Frequently Asked Questions

I. General Answers to Common Questions

  • What is the Cloud?
    • “The cloud” is a friendly way of describing web-based computing services that are hosted outside of your organization. When you use cloud-based services, your IT infrastructure resides off your property (off-premises), and is maintained by a third party (hosted), instead of residing on a server at your home or business (on-premises) that you maintain. With Office 365, for example, information storage, computation, and software are located and managed remotely on servers owned by Microsoft. Many services you use every day are a part of the cloud—everything from web-based email to mobile banking and online photo storage. Because this infrastructure is located online or “in the cloud,” you can access it virtually anywhere, from a PC, tablet, smartphone, or other device with an Internet connection.

  • What is cloud computing?
    • Cloud computing is a way of accessing software and files through the internet, as opposed to being locally stored on your computer. This means that services that you use can be more flexible and efficient.

  • We are a small business – why is it relevant for us?
    • Small businesses are used to operating as efficiently as possible, and cloud computing means that you pay for only the services that you use, rather than being locked into a contract or hardware that becomes outdated within months. With cloud services, you are able to upgrade to the latest service on demand, usually at no extra cost.

  • Where is my data stored?
    • Data is spread across many different servers in one central location (with alternative backup locations), but generally there are at least a couple of main datacenters which are highly secure and protected against outside interference, both physical and virtual. Even if there was a catastrophic failure at multiple datacenters your data would be able to be recovered from all the smaller servers around the world.

  • How do you pay for cloud?
    • Cloud services are subscribed to on a monthly basis, and are rented instead of purchased. This means you shift your spending from capital expenditure to operational expenditure, meaning you can keep track of how much you are spending on IT without any unexpected costs such as replacing tapes or upgrading your server.

  • What is the difference between private and public cloud services?
    • Public cloud is accessed through the internet by users – like Dropbox or Gmail, whereas a private cloud is slightly more restricted within an organization behind a firewall, and is closer to the experience that users have using an on-premise system.

  • Does cloud put our IT professionals at risk?
    • Not at all. Like any new technology, there are some new skills to learn. The cloud mitigates any issues this technology might bring, as most of the maintenance is taken care of as part of the rental cost. This means that your IT professionals can move away from reactively maintaining existing infrastructure, to more interesting and innovative work, and proactively assisting IT users in your organization.


II. Office 365 Questions

  • What is Office 365? How is it different from Microsoft Office?
    • Office 365. “Office 365” refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services). Office 365 includes plans for use at home and for business. Learn about Office 365 for use at home. Office 365 plans for business include services such as Skype for Business web conferencing and Exchange Online hosted email for business, and additional online storage with OneDrive for Business.

      Many Office 365 plans for business also include the desktop version of the latest Office applications, which users can install across multiple computers and devices. The fully installed applications include: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. (Publisher and Access are available on PC only.) And you can install them across multiple devices, including PCs, Macs, Android tablets, Android phones, iPad, and iPhone. When you have an active Office 365 subscription that includes the desktop version of Office, you always have the most up-to-date version of the applications.

      The Office 365 plans that are online-only are a great choice for certain business needs, and they are designed to work with the latest version of Office, Office 2013, and Office 2011 for Mac. Previous versions of Office, such as Office 2010 and Office 2007, may work with Office 365 with reduced functionality. Get more details about which Office versions are supported. NOTE: This compatibility with Office does not include the Exchange Online Kiosk or Office 365 Enterprise K1 plans.

      All Office 365 plans are paid for on a subscription basis, monthly or annually.

      Microsoft Office. “Microsoft Office” is the name we still use for our familiar productivity software. Office suites are available as a one-time purchase and include applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which can be installed on only one PC or Mac. The applications are not automatically updated; to get the latest version, you can purchase the product again when the new version becomes available. The latest versions currently available for one-time purchase are Office 2016 for Windows and Office 2016 for Mac. These suites do not come with any of the cloud-based services included in Office 365

  • Is internet access required for Office 365?
    • Internet access is required to install and activate all Office 365 plans and to manage your subscription account. Internet connectivity is also required to access Office 365 cloud productivity services, including email, conferencing, IT management, and other services.

      Many Office 365 plans also include the desktop version of Office, for example, Office 365 Business Premium and Office 365 Enterprise E3. One of the benefits of having the desktop version of Office applications is that you can work offline and have the confidence that the next time you connect to the Internet all your work will automatically sync, so you never have to worry about your documents being up to date. Your desktop version of Office is also automatically kept up to date and upgraded when you connect to the Internet, so you always have the latest tools to help you work. Compare.
  • Will Office 365 work with my copy of Microsoft Office?
    • Office 365 is designed to work with the latest version of Office, Office 2013, and Office 2011 for Mac. Previous versions of Office, such as Office 2010 and Office 2007, may work with Office 365 with reduced functionality. Get more details about which Office versions are supported. If you have Office 2003 or an earlier version, you will need to update to a newer version of Office in order to use Office 365; or you can subscribe to one of the many Office 365 plans that include the latest version of Office. In addition to getting the latest version of Office as part of your subscription, you will also get automatic updates, so your Office will always be up to date. Compare plans.

