Welcome to the “Introducing” series! Today we will do an introduction to the first of three Microsoft Clouds. The first part of this series introduced IT organizations and what they do (providing applications and systems required for a company to function). The second part of the series introduced Cloud Computing and compared it with On-Premises Computing. This blog post will provide a high-level introduction to the first of the three Microsoft clouds which currently exist.
In the first blog post of this series, we discussed the various applications which are used as part of our daily job such as email, word processing, spreadsheets, and instant messaging applications. These are commonly referred to as commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) apps as they are not custom to an organization or a specific vertical industry (such as healthcare or finance). These types of applications primarily reside within what is called “Microsoft 365” or “M365”.
This offering is best described as a combination of a set of three different technologies: This article from the Microsoft docs team explains that “Microsoft 365 … combines Windows 10 with Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS).” This video gives a good overview of what M365 is and what it includes; this article provides a good overview. Additionally, this M365 Enterprise poster can help to provide a top-level view of what’s in M365. Below is a breakdown of these three major components:
- Office 365:
- Microsoft Office contains commonly used programs for tasks such as word processing (Word), spreadsheets (Excel), presentation development (PowerPoint) and email (Outlook). Additionally, Office includes several other useful solutions such as OneNote (writing and sharing notes), Publisher (Desktop Publishing), Access (database), Project (project management) and Visio (graphical workflows).
- Office 365is the subscription services version of the Microsoft Office Suite. In a non-subscription software purchase, you buy the software and can use it forever, but it will only be updated over the lifetime of that version of the software. The subscription provides access for licensed users to use the software during the life of the subscription period. The benefit of subscription services is a continually evolving product that provides more features on a quicker cadence. As the end-user, you get more capabilities from the software which makes it easier to use and capable of doing tasks which it could not do earlier in the software. The goal of a subscription service is to make the software better over time so you will want to continue with the service.
- Office 365 also contains cloud-based software as a service including Exchange Server, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Skype for Business, Outlook Onlineand Delve. More information about Software as a Service (SaaS) will be explained in a future blog post.
- Windows 10:
- Most likely you have used some form of Windows as part of using computers at home and work. Previous versions of Windows included Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8. The most recent version is Windows 10 which represented a shift as it was said to be “the last Windows Operating System“. This shift was to more of a continually adapting version of Windows instead of releasing a new version of Windows every few years. Windows 10 receives new versions (referred to as builds) twice a year, which are available at no additional cost to users of the Operating System. We will dive deeper into the concepts of Windows 10 in a future blog post in this series.
- Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS):
- There are a lot of products/solutions which exist as part of EMS which would be too complex to explain within the context of this blog post. For simplicity’s sake, the following are the major pieces of EMS which I may cover in more detail in later blog posts.
- Endpoint Management: Management of endpoints is a key focus area for EMS which is built from Intuneand Configuration Manager.
- Increased security: Microsoft 365 includes functionality to help to increase security at your environment in several other areas: Identity and Access Management, Information Protection, Threat Protection, and with a cloud access security broker.
- Business process automation: Your organization can automate repetitive tasks using solutions built on SharePoint, Power Apps, and Power Automate.
- Pricing/available plans for M365:
- There are a few plans available for M365 pricing which are detailed here(Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Premium, Microsoft 365 Business).
Thank you to Chad S and Beth F for their help on this blog post!
- Go back to the previous article in the series: Introducing Cloud Computing and On-Prem Computing
- Continue to the next in this series: Introducing the second of three Microsoft clouds: D365