The nature and beauty of Microsoft Office 365 is that it is cloud-based. There are no geographic boundaries – you can be anywhere with internet access and be virtually down the hall from your office.

And like the cloud-based service itself, support for Office 365 (or other plans such as Microsoft 365 Business) can happen from anywhere. As long as we have internet access, we can communicate with you and remediate your devices and services without having to spin our wheels – this is quite a ‘green’ business model.

Remote tools are plentiful these days, many of them available for free. As a rule, we try to maintain three different remote methods as three layers of backup for remote remediation. If one isn’t working, then another will. These little remote programs run in the background – or not – sometimes people prefer to start an ad hoc session.

And it isn’t only about remote control. Over the next few years, you’ll see that our primary support method will take its form in Microsoft Teams. Not only can we chat by text through Teams, but we can initiate an impromptu meeting with audio (and video as an option). And during such a meeting, you can share your desktop (circled icon above) on one monitor, two monitors, or you can share an application that you are running on your computer, such as Outlook or your line-of-business application.

With Microsoft Teams, there will be no reason to use a conventional telephone, cellphone, or even email, although both phone and email systems will be around for a long time – Skype for Business, the enterprise telephone system for Unified Communications, is now deprecated as a service and Microsoft Teams will become the default client for its new Intelligent Communications. Look for a not-too-distant announcement from us about Phone System and Calling Plan becoming our new voice solution as an integral piece of our Microsoft 365 tenant.

Due to our affiliation with Ingram Micro, a $6 Billion, global, Fortune 500 company based in California, we have over 700 engineers available to you when we can’t pick up the phone. During standard business hours and early evenings, Resolute IT will most likely answer your call, text, email or other method as frontline support for Office 365 helpdesk, but this 24/7 helpdesk acts as your second line of support.

 

In addition to on-demand response after your purchase, this same affiliation provides us with access to a Microsoft pre-sales engineer – that is, direct connections to employees of Microsoft that are embedded within the Ingram Micro organization. In effect, this gives us direct access to the creator of the office productivity software and services that you purchase, which enhances the overall support experience that we already provide. Informed decisions are critical to any company’s success. 

#Office365 was officially launched ‎on June 28, 2011. At the time, I was already (since 2008) working in the Microsoft cloud by subscribing to a Hosted Exchange account, which included Exchange and SharePoint. But as you can see, I jumped on board with the Office 365 platform about 6 months later (over 7 years ago). Back then, OneDrive was called SkyDrive with just 25 GB of storage space. 

When seeking Office 365 customer support, you want to find articulate, coherent and effective answers to your problems. Microsoft offers free telephone support; however, US-based English is usually not the first language of the technician. They might (or might not) be technically qualified to resolve your Outlook or OneDrive complaints, but the time and the patience required to resolve your helpdesk ticket sometimes feels like you’re beating your head against a wall. I know; I’ve been there myself.

And ironically, I nearly became one of those technicians. I was hired, went through a 2-month long onboarding process, and started training as a home-based Office 365 Concierge Ambassador, but the only internet access provided at my residence did not meet their security and reliability requirements as part of the employment contract. I’m back in business for myself and, quite frankly, happier to be here again.

Many have complimented me on my communication skills. They know that they’ll be able to hear me speak clearly and without so much technical jargon. They know how tenacious I am when a problem arises, knowing that I’ll see them through to a satisfactory result without frustration.

To put me on ‘retainer’, I have an annual helpdesk service for $250 per person. For companies with 5 or more end-users, then we’ll have to consider a managed services option that includes proactive efforts and cloud-to-cloud backup services in addition to the immediate helpdesk.

To open a ticket, I leave several doors open to convey your message: 

Microsoft 365 Business is the new way to get Office 365. It’s all the features of the Office 365 Business Premium plan, plus Advanced Security (including Windows 10 Pro upgrade) with Safe Links and Safe Attachments, plus Device Management using Intune to manage remote computers and devices (think remote wipe of a company-owned device).

The graphic above shows the left-hand, blue-highlighted column as a stack of 3rd-party services that a company might combine to create a desktop productivity solution, a comprehensive security solution, and a device management solution. As a sum of the whole 3rd-party stack, the company might very well spend over $100 per month per end-user.

