Why Office 365 is great for schools

Saturday, June 22 2019

Office 365 is a safe, secure and exciting platform for schools. It incorporates the best features of Microsoft’s Office suite with their enterprise security and services, which help it become a staple of any modern growing school.

Office 365 is a safe, secure and exciting platform for schools. It incorporates the best features of Microsoft’s Office suite with their enterprise security and services, which help it become a staple of any modern growing school.

The tools available in Office 365 make teaching, planning and collaboration across all areas of school life work seamlessly. These are tools such as OneNote, Teams and School Data Sync, the best part of this is that it’s all free for education.

Being free doesn’t mean any less of a service. It is built on a platform which has roughly $1 billion dollars invested into security each year and Microsoft want this to be a safe, secure platform. Most commonly you will use Office 365 for email, by default the network it is built upon is robust and secure making sure your emails aren’t being snooped on, with some extra tweaks we can transform this into an even more secure and safe platform but you, the user, do not need to change the way you work.

  1. We have started to advise schools to move away from memory sticks and external hard drives. Each user in Office 365 gets up to 1TB of space in their own OneDrive, all data here is kept in a secure area which only you can access unless you want to share areas, folders and files. We have seen schools adopting this methodology and it is working extremely well. With the added benefit of the sync client, you can save files offline, make changes and then sync them when you're back online. This simple change can stop the ‘Where’s my memory stick?’ moments and, ‘Who knows the hard drive password?’
  2. We are in the process of advising schools and MATs to move shared areas to Microsoft’s SharePoint. Here you can create a full shared area available to all those with a Microsoft Office 365 account in your organisation. We have rolled this out at a couple of schools and it works well to centralise policies, procedures and forms, simplify communication and stop the all staff emails. But best of all it is built on a secure permission structure, which allows refined control to folders, files and directories.
  3. Adding in Teams can really be a game changer for MAT teams or SLT. They can create a centralised communication platform, with end-to-end encryption to keep messages secure and private, integration with other services and a real extensible platform to help push email communication down and pushing real time collaboration up. You can even bring in members who aren’t part of your Office 365, an easy way to build a multi-school collaborative area.

These three changes to your existing Office 365 can really help propel you to be a school of the future, all while using your existing Office 365 licence. Cloud computing is the future and Microsoft has made this a safe, secure and exciting platform for education. The biggest challenge is how we adopt these new standards and practices. For help on moving your school’s Cloud infrastructure to the Cloud, get in touch.

Moving into the cloud

We helped a medium sized multi academy trust (MAT) migrate all their schools shared areas to a custom designed SharePoint. We worked with them through the whole process working with each school to make sure it all worked effeceintly for them. Take a look at how we leveraged our Cloud Technologies service to not only meet their goal but also grow as they grew.

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Ben Cleary

System Architect