#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.
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.
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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:
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.
Too many equate Office 365 with the old Office suite of software and that they now have to pay for it on a constant basis. It is so much more than desktop software – it’s a bundle of software and services meant to enable productivity anywhere and at any time.
I’m going to assume that you already know about the legacy apps, such as Outlook, Word, and Excel. But do you use OneNote, OneDrive, Planner, To-Do, Teams or SharePoint? What about Bookings, Flow, Power BI, or Forms?
Of these that I’ve listed above, the most productivity might be realized by the adoption of just two: OneNote and Microsoft Teams. And these two apps go hand-in-hand as OneNote can reside within Teams as an integrated app within one of the navigational tabs found across the top of the Teams app.
Other Team members can co-author the OneNote Notebook – that is, they can edit the same content at the same time, no matter whether they’re working from the same office space or not. And if they wish to communicate in regard to the content, then members can instantly engage in a one-to-one or one-to-many chat. And that chat can be converted to an audio or audio/video meeting at any time.
In truth, OneDrive and SharePoint can be considered part of this mix because when a person shares a document in Microsoft Teams, that document is shared with another Team member from the sharing member’s OneDrive location. And when that document is published to the Files tab in Microsoft Teams, then that file becomes a common item in the document library of the Team in SharePoint. OneNote notebooks are also stored in OneDrive.
Microsoft Teams is part of a paradigm shift in the way that we think about online collaboration. The old method of emailing documents as an attachment is wrong on many fronts and warrants another conversation. The modern workplace is mobile and it’s dynamic. And in terms of productivity, there is no comparison to the ability to collaborate in real time from anywhere as we can do in Microsoft Teams.
For many years, we’ve learned to save files to folders. And within folders, we’ve created subfolders as yet another location to store files. And then you might create a folder within that subfolder… The result can lead to a complicated collection of nested folders with files stored in disparate locations.
Then along came SharePoint where we learned a new way to sort documents – with metadata. Metadata hasn’t gone away at all, but I only see its best value when considering larger document libraries.
Now we have Microsoft Teams and its filing system! Because each channel within Teams has an associated folder in the Team’s SharePoint document library, we’re starting to consider yet another way of looking at file management. Perhaps we can think of a Teams channel as a folder?
The General folder for the General channel is seen from the RIT Finance SharePoint team site.
If we were to add a new channel to a team, then a new folder by that name would appear in addition to the General folder.
But now we have to talk about sharing files within Teams.
When a file is shared with a colleague while in a private chat, then the file is stored within the OneDrive repository belonging to the person who shared the file. In truth, OneDrive is actually a hidden SharePoint library, but that’s fodder for another conversation.
But when you share a file while in a channel’s group conversation, then the file becomes stored within the respective channel’s Files tab, or rather, the channel’s folder within the Team’s SharePoint document library.
If you’ve forgotten which channel’s folder contains the file you’re looking for, then you can go to the Files button in the left-hand rail to view and scroll through the collective list of files belonging to all teams and channels. Or you can search all files across all Teams’ channels from the Command bar at the top-center. This search tool is available at all times wherever you are within the Teams app. You can also sort using metadata within the Files view by clicking the column labels, such as Type, Name, Modified, and Location.
“Currently, according to Microsoft, more than half of all commercial (business) Office users are using Office 365 rather than standalone/perpetual Office. But during some point in the company’s fiscal 2019 (which kicks off on July 1, 2018), Microsoft is expecting two-thirds of its business Office customers will be using Office 365.“ – Mary Jo Foley (10/10/2017)
Okay, so let’s just say that we remain just past the halfway point. Somewhere else I picked up another tidbit from Redmond VP, Brad Anderson, who told of Microsoft billing for more than 120 million Office 365 licenses (users) per month. Doing the math, when it hits the 2/3 mark, then there will be an additional 40 million people using Office 365 during this fiscal year topping out at 160 million licensed users per month.
Dollar amounts and corporate earnings aside, this is a massive demographic, especially in consideration of all the servers that will be retired, all the documents that will be uploaded, and all 40 million email accounts along with each account’s respective messages, contacts, calendars and tasks that will migrated from on-premise machines to data centers.
But with the new cloud platform brings new ways of getting things done. You’ll no longer save to the S:\ (shared) drive; instead you’ll save to a SharePoint library, that is, if you’re saving to a common repository of shared documents. Your own documents – those that you’re still getting ready to publish for the rest to view and modify – will be saved to your respective OneDrive, which is actually a hidden SharePoint document library itself.
And now that your original files sit in the cloud, they can be shared with a link, not by attachment to an email. When they’re shared in this manner, then multiple users can co-author the document simultaneously. No more passing around various versions of the same file. The real file gets modified right in front of you as you share it with colleagues.