If we were to consider all the various Microsoft offerings individually to accomplish the same, then the company would pay $33.50 per month per end-user.

But as a bundle of services called Microsoft 365 Business, the company can opt for the $20 plan per month per end-user.

I use Microsoft 365 Business myself. Prior to this, I paid the same amount for the Office 365 Enterprise E3 plan. But now I get all the added features for the same price. To switch from Office 365 E3 was a wash.

For those currently on the Office 365 Premium Business plan, you can realize a considerable improvement to your company’s security, data integrity and overall productivity for only $7.50 additional per month per end-user. From my point of view, just the addition of Safe Links and Safe Attachments as integral parts of Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection would make the investment worthwhile.

OneNote isn’t just a throw-all repository for all that you’ve clipped from the web or meeting notes that you took and forgot about. It can be a powerful system for storing your files where you can access them not just from their actual location in OneDrive, but these files can be accessed from anywhere that you put them within the OneNote hierarchy of:

Notebooks | Section Groups | Sections | Pages and Subpages

Let’s say you have a photo that you took while on vacation. The photo is of a unique menu found on a whiteboard at a Farmers Market that listed the ingredients, so you’d like to recreate the dish at home. You might create an album of your vacation experience within OneNote, but you also might want to add that menu to a collection of recipes that you keep within OneNote.

You might have a Notebook called Personal. Within that notebook is a Section Group called Vacations. As a Section within that Section Group is Sarasota. The Sarasota Section has a Page called Farmer’s Market. And under the Farmer’s Market Page is a Subpage containing the photo of the menu and you’ve entitled the Page as Menu Photo.

Personal | Travel | Sarasota | Farmer’s Market | Menu Photo

The same photo might want to be found under a Section for Recipes.

Personal | Health | Food | Recipes | Menu Photo

Either way, the original image document remains within your OneDrive repository, so that menu photo can be found by navigating through folders and then files within your locally cached files under File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).

And while still within OneNote, you don’t have to click through nested Subpages, Pages, or Sections for your file. The search functionality in OneNote is brilliantly fast, that is, if you use key search terms within the titles of your Pages.

Method: Use the Insert menu within the OneNote ribbon to choose a file, picture or PDF to insert into any given Page.

People let their email pile up. Some let it get to astronomical levels, which used to (still does in some cases) impact the performance of their local system. But it doesn’t matter anymore, that is, if you leverage all the free space provided by your Office 365 subscription.

By using In-Place Archiving and a Retention Policy, you can automate the process so that your primary mailbox never becomes unwieldy and your Archive mailbox never runs out of space.

NOTE: The In-Place Archive mailbox should not be confused with the default Archive *folder* within your primary mailbox, although these can work together as described later on.

The screenshot below shows my email account in ‘Outlook on the web’ – the web-based version of Outlook that reflects the contents of the Exchange mail server’s contents for this respective mailbox.

In my case, Archive1 below happens to refer to the default Archive *folder* within my primary mailbox in Outlook. When I click on the Archive  button (in Outlook desktop on the Mac), this easily processes mail from the Inbox folder to the Archive folder as a kind of temporary holding bin.

By right-clicking on a *folder* like Archive1 above, you can assign Messaging Records Management (MRM) policies, such as moving all items to the In-Place Archive after 30 days. In this case, I send the most inconsequential email messages to the Archive folder within my primary mailbox by clicking the Archive rather than the Delete button. But after 30 days, it automatically gets moved to the In-Line Archive mailbox, which expands automatically as space is needed.

Below we can how my Office 365/Exchange Online user account is split into three sections:

  1. Primary Mailbox
  2. In-Place Archive
  3. Recoverable items (topic of another conversation)

A little quick math shows that I have 270 GB of mailbox storage. And after 5 years (since 2014), I’ve only accumulated about 27 GB of email content or about 10% of total storage capacity. That is, until the In-Place Archive automatically kicks in and expands.

 


 

“Archiving in Office 365 (also called In-Place Archiving) provides users with additional mailbox storage space. After you turn on archive mailboxes, users can access and store messages in their archive mailboxes by using Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Web App. Users can also move or copy messages between their primary mailbox and their archive mailbox. They can also recover deleted items from the Recoverable Items folder in their archive mailbox by using the Recover Deleted Items tool.”

