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Meet my Tech Expert! (Part IV of the Behind The Scenes series)

Meet my tech expert
This week in the Behind the Scenes series, I welcome Francesca Geens of Digital Dragonfly to the blog!  
I’m excited she’s here to talk to you about one of the main things that has made a huge difference to making my business work better.
If you haven’t heard of Digital Dragonfly before, you’re really missing a trick! Francesca works with busy independent professionals helping them work better with the tech they need to use everyday for their business, making it seamless and stress free!   
I started working with Francesca almost two years ago when my VA business was really taking off and I felt my tech, especially the way my emails were set up, couldn’t keep up with where I was heading, and I needed some expert advice on how to work better with my tech and make everything a lot more robust. 
One of the first things we got sorted out was my email.  I was on an IMAP account through my website host provider and it was glitchy to say the least! I had problems with my devices not syncing, and then one time when my website went down due to the host servers failing, so did my email!  A VAs worst nightmare! 
Francesca introduced me to Office 365 and I was sold!  It’s also something I get asked about a lot, so here she explains all about it, and why it is becoming a must-have for small business owners.

What actually is Office 365?

Office 365 can be various different services as there are many licenses available. This causes no end of confusion. You have Home versions and Business versions. Within the Business versions it can mean anything from just your Office suite of Word, Excel etc. to email services (Exchange Online) and data storage (One Drive for Business) and team working (SharePoint) to name the most relevant ones. 
All of these licenses are on subscription which is great for small businesses as you get to pay a small amount monthly and always have access to the latest versions of the software. 

Why is exchange email through Office 365 better than using my IMAP/POP3 settings? 

If you use Office 365 for your email you get an Exchange account rather than POP/IMAP settings – the advantages of this are:

It is cloud based and so will sync your email, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks between all your devices

You get a huge mailbox so you won’t run out of space or need to archive data

You don’t need to worry about backing up your data

If you are on POP your biggest problem will be that emails don’t sync between your devices and because data isn’t stored on the server you are responsible for backing it up which many people don’t do properly with email data

If you are on IMAP you are syncing your emails but not your calendar and contacts. Bringing this data together is really helpful as you have one account 

Its also very easy to configure on your devices as it just needs the email address and password rather than faffing with server settings and port numbers

It is also a very reliable service with a 99.9% uptime guarantee

You can easily add users and set up shared access to calendar or inboxes.

You have access to Out of Office.

Is it safe?  I hear that there are organisations that can ‘monitor’ my email without me knowing….

Data in a datacentre is probably far safer than on the computer you’re working on. You are actually most vulnerable if you don’t manage your passwords securely e.g. you use the same password for many accounts. Making sure you use a different strong password for every online account is very important.
Right now, in the UK, if the government needs to access your data then they need to put a request to you personally and let you know. They can’t do it without your knowledge. Any attempt by a government to access data in the cloud has been blocked to date. If you use Office 365 your data is held in the EU in their Irish and Dutch datacenters. 
Companies such as Microsoft and Google know their cloud business model would be dead if they allowed third party access. There is an interesting case going on at the moment between Microsoft’s European operations and the US Government on this issue – you can read more about it here
If you’re in any doubt then visit the Microsoft Office 365 Trust Center.

I often work remotely/abroad, will it still be secure and will I be able to access it? 

It will be a great solution as you can easily access your account from any browser. No different to accessing any other online service. Again you need to make sure you use strong passwords for your online accounts.

I already use my domain name for my email so why should I switch?

Great and if you are already on an Exchange account you are good to go though you might want to look at costings as Office 365 is likely to be cheaper. Otherwise you will be on POP or IMAP in which case see above for the reasons why making the switch is a good business move!

I’m only a small business, how will it benefit me? I thought only corporate organisations were able to use Microsoft?

One of the great things about Office 365 is that it gives even the tiniest businesses access to the kind of technology that larger companies have been using for years. Office 365 works just as well for a one-man band as it does for a multi-national.

Is it expensive?

Nope. You can get Office 365 Business Premium for £7.80+VAT per user per month and if you just want Exchange email this is available for £2.50+VAT per user per month.

Will I lose all my emails when I make the switch?  

We always make sure to move all the client’s old emails over as part of the move to Office 365. It’s a seamless process with no email downtime for you.
Sound good?  
francescaFrancesca is not just a whizz on email but on passwords, how to back up all your data securely, accessing your emails and documents on the go, as well as advice on general tech setup up and new hardware to name a few.  And she’ll make sure your computer is in tip top condition with regular health-checks so everything is working as it should be.  
If you’re interested in finding out more about Office 365 or how Francesca can help you, say hello
Thanks Francesca!

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