Data migration to the cloud.
  • Advice for strategic IT optimizations.
  • Adoption of advanced cybersecurity protocols.

Tailor-made plans

As we have seen, one of the advantages of managed services for businesses is the possibility of selecting a plan according to their capabilities, needs, and goals.

This not only implies being able to select those applications and services to manage (such as cloud storage or internal Email) but also to make a diagnosis of the current infrastructure to optimize resources and save costs on licenses.

Therefore, if you decide to migrate to Microsoft 365, it is essential that you review the resources you currently use in your business and consider those that you are going to incorporate in the future.

Another positive aspect of managed services in Microsoft 365 is that they can help you diagnose the technological capabilities in your company. They also guarantee:

  • The secure implementation of the service.
  • The availability of all resources.
  • Optimization of performance.
  • Ensuring that all Microsoft 365 projects are executed under a single vision.
  • Transforming critical IT budgets from CAPEX to OPEX.
  • Discovering the license level that each user in your company needs.
  • Preventing information leaks.
  • Encrypting organizational data in-transit or at-rest.

In short, Microsoft 365 managed services find their strength in the benefits they bring when it comes to getting the most out of this tool.

Service providers, through customized plans, are responsible for facilitating the implementation, migration, protection, and maintenance of the applications and solutions adopted.

Having seen what managed services are and how they work, in the following section we will discuss in more detail the main advantages they can bring to your business.

Advantages of managed services for Microsoft 365

By now, you know what the benefits of Microsoft 365 are, but what is the differential value of managed services? Let us see all its advantages!

Reduce risks

As Microsoft partners, service providers can intermediate between the company and your business, speeding up the resolution of technical problems.

In addition to this, monitoring tools even make it possible to anticipate eventualities, saving time and costs.

Managed services also include advanced cybersecurity measures that help protect the integrity and privacy of your company's digital resources, as well as those of your customers and staff.

In short, they allow you to be safer against possible threats, data loss, or theft of information.

Ensure you choose the right license

As mentioned above, there are several licensing options to consider. Working with a trusted managed service provider will help you determine the ideal license type and counts for your organization.

Over time, your business may grow, and your needs and goals may change. In that case, the provider can also guide you in defining which licenses are best suited to the new situation.

Increase efficiency

As with any technology in the business environment, it is not enough buy it. Instead, it is necessary to train personnel, integrate the tool into internal processes and monitor its impact on productivity.

In this regard, in many cases, the IT area of companies is not trained or must prioritize other tasks beyond the maintenance of Microsoft cloud solutions.

For this reason, managed service providers analyze the state of the Microsoft 365 platforms in search of improvement possibilities, making your business take advantage of this tool and increasing its ROI. Accordingly, these services bring value to your business.

Reduce costs

Hiring specialized IT staff and keeping you informed about updates and new developments that Microsoft introduces in the cloud can (in addition to overloading the IT department with tasks) be an excessive expense for your company.

On the other hand, managed services solve all the technical aspects of the implementation, configuration, and maintenance of the platform, from the allocation of licenses to the creation of users, data synchronization, and collaborative work tools.

Thus, it is possible to reduce costs related to infrastructure, resource consumption, license purchases (avoiding unnecessary license fees), and personnel hiring.

Facilitate data migration

Digitizing a business, migrating to the cloud, or using a new platform is not easy. That is why Microsoft 365 managed service providers take care of migrating all data and digital resources in a secure and orderly fashion.

In addition, after migrating, it is essential to implement all Microsoft Cybersecurity features, which requires the ability of a trusted provider that can monitor and configure the tool after migrating to the cloud.

Provide monitoring and support

The managed service provider is also responsible for monitoring threats, reviewing security updates, and providing assistance in case of any event.

In short, another advantage of these services is that they allow you to outsource security, maintenance, and diagnostic tasks, saving time and resources.

Get to know ne Digital's offer!

At ne Digital we offer various managed service plans for Microsoft 365 that provide companies the ability to take full advantage of the platform's features and integrate them to fulfill their goals and meet their needs.

We specialize in Cybersecurity and modern work productivity architectures. As such, we align all our M365 efforts with the NIST Cybersecurity framework.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we have a team of experts ready to help organizations large and small overcome IT challenges and leverage the benefits of Microsoft 365.

Our Managed Service plans:

  • Meet information security and protection standards, in accordance with compliance regulations.
  • Ensure access to all users regardless of the location or device they use.
  • Implement the Zero Trust security model required by new remote work and home office operation modes.

We optimize the use of Microsoft packages and enable your business:

  • Overcome Internal IT Challenges.
  • Eliminate knowledge barriers linked to the cloud.
  • Save costs aimed at optimizing your investment in Microsoft 365.
  • Have a secure work environment for all your staff, regardless of their physical location.
  • Receive direct access to Microsoft technical support and development teams.
  • Have specialized technical support in security and productivity for Microsoft 365.

In addition, ne Digital plans help your company detect which Microsoft 365 features and capabilities are not being leveraged and the best ways to unlock the full productivity potential through included applications and services.

On the other hand, our integrated services help you optimize platform usage and relevant configurations to achieve maximum use of your cloud computing services.

We also make sure to supply relevant insights to improve your internal processes by analyzing all the information that emerges from the integration of Microsoft 365 into your business.

 Excellent!

At this point, you already know what Microsoft 365 integrated services consist of and what are the benefits in terms of cybersecurity, productivity, and resource optimization that such  plans can provide to your company.

As discussed, the applications and services included in Microsoft 365 make it a comprehensive cloud solution that enhances collaborative work, as well as information security and privacy.

That said, managed services such as those from ne Digital get the most out of the Microsoft platform, adapting the tool to the particularities of each business and providing support and advanced security measures.

Are you ready to take advantage of all the benefits of managed services and take your business to the next level? Talk to our experts now!

Topics: Microsoft 365