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If you’re reading this blog, then it’s probably safe to assume that your business is already using Microsoft 365 to some capacity to support your connected workforce. And that isn’t surprising, since over half of all businesses use the platform for their collaboration and productivity needs.

In fact, in the last year, 70% of Fortune 500s have made Microsoft 365 purchases and users for the platform grew more than 21% in 2020. 61% of organizations with 50 employees or less are using Microsoft 365 along with 24% of all medium businesses.

So, with the explosive growth, we’re seeing on the Microsoft 365 platform (accumulating around 3 million new users each month), what is surprising is how few organizations have secured or optimized their investment.

Because the majority of organizations are still not tapping into all of the out-of-box capabilities without right-sizing their investment or securing it with services Microsoft 365 doesn’t include already.

Here are five smart ways to optimize and secure your Microsoft 365 user environment:

1. Unleash hidden value with license optimization.

The Microsoft 365 platform growth was first ignited with a large portion of organizations migrating to the cloud since Microsoft launched the flagship SaaS productivity suite a decade ago. These large migrations empowering the platform’s rapid growth are the perfect use case in why IT leaders need to understand and manage Microsoft 365 licenses effectively to avoid overspending by over licensing.

Why is over licensing so abundant? Well to start with, the Microsoft 365 purchasing process can be a complicated one with all of the active players involved—including IT, purchasing managers, procurement, and of course whoever is selling you the licenses. And while each group is looking for a speedy deployment, they all have a set of different and sometimes competing goals, requirements, and priorities—making it easy to over-purchase licenses while zipping through a complex and time-consuming IT project.

That’s why partnering with the right managed services provider can help. A good cloud services provider can save you time and alleviate unnecessary spend by helping you tap into advanced reporting and analytics or a deeper, fuller view into your Microsoft 365 environment. With a complete breakdown of your IT investment, you can easily pinpoint potential gaps and redundancies to keep the focus on agility and value.

2. Prevent data loss and disruption with a third-party backup solution.

Microsoft 365 Backup

While Microsoft 365 is known for a whole host of best-in-class applications, (more on that in a minute), backup isn’t one of them. Keeping your Microsoft 365 data available is more critical than ever in our disparate, connected workplace. That’s why it’s so crucial to evaluate an extra layer of backup as part of your Microsoft 365 approach.

Using a third-party backup solution can help you prevent unnecessary disruptions and outages while keeping your Microsoft 365 data and applications readily available. So you can protect your data from security threats, accidental deletion, and hidden policy gaps and support legal and compliance requirements.

A robust, third-party backup solution also enables your organization to simplify continuity from the data center to the cloud while extending ample availability to virtual, physical, and cloud-based workloads.

Leveraging a dedicated backup solution for your Microsoft 365 environment also helps to reduce costs and avoid unpredictable, fluctuating expenses by moving data to Azure. But backup isn’t the only mission-critical caveat for your Microsoft 365 environment that isn’t included with your out-of-the-box setup.

3. Protect your Microsoft 365 users and environment.

Microsoft 365 Security

Another must for empowering business continuity and a safe, productive remote workforce in a Microsoft 365 environment is investing in security. The baseline security incorporated into the suite isn’t enough to adequately arm your organization from the growing cybersecurity threats, with attacks spiking by 400% last year alone.

So, it’s a given that securing your organization’s perimeter with Firewall and Web Security aren’t just good best practices, but necessary basics for any organization. Leveraging email security and continuity can help prevent malware and phishing attacks, and endpoint security is vital to protecting your organization from evolving malware security threats.

All of this is possible with the right third-party Microsoft 365 cloud security to promote simple, cloud-based managed, and interconnected functionality with Cloud Security.

4. Fuel meaningful collaboration with Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft Teams can help you make every hour and meeting count. The leading collaboration platform is used by over 44 million users every day and for good reason. Microsoft Teams is a secure platform that adds new productivity and collaboration hacks for your connected workforce on a regular basis.

5. Ensure you are leveraging all the Microsoft 365 capabilities.

Once you’ve optimized, backed up, and secured your Microsoft 365 environment, it’s important to be able to navigate it fully while harnessing your capabilities to the fullest potential, right? Exactly.

Your IT team members are the experts on how technology applies to your business. But learning and understanding every layer and capability of your Microsoft 365 platform can be a time-consuming and almost byzantine task to achieve on top of the regular day-to-day responsibilities that keep your business secure and in motion.

So, it’s helpful to bring in Microsoft 365 experts to give your IT leaders and stakeholders the complete rundown, and ensure no capabilities (that you’re already paying for every month) are left behind. Having outside expertise helps to quickly elevate your team’s acumen and approach on the platform while saving them hours (and hours) of research and testing that can be cutting into your user experience, innovation, and bottom line.

Rediscover Microsoft 365

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Our cloud services experts are here to support education and end-to-end services so you can get the most out of your Microsoft 365 environment. MicroAge is a Gold Microsoft partner—ready to architect, implement, and train your workforce in your Microsoft 365 and Teams environment—so you can maximize functionality and productivity.

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