One of the big selling points of Office 365 is escaping the backend maintenance and upgrades. While there are regular updates monthly and quarterly, customers will benefit from a significant upgrade this year:
- Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint are upgraded to 2013.
- Office Professional Plus 2013 may be downloaded.
- Each user now has 7GB of SkyDrive storage versus previous 500MB.
- Forefront Online Protection for Exchange is upgraded to new Exchange Online Protection.
- Lync video conferencing and chat now is in HD.
- Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8 are discontinued April 8, 2014 and are not supported to reliably connect to Office 365.
- Office 365 E3 customers enjoy Rights Management, Data Loss Protection, and various new SharePoint templates including e-discovery.
How it works is Microsoft sends a notice e-mail of scheduled upgrade with the upgrade date (usually a Friday). For the most part the upgrade is seamless and no impact on customers. However, we have observed the following:
- Outlook 2007 users sometimes must repair their Outlook profile and then switch from offline to online.
- There may be a few days after the upgrade where you are unable to change SPAM and other related policies while Exchange Online Protection upgraded completes.
Approximately 40% of our customers were upgraded in Q1. The official statement from Microsoft is that customers will be upgraded throughout the year, but progress is steady and it seems our over 5,000 subscribers will be upgraded by mid-year.