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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Hosted Services’

Why create an email archive?

There are a variety of different reasons why your business should have an email archive. These include:-

  • Legal Compliance
  • Performance improvement
  • Protection of Your Intellectual Property
  • Business Continuity

In general all of the above come down to getting a copy of your email into a secure location as quickly as possible after it is received, or sent.

Options for creating your email archive

There are different ways that your email archive can be created. These either involve you:

  • Installing email archive software on a server in your office
  • Using a hosted email archive provider

Local Email Archive

A local email archive will generally involve having an additional server, somewhere in the infrastructure. This server host the archive to ensure that data cannot be ‘lost’ by people deleting emails.

Your local archive should be on a separate server to your email server, ideally it should also be in a separate physical location.  So for Small Business this isn’t a realistic option, the capital expense of a second server just to hold your archive would not normally be acceptable.

Hosted Email Archive

I would recommend that you use a hosted email archive. A hosted archive is a very cost effective solution as, most of the email archive providers, don’t require any upfront investment. You will get a highly performant email archive, you don’t need to worry about having to backup the email archive, you also don’t have to worry about scalability.

There are lots of options for  Hosted email archive companies, but don’t forget that you are entrusting them with your information so don’t just choose the cheapest. The 2 options I would recommend are:-

If you want information about either of these please contact me via the SystemAssure website. Both Webroot and Microsoft offer free trials of their archive solutions and we can help you set these up and evaluate the best email archive product for your business.

Microsoft Hosted Services

There is now a cost effective range of Microsoft Hosted Services, for both the business and home user. Some of the services are completely free and the others are available as a monthly subscription service.

Free – Microsoft Hosted Services

Currently the Free Microsoft Hosted Services include:-

  • Microsoft SkyDrive
  • Windows Live Office

Microsoft Hosted Services – SkyDrive

Microsoft SkyDrive is 25Gb of Free Online Storage, accessible over the web. You can save files securely, or share them with other users.

Microsoft Hosted Services – Windows Live Office

Windows Live Office provides you with Free access to the Microsoft Office Suite of tools. Used in conjunction with your SkyDrive account you have complete access to your Office Documents, along with the tools to edit them from any PC with an Internet connection.

Windows Live Office, or Office Web as it is sometimes called provides you with free access to:-

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft OneNote

Subscription – Microsoft Hosted Services

Business Productivity Online (BPOS) – Microsoft Hosted Services

Currently the Microsoft Hosted Services, available as part of a subscription include:-

  • Hosted Exchange
  • Hosted SharePoint
  • Hosted OCS
  • Hosted LiveMeeting

These services can be purchased either individually, or together as the Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Services) package. The BPOS Suite is available, in the UK for, £6.71 per user per month – with a minimum subscription of 5 users. You can either purchase BPOS online from the Microsoft website, or through your Microsoft Partner. The price is exactly the same whichever route you take. Generally you should purchase BPOS through your Microsoft Partner as they will provide advice, guidance and assistance on setting up and configuring your Microsoft Hosted Services.

Additional Options for Exchange – Microsoft Hosted Services

The optional Microsoft Hosted Services include:-

  • Email Spam & Virus Filtering
  • Email Archive
  • Email Encryption

These optional Microsoft Hosted Services for Exchange are designed so that they work with both hosted versions of Exchange and your local on-premise version of Exchange or Small Business Server (SBS). So if you have a local Exchange server you can start using Microsoft Hosted Services today to provide your business with a fully searchable email Archive and Spam protection.

Email Archive starts at only £3.00 per user per month and email Spam filtering and Virus protection starts at only £1.03 per user per month.

How can I get Microsoft Hosted Services?

Microsoft Hosted Services – Free

If you want to use the Free Microsoft Hosted Services of SkyDrive and Live Office, you can simply create yourself an account on the Microsoft Live website and start using them today.

Microsoft Hosted Services – BPOS

If you are interested in the subscription based Microsoft Hosted Services the best way to get a Free 30 day trail is to contact your Microsoft Partner, who can help you setup an account for your business.

If you don’t have a Microsoft Partner, and are located in the UK, then Contact us, via the SystemAssure website and  we can get you setup with a Free 30 day trail of any of the  Microsoft Hosted Services.

Windows Live Office

If you have a Windows Live Skydrive account then you now also get access to the applications included in Windows Live – Office, or Office Web. Windows Live Office allows you to create and update Microsoft Office documents on the web, without you having to have a copy of Microsoft Office installed on your PC, great for those last minute updates to your Word document or PowerPoint presentation.

What applications are included in Windows Live Office?

Windows Live Office comprises web based versions of:- 

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote

Windows Live OfficeYou can create and save Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents to your SkyDrive and then upload or download them to your PC.

There is even an option to directly open your document using your local copy of Office if you want.

Creating a Word document in Windows Live

Windows Live - Save Document

When you click on the Word icon you are prompted for a name for your blank document, this saves a copy of your empty Word document to your SkyDrive, in Word 2007 (.docx) format.

Once the empty document has been saved then you are presented with the ‘standard’ Word interface within your web browser. This then allows you to work, pretty much, as you would with a local version of Word on your PC.

Using Word in Windows Live Office

Windows Live - Word User Interface

As you can see the Windows Live version of Word looks and acts very similar to a ‘real’ version of Microsoft Word.

The other applications in the Windows Live Office Suite function in a very similar fashion to Word. You can use normal Microsoft functions like ‘cut and paste’, Image insert, spell check and Clip Art.

So if you get sent a Microsoft Office document and don’t have a copy of Office installed you can now open the document and view, update. The one thing that you can’t do directly from the Windows Live version of Word is to print the document.

Windows Live Office, or Office Web

Depending on where you look the suite is referred to as both Office Web and Windows Live Office. I have even seen people referring to the suite as Office Web Applications (OWA), but this just confuses things with the original Microsoft OWA (Outlook Web Access). Personally I think that Office Web will stick as a short form for the suite as its just simpler than Windows Live Office.

You can use any of the Office Web applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for free and store your documents in your Windows Live SkyDrive. At the moment your SkyDrive account gives you 25GB of free online storage.

Free Online Storage

Skydrive - Free online StorageIts not often that you are offered something for nothing, but that is what Microsoft have done with their Windows Live SkyDrive.

They are giving you 25GB of free disk space to store files, pictures etc. You can keep files private or share them.

You can get your own SkyDrive by going to http://windowslive.com/online/skydrive and signing in, if you have a Windows Live account. If you use Windows Messenger you already have a Windows Live account, so you can just start saving files to your SkyDrive.

Free Online Storage for Travelers

If you are traveling on business and want to make sure that you have copies of important documents, save a copy from your laptop to your SkyDrive. That way even if your laptop is damaged whilst you are traveling you will still be able to access those important documents. Its also safer than leaving a copy of your documents lying around on a USB drive, which anyone could get at.

So get your 25GB of Free Online Storage with the Microsoft SkyDrive today.