Not much will change with email, except that you’ll likely spend less time in Outlook. Instead, you’ll be chatting away in Microsoft Teams, either by text in private or within a group chat scenario, perhaps while several are co-authoring a document and tossing ideas back and forth. And if the conversation dictates a meeting, then that can happen in an ad hoc private manner with up to 20 attendees or later on as a scheduled meeting. And the scheduled meeting can be audio only, or it can be a video meeting with up to 250 attendees.
“There is also an option for recordings to have automatic transcription, so that users can play back meeting recordings with closed captions and search for important discussion items in the transcript.” – Microsoft
And more than ever, we will work from anywhere. Teams meetings, for example, can be attended using your mobile device.
40 million more Office 365 users – that’s equivalent to the entire population of California.
We’re very careful about choosing our affiliations. Only the highest quality vendors become part of our offerings.
A case in point would be AppRiver, our Microsoft licensing provider for Office 365 and associated services. AppRiver not only provides the software licensing, but they support the product with their award-winning ‘Phenomenal Care’ helpdesk solution, as well.
When you call into AppRiver, they answer within 3 rings and present themselves in a friendly, polite and clear manner.
This is your second line of support – your first call would be to our primary helpdesk line, but we can scale according to demand by leveraging AppRiver as an option.
During periods in our human history, some believed that the Earth was flat. And evidently, some still do! But as Pythagoras and others have proved otherwise, we have experienced a paradigm shift in how we perceive our world. We’ve reluctantly let go of long-held myths and adopted a new mode of thought.
In 1992, a group of about 100 scientists sent the first email attachment. Some were aghast, exclaiming what an obscene waste of bandwidth it was. Twenty-six years later, we think nothing of sending a massive file attached to an Outlook message.
But aside from file size and bandwidth concerns, we should consider other worries today. As we’ve adopted email as the primary collaboration vehicle, we continue to swap versions of files back and forth creating dozens, perhaps hundreds, of versions of the file with most iterations slightly different than the other. And of course, we have to find the corresponding message buried within our Inbox and then open that attached file to know how they differ, which is a blatant waste of time and productivity.
Now comes along came SharePoint. And OneDrive, too, which is actually a hidden SharePoint library. We can now share a link to a file as it remains in its place. The single file resides in its single location, yet it lives a dynamically unique life. When a link is used to access that file, we will open and view the most current version, sometimes so current that we are viewing a colleague co-author that document in real time right there on the computer screen.
This real-time scenario and unique document sharing is never more evident than when collaborating within Microsoft Teams. If we’ve shared a file while in a 1-to-1 Teams chat, then that file resides within the OneDrive document library of the person that shared the file. If we share a file to a Team or rather to a Teams’ Channel, then the file resides within the SharePoint document library and the sub-folder that corresponds to that particular Channel.
But when an Office document is opened while in Microsoft Teams, the document appears right there within the Teams environment. We can chat with co-workers in the right-hand rail alongside the document. And we can create an impromptu meeting to discuss edits without ever leaving the Teams interface.
Aside from the mechanics of what goes where within SharePoint, files need to remain in their designated online location and not be copied as disparate versions within various emails as attachments. Also, when a file is stored in this manner, then a history of the file remains available – if needs must, then you can revert to a previous iteration.
We have to step outside of our box and look at collaboration from a new perspective. Just because we did it one way for so many years does not make it right today.
- Email, Contacts, Calendars, Files, Phones are all in the Microsoft cloud:
- Outlook Email, Contacts and Calendar items are never lost and always available, no matter what type of Internet-connected device
- OneDrive and SharePoint files are accessible and secure using Delve to find them
- As Skype transitions entirely into the Teams space, your computer and headset become a phone, as well as the Teams mobile app (you can still connect your desktop IP phone to the Microsoft cloud-based IP PBX (Phone System)
2. Each user has a laptop with a built-in video camera (think Microsoft Teams calls and meetings):
- Whether connected to WiFi in the corporate office or WiFi in the home office, you can attend company meetings from your chosen comfort zone
- Collaborate and co-author OneDrive or SharePoint documents in real time with team members or external guests
- Make phone calls and meet one-on-one with colleagues
3. Security is authenticated via the web with Azure AD and the Microsoft Graph:
- Gone are the days of a hard perimeter at the office – venture into the world and still remain connected to company data without fear of loss or intrusion
4. You have absolute ownership of your data:
- Not even Microsoft has access unless express permission granted
- Option to extract data and take it with you even after your contract ends
- Always encrypted data at rest and while in motion
5. Your devices are all compliant, connected, monitored and administered with Microsoft Intune as part of Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS):
- Intune helps you manage and secure devices, applications, and data
- Azure AD Premium helps you provide employees with secure access and single sign-on to thousands of SaaS apps and almost all on-premises web apps
- Azure Information Protection helps you keep email, documents, and sensitive data protected and secure anywhere, even when shared outside your organization
What you will NOT have in this perfect world:
- Mapped Drives
- On-premise Servers
- Thumb Drives
- Costly Network Upgrades
- Unwanted Down Time