Last November, I answered a help-wanted email from a contractor that Microsoft hires to provide customer service for their Office 365 cloud services and software. The recruiter responded to my email and resumé with greater excitement than my own! We proceeded through a two-month-long hiring and subsequent onboarding process.
 
Right from the start, I was told that a wired internet connection was required, as well as a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps. I thought to myself, “That’s okay. I can use the Ethernet port on my mobile broadband router to run a cable directly into the Ethernet port on the computer that they would provide.” I went a step further and purchased a wireless router so that I could have a hard-wired solution for them, as well as wireless for my own personal devices.
 
And I took it yet another step further by ordering a new mobile broadband modem, one that promised greater speeds by the ability to lock onto specific cell towers. It arrived in a timely fashion and I proceeded to get it all set up. It worked, but then it didn’t – I could get slightly faster speeds, but it was an inconsistent connection.
 
During the first day of training, we were introduced to the employee manual, which stated explicitly, “mobile broadband is not acceptable”. Ugh. At first, I thought that maybe I shouldn’t mention anything. But overnight my wireless broadband internet service took a nose dive – I could barely get .10 Mbps let alone the required 10 Mbps. There was no way that I could bluff my way through such a condition. I sat down and wrote them a letter of resignation.
 
Because I was honest and upfront with them, they’ve designated my status as “Welcome to Return”, so all is not necessarily lost. But in the meantime, here I was stuck with having spent hundreds of dollars on equipment and I was still ‘dead in the water’ with almost no internet. I fiddled with settings, repositioned the device, rebooted, updated the firmware, fiddled, moved things around, added an antenna, removed the antenna…. Several days later, I now have stable, high-speed internet service! I’ve been getting 30-50 Mbps for the past 4 days straight. What a pleasure!
 
Of course, it was too late. The contractor had become aware of my unacceptable network configuration that violated our employment contract. My only direction forward was to resume my own businesses, dba Resolute IT for local work and Office 365 Tech Guy nationally. And I’m very glad to be back with renewed enthusiasm. But I was truly honored to be given the opportunity to work (indirectly) for the company that created the focus of my business – Microsoft Office 365.

If we have communicated and agreed upon the best Office 365 services plan for you going forward and the option is available below, then please choose the respective PURCHASE button. Otherwise, a customized invoice will be sent to you as it’s considered appropriate for the given scope of services to be provided. If we haven’t spoken yet, then please either contact us by the form below, email, text, or schedulea free 15-30 minute meeting to initiate a preliminary plan.

Annual HelpDesk – $250 Per Person Per Year

  • One Year of Remote-Only Technical Support:
    • One license for one user and *all* of their devices.
    • On-demand support throughout the year.
    • Limited to five support incidents (tickets) per month per organization.
      • Each ticket or incident not to exceed any of the following:
        • 1 phone call
        • 10 email replies
        • 10 chat or text sessions
          • Microsoft Teams
          • Microsoft Skype
          • Facebook Messenger
          • Mobile text
    • Covers support for Windows 10, MacOS, iOS, Android, all Office 365 plans (software and services), and Complete Annual Cloud Backup.
    • Support of Line of Business (LOB) applications requires Managed IT Services agreement.
    • Any services provided beyond this scope will be billed at Professional Services rate.
    • Requires automatic payments via credit card billed in advance of services.
    • Maximum 5 seats per organization.
    • Ongoing training.

Monthly HelpDesk – $30 Per Person Per Month (+ $120 First Hour)

  • One Month of Remote-Only Technical Support:
    • One license for one user and *all* of their devices
    • On-demand support throughout the one-month term.
    • Limited to five support incidents (tickets) per month per organization.
      • Each ticket or incident not to exceed any of the following:
        • 1 phone call
        • 10 email replies
        • 10 chat or text sessions
          • Microsoft Teams
          • Microsoft Skype
          • Facebook Messenger
          • Mobile text
    • Covers Windows 10, MacOS, iOS, Android, all Office 365 plans (software and services), and cloud-to-cloud backup offered by RIT.
    • Support of Line of Business (LOB) applications requires Managed IT Services agreement.
    • Any services provided beyond this scope will be billed at Professional Services rate.
    • Requires automatic payments via credit card billed in advance of service, plus:
      • First hour billed at the hourly rate for Professional Services.
    • Maximum 5 seats per organization.
    • Ongoing training.

