If you’ve been eyeing that shiny new Office 365 productivity suite, we totally get it. It boasts all the fancy features we love these days, such as simplified licensing, cost savings, and a cloud-based platform. It all sounds very well and good, but is Office 365 for credit unions all it’s cracked up to be?
As some of you may remember, we asked a similar question back in 2013, and at the time, our answer was “no.” We felt that there were significant drawbacks to Office 365 that posed some risks to credit unions.
For example, we were concerned about the loss of some control aspects, some of the security ramifications, and third-party plugin issues.
Well, it’s six years later and things have changed. We’re changing our tepid “no” to a resounding “yes.” The benefits of Office 365 for credit unions now dwarf any lingering misgivings we had.
Office 365 Cost Savings
Yes, Office 365 can save you money. Bonus feature: the cost savings are the by-product of simplified licensing agreements. It’s a real two-for-one.
We’ve already talked extensively about how Office 365 offers potential cost savings for your credit union, and you can read the full post here.
Older licensing models for Microsoft’s products were on a per-device basis. Any credit union that had more computers than employees—which is basically every credit union—was essentially paying for more than one license per user.
The primary cost benefits of Office 365 stem from a per-user license structure. One credit union employee can use their user license over multiple devices. Instead of buying three licenses for one user’s desktop, laptop, and home PC, they need only one license.
Additionally, Office 365 bundles several key functions in its license, including tools like Skype, mail servers, and more. And now, Microsoft has essentially made it more expensive to run your own exchange.
Increased Credit Union Security
We understand your security concerns about cloud-based platforms. We’ve watched The Terminator series and can imagine a world where Skynet takes over. We’ve also watched Hacker, so we know there’s no such thing as a truly un-hackable system. Most importantly, we’ve watched the evolution of Office 365 for credit unions over the years.
Especially during migration, with critical data moving to the cloud, your security can be a little vulnerable.
Nevertheless, we’ve discussed the security benefits of Office 365 for credit unions before here, and we stand by our assertion that Microsoft’s new platform is more than sufficiently protected. Microsoft’s efforts and team of experts have taken every measure to safeguard your sensitive information.
Third-party support was one of our biggest sticking points for Office 365 in 2013. Microsoft has been better about working with vendors to enable valuable plugins.
Years ago, getting something like an SSAE 16 PCI compliance was very challenging. Today, both Azure and AWS have nearly every type of audit and control that you can imagine. They feature a significant number of certifications that were lacking in previous years.
Too Good to be True?
We don’t think so, no. The benefits of moving to Office 365 for credit unions are numerous, and the drawbacks are minimal.
The hardest part of moving to Office 365 is the move itself. It can take months to prepare for and execute a move to the cloud. If the logistics of migration are intimidating, you can consider working with a third party to host your Office 365. Hosted solutions cut down on a lot of the legwork required to change platforms. Click here to learn more about Hosted Office 365 Solutions for your Credit Union.
Interested in speaking with an Ongoing Operations expert about Hosted Office 365 for your Credit Union? Fill out the short form below today and we will be in touch!