Spam almost feels like a part of life anymore. I expect that when I open my email, I’m going to see a couple spam messages that the junk folder settings just didn’t catch. It barely fazes me anymore, I just delete the spam in my inbox and junk folders and go about my day. The real problem comes in for those that receive far more than just a couple spam messages in any given day so I can understand the frustration that comes with having to go through and delete all of those. Thankfully for Office 365 customers, Microsoft provides a means of being able to block those messages from landing in anyone’s inboxes to begin with. That tool is called Forefront Online Protection for Exchange.
Forefront makes it extremely simple to create rules that can block or allow emails to come through based off of the following information:
Now not all of this information is needed for each rule, but it’s great that rules can be setup to block or allow emails of a certain topic or from a specific sender or domain. Based off of my experiences there did not appear to be any delay in the mail filtering after the rule was setup. If you’d like to start blocking some of those pesky spam messages then follow these steps to set up rules of your own:
- Log into the Office 365 portal using an administrator account
- Click on the Manage link listed under Exchange
- On the left hand side of the page select Mail Control
- On the right hand side of the page click on the link labeled “Configure IP safelisting, perimeter message tracing, and e-mail polices.”
- If not already selected then click on the Administration tab at the top of the page
- Select Policy Rules right below the administration tab
- On the right hand side of the page click on the New Policy Rule link
From there you can go ahead and set the parameters for the rule and once done select Save Policy Rule. After that you’ll see your new rule listed under Policy Rules and from there you can make modifications to the rule as necessary or delete it if it’s no longer needed.
Based upon what I’ve seen, Forefront doesn’t always catch blatant spam messages on its own without the aid of the rules, however after creating rules I have seen the amount of spam messages received drop dramatically. All in all I have to say that Forefront Online Protection for Exchange is a great tool for use with Office 365.
The Microsoft Office 365 team reportedly created a spoof video (below) that pokes fun at Gmail for team-building purposes at the annual Microsoft GlobalExchange sales conference. Now "Gmail Man," featuring an unctuous, cloying mail carrier who looks through people's correspondence to identify "keywords" for advertising opportunities, could just go viral.
Apparently, one of 12,000 or so Global Exchange attendees managed to smuggle out a copy of "Gmail Man" to ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley after it was screened during opening ceremonies on July 20.
"Have you been reading my mail?" asks one flustered office worker when the Gmail Man bursts in and asks about her "burning" and "itching." "Just skimming," he replies, "for certain keywords."
Microsoft's point: Google scans Gmail correspondence as part of its ad-matching system—something privacy-minded emailers may not be too happy about.
First of all, it is pretty creepy that the ads you get while inside of GMail are from the words you type into your emails. Let that sink in a moment.
Google knows what you're typing into your emails!
I myself use multiple email accounts from various services and GMail seems to work the best for personal use. When using for professional user an Exchange server linked with all of the Microsoft services is pretty peachy as well. The second MS starts serving up ads is the day I sign up for Apple's email services!
- by Andrew, "Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick", Levin
- Interface - MS Office has always provided a very rich user experience, especially with the 2010 release. The Google interface has always been a bit bland, and lacks the aesthetics which Office so proudly displays.
- Integration - Each Office application integrates seamlessly with each other and makes transitioning between various workloads a breeze.
- Familiarity - Most of us have grown up using Office products, which makes it very hard to lean towards another solution. Google Apps is fairly new and transitioning to a new system makes anyone a bit wary.
- Features - This point is simply non-negotiable. Office reigns supreme as each one of its applications can satisfy the basic needs of a novice, all the way to the advanced needs of a professional.
- Could - Originally, this was the most advantageous reason to use Google Apps. It being a cloud service simplified deployment, management, maintenance, DR, etc. However, Microsoft's push of Office 365, SBS 2011, etc., will ensure Office will dominate in the cloud as well.
Simply put, Microsoft Office is the de facto standard in the enterprise game. It proviced a suite of robust and powerful tools that simply cannot be matched. Trigon can customize these services to fit your needs.
We continue to evaluate each service that could be a perfect fit for our clients and we will also present our engineers opinions on the technology we interact with every day.
- by Joseph, "No Nickname Because I Don't Know Him Well Enough", Figaniak
With both Google Apps for Business and Microsoft Office released for consumer use, there must be some users who prefer the new, web-based product of the Google Apps for Business to the trusty ‘old’ ways of Microsoft Office. But wait what’s that? Microsoft Office also has web-based services? Yes Microsoft also has the web-based service, Office Web Apps and a beta version of the new Microsoft Office 365.
So what exactly makes either solution better than the other? Personal preference? Features? Pricing? Well the answer is most likely personal opinion, but I’m not writing this article to tell you what you already know. I’m here to tell you why one is better than the other. So without further ado, these are the 5 Reasons to Use Microsoft Office Instead of Google Apps for Business:
- Compatibility – Although Google boasts that it supports popular formats made famous by Microsoft Office, it responds poorly when it comes to formatting, inserting images, and imported content from the rest of MicrosoftOffice products. If you don’t want to be reformatting the document you just uploaded to Google Apps to a ‘similar’ version of the original, skip the Google Apps and head straight to Microsoft’s Web Apps or Office 365. These two online services mesh smoothly with Microsoft Office installed on your PC. Documents retain all their formatting and inserts, spreadsheets keep all their formulas and functionality, and presentations preserve their animation capabilities.
