Office 365 for Law firms – Should Your Firm Use Office 365?
Cloud computing has transformed the way law firms large and small practice. It gives law firms a new level of mobility, reliability and security–and allows lawyers to get out of the business of managing IT and back into the practice of law. Cloud computing is made up of a number of different cloud platforms, services and applications that law firm leverage to be able to work anywhere and ditch on-premise servers. Microsoft Office 365 is one such service that is gaining a lot of attention in the legal world. Should your law firm use Office 365? What are the benefits? What are the risks? What are the alternatives? In this post we explore Office 365 for law firms.
What is Office 365
The Office Suite
Separately, Microsoft makes email server software called Exchange Server. Exchange is software that a small or large business could buy and install on its own server, allowing a business to be its on email service provider. In fact, for a long time this was one of the only ways to get business-class email for your business: Buy Exchange server and run it in-house. Later, hosting and IT companies began to host this themselves and, in effect, rent Exchange services out to their client: removing the IT management burden from their clients and delivering an economy of scale.
Much later, Microsoft decided it too wanted to be in the business of not just making software (like Office and Exchange), but of hosting it and delivering the service directly to the consumer (businesses). So it started providing hosting Exchange directly to customers, where before they only licensed it to hosting providers. This makes Microsoft relatively new to the Exchange hosting game, oddly.
Office 365 is essentially a bundle of the Office suite (subscription-based licensing) and Hosted Exchange email. Plus: A few other services that Microsoft adds to the bundle (such as OneDrive, SharePoint and a few other side dishes).
Office 365 for Law Firms – Does it Make Sense?
So… Office 365 for Law firms – does it make sense? The bottom line here is: no, it definitely does not.