What is Microsoft 365?

Aug 15, 2023 | Explainers

« Explainers | What is Microsoft 365?

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Microsoft 365, previously known as Office 365, is a subscription-based suite of cloud-based productivity tools and services offered by Microsoft. The service combines traditional Office applications with modern, collaborative cloud-based tools. Here’s a quick rundown of its features:

  1. Applications: Includes cloud versions of traditional Microsoft Office apps such as:
    • Word: A word processing application.
    • Excel: A spreadsheet application.
    • PowerPoint: A presentation application.
    • Outlook: Email and calendar application.
    • OneNote: Note-taking application.
  2. Cloud Services:
    • OneDrive: Personal cloud storage service. Each subscriber can get a significant amount of storage to store and share documents, photos, and other files.
    • SharePoint: A web-based collaboration platform suitable for intranets and team sites.
    • Teams: A communication and collaboration platform that combines chat, video conferencing, file storage, and application integration.
    • Exchange Online: Hosted email service with calendaring.
  3. Security & Compliance:
    • Microsoft 365 provides enterprise-level security features, ensuring data protection and compliance tools.
    • Advanced Threat Protection, Information Protection, and other services offer enhanced security measures.
  4. Device Management:
    • With Microsoft Intune and other integrated tools, organizations can manage and secure their devices.
  5. Other Applications and Services: Depending on the subscription tier, users might have access to other applications such as:
    • Publisher: A desktop publishing application (PC only).
    • Access: A database management system (PC only).
    • Power BI: A business analytics tool.
    • Planner: A task and teamwork planner.
    • Yammer: A corporate social network.
    • Power Automate: A service that helps automate workflows between applications and services.
    • Power Apps: A platform for building custom business apps.
    • Stream: A video-sharing service for business.
  6. Updates & Upgrades:
    • One of the significant benefits of Microsoft 365 is that it provides regular updates and upgrades, ensuring that users always have the latest features, security patches, and improvements.
  7. Subscription-based Model:
    • Microsoft 365 operates on a subscription model, meaning users pay a monthly or yearly fee to access the services. This is in contrast to the older method of purchasing standalone Office software with a one-time fee.
    • There are various subscription plans tailored to individual users, small and medium businesses, large enterprises, and educational institutions.
  8. Cross-Platform and Multi-Device:
    • Microsoft 365 is available on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and the web. Depending on the subscription, a user can install and use Office apps on multiple devices.

Microsoft 365 is designed to be a comprehensive solution for individuals and organizations to work and collaborate in the modern digital age.

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