- Connection – Nowadays the world seems to be moving towards a totally interconnected network of information, accessible from virtually anywhere. With that being said, it is great that both Google and Microsoft are moving in that direction allowing users to create, edit, collaborate, save, and print, all from a browser screen. But, on the off chance there is an unreliable connection to the internet, no connection at all, or worst case scenario, a business’ server fails, it is always a great feeling to have a failsafe back-up. Microsoft Office installed on the PC will allow a user to continue working without the worry of a dropped connection or maintaining a solid and reliable connection. With Microsoft Office, a user has all of these capabilities and back-ups available to them without an internet connection.
- Features – Both services provide the basic features needed by any business such as a reliable email service and calendar, the ability to create word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and a way to collaborate and share documents and calendars with co-workers. This is all well and good for a standard small business, but what if the business is in need of more tools? Microsoft also offers a few more products to suit most businesses nicely. Publisher, OneNote, Access, Communicator, InfoPath, and SharePoint Workspace are all offered by Microsoft that communicate with Office as a whole, for a streamlined feel unlike Google Apps, which does not support these useful programs that might be needed by a particular company.
- Pricing – Most businesses use some form of Microsoft Office on a daily basis, whether it’s Outlook for email or Word for documents, so why would you want to completely switch from Microsoft Office to Google Apps? The thought of practically throwing away paid-for software to use only web-based applications is absurd. Taking for granted that a business is utilizing Office already, but is looking for a web-based collaboration interface, adding Office 365 to the business’ arsenal of tools would make much more sense. For roughly the same price both Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps can be obtained on a flexible, low-rate monthly plan, but Microsoft goes one step further and offers plans for different sizes and types of businesses. For a business already using Microsoft Office, it only makes sense to move forward with a completely compatible service such as Office 365.
- Versions – Although it is best to keep up to date on hardware, software, and technology in general, some users might be hesitant to update for any number of reasons, whether it’s lack of funds, comfortability, or indecisive on product choice. A main issue with web-based apps for business is that they will be updated without consent of the end user, meaning if a user gains a comfortability with a previous version and logs-in one day to find features moved around, it will be up to them to ‘relearn’ the new version. With a software copy of Microsoft Office, the user is prompted to purchase the recommended update to utilize new features. This places a comfortable feeling in the users who aren’t quite ready for the ‘latest and greatest’ features of the given business app.
These are the main reasons as to why previous users of Microsoft Office should stay true to their roots and opt for Office 365 over Google Apps, and also why new users should adapt Microsoft Office over Google Apps. Microsoft provides an excellent software-based and seemingly excellent web-based suite of applications for all forms of business. In the IT field, we all know that it is wise to back-up work, so why not back-up your work with the reliability and support of Microsoft Office and compliment it with Office 365, providing compatibility, functionality, and yes, even more back-up.
Microsoft spokespeople have been coy about when the Office 365 cloud service will launch, saying only that it will come out later in 2011. But CEO Steve Ballmer has revealed that it will launch in June.
Speaking in Delhi, India, to an industry group last week, Ballmer said, "We're pushing hard in the productivity space. We'll launch our Office 365 cloud service, which gives you Lync and Exchange and SharePoint and Office and more as a subscribable service that comes from the cloud. That launches in the month of June."
The cloud service will replace the current Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), and include access to Exchange, SharePoint, the Lync unified communications suite, and both desktop and Web-based versions of Office tools such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Office 365 beta has attracted more than 100,000 customers, and was recently expanded to become a public beta available to anyone.
Whoa, now. It seems like Microsoft is finally ready to get the good folks that their Office products to learn how the Cloud can help them. Don't be afraid of the Cloud, gang. We use it every day. I'm using the Cloud to write this post. Ahhh!!
I don't know about you, but I prefer to write documents via web browser, or to a lesser extent, a service that syncs automatically with Dropbox in order to store my files safely. Using Word is great and all, but if that HDD explodes while you're writing the best blog post ever, it's as good as toast. Apps like PlainText and Elements save while you're typing to the Dropbox folder of your choice. Late or not, Microsoft seems to be getting the idea with this instant-save business. The less the user has to worry about backing things up, the better.
A few months ago, Microsoft first introduced a service that we think delivers the best of the cloud, working with the Office applications people already know and trust. It's called Office 365, and it brings together all of the familiar and powerful Microsoft productivity tools in a single cloud service. Today, we’re announcing a public beta of Office 365, enabling people in 38 markets to utilize Office, SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync as a cloud service.
Cloud computing is gaining mindshare fast. Companies of all sizes are using the cloud to deliver the latest applications and services, and they're seeing how cloud services can give them a competitive advantage while minimizing routine maintenance like patching, updating, and upgrading, and the upfront costs of traditional on-premises infrastructure. Cloud services can combine that convenience and affordability with powerful functionality and ease of use.
It's here! Well, not for me. I signed up and was promptly told that I'd have to wait 2-4 weeks to gain access to the public beta. For now I guess I'll just have to make due with Google's terrible formatting decisions when exporting to Word format.
Google Apps aside, this is great move for Microsoft. Techie people online are drifting towards web apps that store their information on far away servers and services such as Dropbox and Google, and similar moves can't be that far away for Enterprise. I myself like to keep all my writing in Dropbox so I can access wherever I go. There are even specific apps that use your Dropbox credentials so you can edit on your smartphone.
It seems like 365 is a step in the right direction, but I often wonder about the speediness of web apps and their upgrade. For instance, many users are still using Office 2003. Maybe because they can't afford to update, but also because it's what they know. Why upgrade?
Google Apps encounters issues for that exact reason. It's a web app, and therefore can be updated at the drop of a hat. If a user prefers Google Docs ver. X but Google updates to a new version, there is no going back for that user. The same will be said for Office 365. MS will be able to update small items when they choose, and not have to do in cycles of 3-5 years like native applications. Will those effect enterprise users going into the Cloud? Time will tell, but if you have any questions about implementation of Microsofts services for your own clients, let us know.