The idea of hosting applications and data in “The Cloud” predates Microsoft’s release of Office 365 back in 2011.  However, one could argue that Office 365 helped usher in Cloud services to mainstream business.  Now, more than ever, many companies are hosting their data, applications, and services in Cloud services such as Office 365.

Should all businesses move their data to Office 365? Microsoft offers a great many applications and services that many organizations have been quick to adopt.  So, for some businesses and organizations, the answer to that question may not be a simple yes.  However, there are a few reasons to approach adoption of Office 365 with care, but that does not mean you should stay away!

For some businesses, their data may simply be too confidential or sensitive to place in the cloud. Others may have too great an investment in on-premises infrastructure to move wholesale to Office 365.  Or perhaps an all-in approach to Office 365 deployment appears to be too much to achieve in a single phase.  If any of these, or other reasons, are keeping you from adopting Office 365, read on for how you can still leverage Office 365.

5 Ways the use of a Hybrid Deployment can ease the Deployment of Office 365

1.  Flexible Identity management

  • User provisioning and authentication with Office 365 is very flexible. User accounts can be created and managed completely in the Office 365 portal. Cloud identity management is not the only option, and for those that need more control there are several other options. For those with on premises Active Directory, your user accounts can be synchronized to Office 365, making user provisioning very simple and completely under your control. Add in password synchronization and your users no longer need to remember multiple passwords. For peak flexibility, you can federate on premises Active Directory with Office 365 services.  This allows you to control user provisioning and authentication, while still maintaining complete control of the process from end to end.

2.  Exchange supports hybrid deployment. 

  • Interested in using Exchange Online but concerned about hosting mailboxes in the Cloud?  Since Office 365 Exchange supports hybrid deployment, you have the flexibility of hosting sensitive or confidential mailboxes on premises while putting other mailboxes in Microsoft’s Office 365-based Exchange servers.  

  • Even if you do not use Cloud-hosted Exchange mailboxes, you can still leverage the power of Forefront Online Protection for Exchange.  FOPE is a powerful tool that can protect mail flow from viruses and unsolicited email then route mail to your Exchange servers. 

3.  SharePoint supports hybrid deployment. 

  • Do you have sensitive or confidential data that cannot be placed in Cloud services?  Because Office 365 SharePoint supports hybrid deployment with on premises SharePoint sites, you can leverage your local SharePoint assets for sensitive data and harness the power of SharePoint in Office 365 for other sites. 

4.  Office 365 simplifies the process of procuring, provisioning, and management of your Office application licenses. 

  • With Office 365 you always have the power of the most recent Microsoft applications. Combine identity management from Office 365 with these applications and it is easier than ever to procure new licenses, deploy them to end users, and to know what systems these applications have been installed on. 

5.  Collaborative applications such as Skype for Business, Project, Yammer, OneDrive, OneNote, and more are at your fingertips. 

  • There are a ton of applications available from Office 365 that make collaboration among team members more seamless than ever! Applications such as OneNote, OneDrive, Skype for Business, Project (and Project Online), Yammer, and many others make it easier than ever for your team to keep connected and share ideas.

Marion Baughn

IT Consultant | Afidence

Interested in more information?

If you are interested in exploring cloud deployments with Microsoft Office 365, either full integration or hybrid models, the time might be right to dive in!  If you are interested in how to Afidence can help you with your Office 365 migration, reach out to us today by emailing Zach.Wiant@afidence.com, calling us at 513-234-5822, or visiting us at http://www.afidence.com/contact#lets-go-together

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