What’s the Main Difference Between Office 365 and the Traditional Office Suite?

Even if you already have Microsoft Office, did you know that there are multiple ways to use Office which could potentially save you money? It’s the difference between using the traditional Office apps, versus the subscription-based model provided by Office 365.

Users and business professionals need to know that Office 365 is a subscription-based model, while the traditional Office 2016 suite is a one-time purchase. Yet, there are a few other notable differences between the two. Here are three reasons why it’s beneficial to choose Office 365 over the more traditional Office suite.

Office 365 is Cost-Effective
Small monthly payments fit into budgets much better than big up-front costs. This is a staple of software as a service, and it applies to Office 365. When purchased through Microsoft, Office 365 can provide users with a discount when paying for 12 months ahead of time, allowing for even more cost savings.

Office 365 Stays Up-to-Date
The traditional Office suite gives you the most recent version at the time of your download. For example, if you downloaded today, you would get Microsoft Office 2016. The problem here is that several years might pass and you’ll eventually have to upgrade to a more recent version of the software, like Office 2018--which can be another major expense in itself. It’s one big investment after another, which makes the subscription-based model more economically reliable, efficient, and easy to budget around. With Office 365, you’ll always have the latest version of Microsoft Office, without the hassle of purchasing new software.

Office 365 is More Flexible
Office 2016 is a one-time download, unlike its subscription-based counterpart. Office 365 allows organizations to achieve varied levels of service as per their user requirements or device thresholds. This helps your business get exactly the kind of functionality you need out of Office 365, as it helps to better accommodate growth.

Have we convinced you to give Office 365 a shot? If so, reach out to us at 614-923-6700. We’d be happy to help your business get started with your new Office 365 solution.

Why it May Not Be Worth it to Replace Your Server

When a business undergoes a hardware refresh, it often comes saddled with unexpected costs and downtime. This is sometimes caused by hardware failure, or from unplanned-for data migration. With the advent of virtualized servers, businesses now have a better way to recover from the woes of server refreshes. Rather than purchase new hardware, it’s more economically viable to go with a virtual server that’s hosted in the cloud.

Server virtualization is a great way to save costs and reduce operational expenses in the long run. Virtual servers can separate the computing resources of a server and allocate them within a cloud-like infrastructure. Server virtualization is great for businesses that have limited budgets and resources, since this is a responsibility that’s simple to outsource to a reliable third party service provider.

Here are three major reasons why you should go with virtual servers for your next IT refresh.

Virtual Environments
One of the biggest reasons to use virtual servers is that you can create multiple computing instances on the same virtual machine. For example, if you’re using a legacy application that’s only functional with a specific operating system, you can run a virtual machine dedicated to that application. This keeps you from investing unnecessary capital into an entirely separate server unit for the exclusive use of one application. Keep in mind that this also helps you limit the cost of operation and maintenance that would be needed for a dedicated server.

Save on Operating Costs
Another major benefit that virtual servers offer is the ability to host less hardware in-house. Servers use a lot of electricity and generate a lot of heat, making air conditioning a top priority for server longevity. High energy costs can put a damper on your budget, and server virtualization offers a remedy. You can consolidate your infrastructure onto one device with multiple virtual machines, rather than create a complex infrastructure of network components. This cuts down on your operational expenses.

Effectively Manage Resources
Virtual machines let service providers or IT administrators manage their workloads more-effectively. You can monitor and adjust workloads in a cloud-based interface in real time, allowing operations to progress unhindered. While it’s possible to have your own internal IT department handle this, it’s better to outsource these responsibilities to save internal time and resources for more important matters.

The next time you need a hardware refresh, be sure to keep your server infrastructure at the top of your mind. To learn more, reach out to us at 614-923-6700.

Tip of the Week: 3 Easy Exercises Designed for Office Workers

You wouldn’t think that sitting at a desk all day could have many detrimental effects to the body, but the opposite is actually true: remaining stationary throughout the day, especially in a slouching position, can cause considerable stress and discomfort. This discomfort, in addition to decreasing morale, can be a distraction that cuts into the productivity of workers throughout the day.

If you’re experiencing the ill health effects of poor desk posture, try these exercises at home--you’ll see why in a moment--to relieve many of the negative symptoms by stretching out your cramped and compressed muscles.

Get rocking...
On all fours, carefully rock back and forth. When rocking back, your hips should move down towards your feet, extending your back for a stretch across the lower portion of your spine, relaxing the stretch when returning to the forward position. For an added bonus in your upper back and neck, nod your head as you rock, bringing your chin to and from your chest.

… and rolling.
Starting off by laying on your stomach with your arms above your head, alternatively lift your arms and use their weight to roll over a few times on each side. Be sure to use the weight of your arm to roll, rather than bracing against the ground and pushing yourself over.

Also, get back to the basics.
With remarkably few exceptions, human beings start moving on all fours. Use that as an inspiration during your next exercise and crawl forwards and backwards, focusing on moving your hips as much as possible. While moving backwards, get a good stretch in your neck by turning your head from side to side.