Professional Services – $120 Per Hour Pre-Paid

  • Hourly Remediation and Professional Consulting Services:
    • Per request and approved proposal.
    • Minimum one hour required to initiate Monthly HelpDesk.
    • Same rate for remote and onsite.
      • Minimum 1 hour for remote control.
      • Minimum 4 hours for on-site visit.

Complete Cloud Backup – $100 Per Seat Per Year

  • One User License:
    • 1 year of cloud-to-cloud, unlimited backup with lightning-fast search and one-click restore of Office 365 data:
      • SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange, Office 365 Groups, and Microsoft Teams.
        • Microsoft Teams conversations, calendar, files, and notebook.
    • Six daily snapshots.

Managed IT Services – $150 Per Person Per Month

  • All-inclusive and proactive IT services (per user per month):
    • Remote and onsite calls included.
    • Vendor liaison and purchasing agent roles.
    • Network documentation.
    • Network health reporting.
    • Customer support ticketing portal and knowledge base.
    • Security hardening with best practices.
    • Complete Annual Cloud Backup included.
    • One license for one user and *all* of their devices to enjoy on-demand support throughout the year.
    • Unlimited support incidents (tickets) per month.
    • Covers Windows 10 Pro, MacOS, iOS, Android, all Office 365 plans (software and services), and cloud-to-cloud backup offered by RIT.
    • Support of Line of Business (LOB) applications included.
      • Must have current maintenance or service plan
      • Must have proper & complete licensing for every user
    • Infrastructure ramp-up project required prior to start of agreement.
      • Computers and servers fully updated and running optimally
      • Printers under service plan
      • Mobile devices (phones and tablets) updated to recent model and current OS
        • Only iOS and Android
      • Internet service(s)
        • Two for failover and load-balancing
      • Local Area Network (wired and secured wireless)
        • Gigabit certification
        • Clean and orderly communications closet
        • Separate guest WiFi network
      • Billed as an hourly project under Professional Services
    • Ongoing training & coaching.

Documents and Mailbox Migration – $250 Per Person One-Time Fee

  • One Seat – covers all of the following:
    • Automatically discover email environment and configure a migration plan that’s right for you.
    • Identify the impact of migrating your file server to SharePoint Online with Office 365.
    • Perform identity mapping by scanning SharePoint, Active Directory, and Azure Active Directory.
    • Monitor progress and output files into the Logs directory showing the summary and more detailed insights into the scenarios that could be impacted by migration.
    • Data automatically synced before, during and after migration cutover.
    • Full fidelity sync technology ensures no data loss on final data sync post-cutover.
    • Account provisioning and DNS updates take place during Migration Sync.
    • Desktop readiness and remediation:
      • Outlook configured to work with Office 365.
      • Local data moved as required.
      • User’s previous Outlook experience recreated as closely as possible post-migration.
    • Seat defined:
      • For billing purposes, any migrating top-level Public Folder or Mailbox (Individual, Shared, or Resource Room/Equipment) is considered a seat.

 

I used to recommend Office 365 Enterprise E3 as the best bang for the 20 bucks within the realm of Microsoft’s Office 365 offerings. But when Microsoft 365 Business was launched at the same $20 mark in August of 2017, then there was a new kid on the block – and this one had Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection.

 

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) adds important layers to the security stack, such as ATP Safe Links and ATP Safe Attachments. And to round out the trilogy, there’s ATP for SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams.

 

Just to test drive this latter member of the trio, I downloaded a sample virus file and then uploaded that test malware to my OneDrive file repository. I opened the Office portal and navigated to the supposedly-infected file to give it a click. Because I’ve configured an alert for just such a problem, I instantly received an urgent notification:

 

office 365 advanced threat protection

 

Fortunately, this was a harmless test file. But if it were the real thing, then we would take immediate measures.

 

And the file is locked down:

So as much as we have Exchange Online Protection for email scanning and filtering, I’m more than pleased to know that we have built-in security when it comes to Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business.