Mar 02 2012

Office 365's Messaging and Collaboration Apps

The cloud-based version of Microsoft Office makes messaging and collaboration easy.

It is what’s under the hood, so to speak, that really makes Microsoft Office 365 adaptable: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online.

Exchange Online provides hosted messaging as a cloud-based service powered by Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. By using this service, users can access their e-mail, calendar and contacts from almost anywhere at any time and from any device.

Each user has a 25-gigabyte mailbox and can send messages as large as 25 megabytes. Exchange Online also provides enterprise-grade security based on Microsoft’s Forefront Online Protection for Exchange, which uses multiple filters and virus-scanning engines to thwart malware and reduce spam.

SharePoint Online provides businesses with the power of Microsoft SharePoint without the administrative burden of installing and deploying SharePoint Server 2010 on premises.

Users can create team sites for sharing documents online and tracking project milestones. A team can control who accesses, reads and modifies documents shared on its sites, thereby safeguarding critical business information.

SharePoint Online also lets users upload custom solutions such as web parts coded in .NET and C# by making use of the app’s Sandbox Solutions feature. It’s even possible to publish, edit and share Microsoft Access 2010 databases from within a web browser. SharePoint Online also provides a public-facing website (that can be associated with an existing URL) so a business can publish company information online.

Lync Online provides instant messaging, audio/video desktop-to-desktop calling capabilities and web-based conferencing so that users can conduct online meetings, make presentations, share whiteboards or desktops, and collaborate in real time in other ways with colleagues and customers.

The app publishes the presence capabilities of Lync Server 2010 to a company’s team sites and makes the information visible from within Office applications and Office Web Apps. In this way, users can quickly see which coworkers and partners are currently available for real-time communication.

For more information on the value of Microsoft's Office 365, read the CDW white paper, "The Office 365 Advantage."