Hopefully, it is now clear why these exercises are better done at home. Unless your office has a dedicated exercise area, there simply is not space for employees to do such things, never mind how distracting such activities would be for the other employees to work around. Therefore, since these activities are intended to assist office workers in remaining comfortable and focused, this is a bit of work that people should really take home with them.

An uncomfortable employee is an unproductive employee--fortunately, the opposite is also true. Encouraging your employees to take care of their bodies will not only help them feel their best, but also help them remain more productive for your business.

For more office productivity tips, keep checking back to the Amaxx blog.

4 Instances You’ll Be Glad You Had Disaster Recovery

Disasters are commonplace in the business environment, especially when you work in a technology-heavy office. It’s not a question of if you’ll ever experience a hardware failure; it’s a question of when you will. Regardless of how your business functions or what sector you fall into, there will always be disasters that you should be prepared for.

In order to best protect your business from crippling downtime and data loss, we’ll go over four situations where you’ll wish you had disaster recovery for your data.

Natural Disasters
Your local weather channel might give you an idea of what the weather will be like throughout the day, but that can change in the blink of an eye. If your location is prone to floods and violent rainstorms, you could lose data due to water damage. Earthquakes can strike when you least expect it, destroying offices and homes and ending lives. Even something as simple as a power outage could bring about the destruction of your data. The point we’re trying to get across is that natural disasters can strike anywhere at any time, and your IT infrastructure needs to be ready to handle them.

Hardware Failures
Another recurring issue for organizations that rely heavily on technology is hardware failure. If you’re not monitoring and maintaining your hardware, it can be easy to let resource-intensive equipment get overworked, which inevitably leads to malfunction. Technology can’t last forever, so an untimely hardware failure could cripple your infrastructure.

User Error
In the same way as hardware failure, user error could cause your organization to lose data or bring down systems. The reason: people aren’t perfect, and you can’t expect them to be. People could accidentally lose track of files or hand over credentials for accounts which hold sensitive data, giving a hacker a clear path toward stealing your information. User error is a primary cause for data destruction, so it’s important that you implement data backup to account for this risk.

Hacking Attacks
Even if you don’t suspect that you’ll become a victim of a hacking attack, you’re a target. Any organization that collects sensitive data--be it financial information or personally identifiable information--needs to consider itself a target for hackers. All it takes is an installation of malware (like ransomware) to put your data at risk. Hackers usually either want to delete data or steal it for themselves, so it’s up to you to keep your systems backed up in the event that something happens.

Basically, the one thing that you have to remember is this: you need a way to recover your data, or you’ll suffer in the event of a disaster. We recommend that SMBs reach out to us at 614-923-6700 and ask about our dynamic backup and disaster recovery solution (BDR). You’ll have all of your bases covered… just in case.

3 Significant Ways the Cloud Can Grow Your Business

Has your business moved to the cloud yet? If not, you’ve got some work to do--it’s only a matter of time before the need for the cloud completely overshadows your organization. Thankfully, it’s only challenging to move to the cloud if you don’t have a group of professional IT technicians helping you.

Here are three ways that the cloud allows your business to do more with less.

Anywhere Access to Applications and Data
If your business is new to the process of cloud computing, one of the best ways you can realize its value is by virtualizing applications and providing access to them over an online environment. You may already be using cloud-based applications in the form of Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps. These types of data storage and cloud solutions can help your employees stay productive from anywhere they have an Internet connection, which allows them to get more work done and improve efficiency.

You can also host other applications and solutions in the cloud, like a Voice over Internet Protocol system. It’s basically an online phone system, and some of the more dynamic VoIP systems have phone apps that allow your employees to use their company phone number on their smartphone.

Improved Budget
The cloud takes advantage of virtualized machines like servers and desktop infrastructures, which allow you to cut down on the amount of hardware stored on-site. The idea is to reduce workloads in-house and place these mission-critical services in the cloud, located in a virtual environment that can be scaled and managed online. This type of virtualization is important for limiting the amount of on-site technology that needs maintenance, which affords your business more opportunities for cost savings. Additionally, the fewer resource-intensive solutions you have in your office, the more you’ll save on energy bills like electricity and air conditioning.

Simplified Network with Room for Flexibility
A simplified network means that you’re hosting the bare minimum amount of hardware on-site, and that you’ve managed to virtualize the majority of solutions that your business relies on. For example, many businesses don’t take advantage of full-fledged workstations, and instead choose to use thin clients. Thin clients work by calling a desktop infrastructure from the virtualized server, as well as all of the necessary resources to function properly. Thin clients are less expensive and consume less energy, so they’re a viable alternative to the traditional workstation--when backed up by virtualization, of course. Furthermore, cloud-hosted solutions have the flexibility to change and adapt to your business’s specific needs. This helps by allowing you to allocate resources as they’re needed.

To implement a cloud solution that’s right for your business, reach out to Amaxx at 614-923-6700.