A trend that’s gaining traction as we head toward the end of 2019 is subscription-based cloud services. Most of these offerings have been financially out of reach for many smaller companies due to their expense. However, that is rapidly changing. The same solutions large companies and enterprises have used for years are now becoming more affordable and within reach for the general business population. Now more than ever is a good time to look at Microsoft Office 365 as it becomes clearer how advantageous moving to the cloud can be.

The benefits of cloud-based subscription services are significant. Office 365 combines the advantages of cloud technology with the traditional foundation of on-premise software offerings—meaning the physical, desktop versions of Office programs. It allows Office applications to be available on multiple computers or devices with the ability to easily share and store files on Microsoft’s OneDrive. These features, combined with Microsoft’s world-class security requirements, will give your organization the tools it needs for enhanced business processes.

Why are other companies similar to yours looking at this solution? Let’s take a look at the four main reasons:

#1 Support for Older Systems is Phasing Out
As Windows support starts to phase out for some of the older operating system versions, many businesses will likely be caught off guard. Windows 7 support is ending on January 14th, 2020, impacting a huge user base that will no longer be able to receive updates, patches and proactive support for protection from security threats. This is just one of the many reasons you should be considering Office 365.

#2 It’s All About Security
Malware, ransomware and other cyberattacks can all be very damaging to your business as they expose, destroy or block access to valuable company data. Office 365 offers multiple security benefits, including multi-factor authentication managed from the Microsoft 365 administration center, as well as a subset of Azure multi-factor authentication capabilities that are a part of the subscription. Another security benefit is the ability to control encrypted emails shared outside your organization. Office 365 uses encryption in two ways: in the service and as a customer control.

You can also create alert policies in the Office 365 and Microsoft 365 security and compliance centers to be notified when users perform activities that match your set conditions. Alert policies are customizable by letting you categorize the alert policy, apply the policy to certain users in your organization, set a threshold level for when an alert is triggered, and decide whether or not to receive email notifications. These alert policies will make you aware of any potential threats, and also provide you with the ability to block sensitive information in messages, as well as protect your email from phishing attacks.

#3 Collaboration and Efficiency
Office 365 comes with a set of admin roles that you can assign to specific users in your organization. Each admin role maps to common business functions and gives users permission to do specific tasks in the admin center. This allows teams to share important information without divulging any sensitive data embedded in documents. And, since it is hosted in one integrated platform, you reduce risks to vulnerabilities. The ability to work online makes collaboration easier, more efficient and supports flexible work environments by providing access to important documents and infrastructure from anywhere.

And, when it comes to editing documents, everyone can see others’ edits in real-time. Every change is synced in the document and automatically saved with a history. This results in improved productivity because your team has complete visibility into the collaboration process. There’s also no need for email attachments for sending vital documents, as you can keep relevant data in one place for data discovery and workflow since it is all in the cloud. When it comes to email, calendars and contacts, all of that is synced as well.

#4 Cost Savings
Perpetual software can be very attractive for some businesses because fewer licenses are needed. However, as your business grows in headcount and devices, it becomes costly to deploy and maintain it. The financial benefits of cloud-based subscription services can be significant, providing savings in the form of reduced infrastructure costs, maximum uptime and centralized management of applications. It also eliminates the cost of a separate cloud account and data storage plan. And, by simplifying your operating system and taking it to the cloud, you eliminate having to spend time on fixing bugs and patching problems.

I’ve seen many businesses that transition to Office 365 find that over time, it’s cheaper than having to continually keep up with the latest versions and pay perpetual licensing fees. Not to mention, expert software support is one call away if a problem arises.

Office 365 is packed with numerous benefits that will help increase productivity, simplify processes and encourage collaboration with your organization. So, if you haven’t considered it yet, now may be the perfect time.