Sunday, January 8, 2012

Office 365 keeps getting better


One of the big advantages I have always seen with Office 365 (or any online service for that fact) is its ability to improve quickly over time. Having the servers in a hosted data centre makes it much quicker and easier to roll out new and updated features over anything that is installed on site.

Here is a list of a few improvements that have been made recently that you may not be aware of:

Maximum number of email recipients has been increased for the P Plan

Previously, those on a P Plan were restricted to only sending to 500 recipients a day via email. This has now been increased, as of the end of December, to 1500 which is the same as for those on the Enterprise plans. Some may still complain that this is unacceptable, even though it is probably more than enough, I reckon this number will be increased further down the track.

Lync online web scheduler now available

On of the frustrating things I found when organizing meetings was that it could only be done via Outlook and only be done by logging into Outlook as a valid Office 365 user. I longed for the old Live meeting days when you could schedule a meeting directly via a web site. Well now you can with Lync after Microsoft announced the availability of the Lync online web scheduler. To organize a meeting now all you need to do is visit https://sched.lync.com.

Health dashboard supports per tenant status

When Office 365 had services issues you could examine the health dashboard to see what was going on. The only problem with that was that the health dashboard was regional. This meant that it only told if something was an issue in the Office 365 region. I did have cases where issues were exhibited with clients and it didn’t shown on the dashboard which was frustrating. However, according to this blog post that has now changed so that the dashboard shows the health information of the specific tenant that it is launched from.

The K plans have been improved

As this post outlines the K Plans (diskless worker) have been improved. This means that K Plans now have a storage limit of 1GB (used to be only 500MB). They now also support activesync, meaning devices like smart phones can be utilized. Also importantly, the ability to apply legal hold and unlimited mailbox storage can be added as an add on to these mailboxes. This greatly improves the flexibility of the K Plans and means that they are more likely to be adopted with an organization since they are so cheap and probably all that most users need.

Office 365 trust center has been updated

If you aren’t already aware you’ll find that Microsoft has created a site dedicated to answering question around the security and privacy of Office 365. You’ll find it at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/trust-center.aspx and is worth remembering so you can refer customers to it who may have concerns about how Microsoft manages and secures their information.

So just a few updates recent from Microsoft on Office 365 but it impressive to see these continue to roll out and improve the product. I expect we’ll see a whole range more in the very near future.

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