  • How many users does Office 365 support?
    • Office 365 is highly scalable and can support everything from a one-person business to companies with tens of thousands of users:

      • Office 365 Business plans are best for companies with one to 300 users.
      • Office 365 Enterprise plans fit organizations ranging in size from a single employee to 50,000-plus users.

      You can compare all the options here.

  • Will the new system have spam filtering and anti-virus for email?
    • Yes, like our current system, spam filtering and email antivirus checking is built in. Unlike the current system, though, spam will be delivered to your Junk Mail folder for you to examine, and the system will learn as you tell it some things are not junk.

  • What operating systems are supported?
  • Will I be able to share my calendar with a Mac user now?
    • Yes, you will be able to share a calendar between Mac and PC users, though the sharing will need to be set up in web access, not the Windows Outlook client.

  • I check my mail using my iPhone/iPad. Will that work with Office 365?
    • Yes, but you may have to enter some new server information for the device to find your mailbox in its new location.

  • Do I need to upgrade my browser?
    • Most modern browsers will work fine for web mail; however, one of the most common means of attacking your computer is through your browser, and we highly recommend that everyone use the latest version of any web browser. For more complete information on Office 365 system requirements, see:

  • Will Outlook web access work differently for people using browsers other than Internet Explorer?
    • According to Microsoft, the complete set of features available in Outlook Web App will be available in the following browsers:

      • On a computer running Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 Internet Explorer 7 and later versions, Firefox 3.0.1 and later versions, or Chrome and later versions.
      • On a computer running Mac OS X 10.5 and later versions, you can use Safari 3.1 and later versions or Firefox 3.0.1 and later versions.
      • On a computer running Linux, you can use Firefox 3.0.1 and later versions.

      If you use a Web browser that doesn’t support the full feature set, Outlook Web App will open in the light version.
      For complete information, see

  • Is my connection between my computer and Office 365 secure?
    • The email connection types (Exchange, POP, IMAP, and SMTP) all support SSL encryption to secure your connection, and the web mail client uses https to secure your connection.

  • Will my data be handled securely in the cloud?
    • Yes. Office 365 provides the ability to encrypt data at rest by supporting technologies that can encrypt the content of emails and/or files. The supported technologies for data encryption at rest include Microsoft’s Information Rights Management (IRM), S/MIME and PGP Email encryption and have the advantage of allowing the customer to maintain full control over the encryption infrastructure and key management on their premises.

      Office 365 support for data encryption at rest technologies is designed to minimize the risk of information leakage by encrypting the content, allowing access only by the intended users and by extending the protection beyond the initial publication location. Microsoft’s IRM goes further by restricting the actions allowed on the protected content and also encrypting Office application document attachments.

      Office 365 mitigates against the risk of unauthorized physical access with extensive physical protections in their datacenters and operational procedures.


III. Office 365 Migration Questions

  • I have rules in Outlook. Will they be there after migration?
    • This is bound to the user profile, so as long as your user profile doesn’t have to be recreated, yes. However, this is only the case, when you are moving from an on-premise Exchange Server, to Office 365. If you are moving from another mail platform such as Google, Domino or Zimbra, you will have a new profile created, and the rules will be removed. If you do not want to re-create your rules, they can be exported and imported prior to migration.

  • Will my previous “auto-populated” email addresses still be there after migration?
    • Every time you send an email, Microsoft Outlook caches (saves) the email address of the person that you sent the email to for future use. This is bound to the user profile, so as long as your user profile doesn’t have to be recreated, yes. However, this is only the case, when you are moving from an on-premise Exchange Server, to Office 365. If you are moving from another mail platform such as Google, Domino or Zimbra, you will have a new profile created, and the slate will be wiped clean. There is no way to backup and restore this cache between profiles.

  • Will mailbox and calendar sharing permissions (delegates) be migrated or will they have to be set up again?
    • Delegate permissions will migrate, but until all delegates associated with an account are migrated to O365, those permissions will not function.

  • Can I move my existing mail to the new server?
    • All your mail currently on the existing servers will be migrated by our team for you (though it’s a good idea to back up anything vital).

  • What about my archived mail / PST files?
    • If you currently use PST files (Outlook archive files) they will continue to work as before, stored on your local PC, or you may choose to upload them to the server where you can access them from anywhere. In the same way, mail stored on your local Mac or PC in standard mailbox (mbox) files can be used as is or uploaded to the new server.

  • Will all my contacts, notes, etc., be transferred?
    • If they are stored on the server, they will be transferred along with your mail.


IV. Azure Questions