What is Office 365?

Office-365-Logo1-e1359473830656Office 365 is a cloud-based service developed by Microsoft to provide safe, secure, remotely hosted, web-based email, calendaring and collaboration services to business and educational institutions. The servers and software that underpin Office 365 are based on Microsoft’s industry-standard Exchange messaging platform and Microsoft Office productivity suite. These servers reside in Microsoft’s data centers throughout the United States. Microsoft provides, free of charge, basic licensing for Office 365 to all staff and students in K-12 and higher education institutions.

Key features include:

Why has the District migrated to Office 365?

FirstClass served the District’s email, calendaring, and web-hosting needs since 2001. It was adopted over a decade ago because it was easy to support and required little hardware when compared to other contemporary email solutions. The simplicity of FirstClass email and its low cost was an ideal solution for the District’s initial email system. Fast forward to the present, and here are some of the reasons for the switch…

  1. The IT department had received hundreds of requests from school and District staff to adopt an industry-standard Exchange-based email system in the past.
  2. Microsoft now offers educational institutions a feature-rich suite of email and collaboration tools, Office 365, at little or no cost to educational institutions. Office 365 provides these tools without the need for additional software, hardware, or storage equipment. Microsoft’s technicians and engineers manage all aspects of security, system updates, and data backups. They maintain a 99% uptime guarantee.
  3. The Florida Department of Education has adopted Office 365, and it is rapidly gaining ground in school districts, colleges, and universities.
  4. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Office 365 is built on the industry-standard Exchange email platform and Microsoft Office productivity suite (Word, Excel, etc.), which integrate natively to the most common computing devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones) and operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, and iOS).
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