What you should know about Office 365

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So I'd like to kick things off here by reviewing some important concepts when it comes to Office 365, and hopefully this will help us set a baseline and understand what Microsoft is referring to when it uses the term Office 365 in the first place, especially as opposed to, say Office 2016. When it comes to Office 365, we're talking about a suite of productivity applications and a host of administration tools that let you manage those applications.

So in terms of both of those things, Office 365 is web-based, it is cloud-based, it is subscription-based. Now even though I say web-based I want you to understand that you do still get a local install of Office with Office 365, so you don't have to be connected to the Internet to use the suite of productivity applications. Cloud-based really refers to the fact that data is not stored locally, it can be stored locally, but you also have the ability to keep data stored in the cloud, which means that it's accessible by any device, and I'll talk about that more in just a moment.

And finally it is subscription-based, which means that you pay monthly for the privilege of using the suite of Office applications, and the suite of admin tools that really are mainly the focus of this course. Now when you sign up for Office 365 you can sign up for one of many plans. How many plans exactly? Well last count, there were over 20 different Office 365 plans, but in terms of this course, we're going to be signing up for a business plan, and business plans support up to 300 users.

So if you need an environment that is going to end up supporting many more users than that, say several thousand users, 3,000, 30,000, then you'll probably sign up for an enterprise plan. But in terms of the topics that we cover here, even though I am signing up for a business plan, again 98%, probably maybe even 100% of what you see in this course will apply no matter what type of plan that you subscribe to in your Office 365 subscription.

Now I also mentioned a moment ago that you get a local install of Office, and how many can be dependent on the plan, but if we're talking about what we'll sign up for in this course, which is an Office 365 Pro Plus subscription, it lets you use Office on up to five devices. So the concept here with Office 365 is that you're able to access Office anywhere on any device, whether it be a Windows PC, an iPad, or an Android phone.

Office 365, as we mentioned previously, can be administered via a web page, and that will be the bulk of the administration that we'll do here. I'll show you some other techniques but most of it is going to be through a web page. That's why you don't have to have a lot of administration background, in order to administer Office 365, you just need to know which web pages to go to in order to do your administrative tasks. However, that said, Office 365 also supports the use of scripting through Windows PowerShell commands, so you can perform a host of tasks from the command line, and that can be helpful, especially as you get from 300 users to 3000 users.

Now one other benefit that I'll mention for now is that the software is automatically updated by Microsoft. So as a rule, you're relieved of the long-standing administrative task of pushing out service packs, bug fixes, and even entire product updates. As long as your subscription is active, you get the latest and greatest code. What we also want to familiarize ourselves with, in this introductory lesson about Office 365, is that there are core components of Office 365.

These are all of the things, the administrative things, that can also be part of your Office 365 environment, especially from an administrative standpoint. So you can incorporate Azure Active Directory, you can incorporate Exchange Online, that's a part of many business plans, Skype Online, OneDrive storage, and many others. Too many, in fact, to mention here. You can have access to SharePoint Online, Project Online, those are just a couple of the others off the top of my head.

Now as you continue in this course, and others covering Office 365 administration, you will deal with these core components in more detail. So for further information about what's next with Office 365, I just want to wrap things up by directing you to a couple of valuable Office 365 resources. One is a website, called community.office365.com. It's actually a Microsoft community, but that's the web address, of course.

The other thing that is helpful, or can be helpful, is office.com/roadmap. The roadmap is just that, it kind of gives you a look into the future about what new features, and components, and services, will be part of the Office 365 environment. In terms of the community resource, this is a great place to go ask questions that might be beyond the scope of this course. Now let me give you a quick example of that.

If you go to community.office365.com, you're taken to this web page, a little bit of a redirect here, but this is the page you should land at. So you can browse lots of Office information and get to community specific pages for Outlook, or OneNote, or Access, and so on, but in terms of the scope of this course, you're probably more interested in this resource right here, managing Office 365.

So if, after this course you start to administer Office 365 for your environment, you might be able to get the answer to a question that has already been asked. So for example if you are trying to change a plan, how to switch the license without losing the mailbox, that question's already been answered. So you can try to contact Microsoft Professional and wait, or pay for product support, or you may be able to get that question answered in the Microsoft community.

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For businesses with 150+ licenses Request Office 365 onboarding assistance from FastTrack

You can request remote and personalized assistance with onboarding. Our FastTrack engineers will help you plan your Office 365 project, assess your technical environment, provide remediation guidance, and provide user adoption assistance. For businesses with at least 500 licenses, Microsoft also provides personalized assistance to migrate data to Office 365.

See the FastTrack Center Video: http://aka.ms/meetfasttrack

Get started today: http://fasttrack.microsoft.com

Tip: Businesses with 1-149 licenses still have access to FastTrack guidance via links in the Admin Center and also available at https://aka.ms/setupguidance.

Network and system admins can prepare on-premises directories and connect to Azure to take advantage of managing Office 365 groups and users using common identities. Preparation, setup, and administration steps are demonstrated in this course using the Azure Active Directory (AAD) Connect tool. This course is designed to provide you with a better understanding of domain controllers, identity management, synchronization, and more. This course is also an exam preparation resource with topics that map to a corresponding domain in the Office 365 70-346 exam: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements.

Topics include:

  • Active Directory Connect and Office 365

  • Planning for non-routable domain names

  • Cleaning up Active Directory objects

  • Using the IDFix tool

  • Filtering Active Directory

  • Using AAD install

  • Synchronizing passwords and attributes

  • Creating and managing users and groups

  • Scheduling and forcing AD synchronization

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