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November 16th, 2010

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft has distributed a beta version of its Office 365 “cloud-based” software suite. When released in 2011, it will have versions tailored for small and large businesses, government agencies and the education market, with a monthly per-user fee depending on a lot of details. Reassuring users with a familiar look and feel, Office 365 will offer total communications capability in addition to Office Web Apps. From desktops to iPad rentals, every Web-capable device at CRE will work with Office 365. Here are 10 great things about it that you need to know (items 1-4 in Part 1, 5-10 in Part 2 on Thursday, 11/18).

1. E-mail on steroids

Exchange Online has all the standalone app’s new features, including MailTips, personal archiving, secure messages and more. Windows users can connect via Outlook 2007 or 2010, the Outlook Web App or any major Web browser (a Light version supports old or “alternative” browsers). Users of Macs running OS 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard) – like CRE’s iMac rentals – can connect through Microsoft Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition.

2. Collaborate online, work offline

SharePoint Online works with all the Office 2010 applications, and on mobile devices running Windows Mobile 6.5.x, Windows Phone 7 and Apple’s  iOS. Two or more users can edit the same document simultaneously – we discussed collaborative workflows in a recent blog – and SharePoint Online supports PowerPoint broadcasting over the Internet, even to PCs without the program. You can mirror your online files locally, so that when you are offline you can still work. When you’re done, the Web server will update according to your preferences.

3. Communication center

Lync Online provides instant messaging (IM), audio/video calls and Web conferencing. It is a slick way to set up online meetings with audio, video and Web conferencing, and supports Lync clients and phones with PSTN audio conferencing, data sharing, desktop/application sharing, virtual “whiteboards” and document sharing. Tablet PC rentals from CRE are just one way to leverage Office 365′s communications capabilities (which are many and varied).

4. Safe and secure

Security worries have kept many companies off the cloud so far. Microsoft addressed this by beefing up the encryption that renders intercepted messages unreadable and tailoring Microsoft’s Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) to guard your inbox against malware and spam. Since you manage your own security settings over the Web, all CRE computer rentals are 100% Cloud Safe, and Microsoft constantly scans the Internet to keep you covered on all sides.

For the remaining great things about Office 365,  Part 2 will be posted on Thursday, November 18th.

In the meantime, if you need audiovisual rentals or computer and storage technology, CRE can equip you for success. With a phone call or e-mail you can put an experienced Account Executive to work configuring a solution. If you know what you need, complete the Quick Rental Quote form and we’ll get “out of the clouds” and right back to you .

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