IT as a Service in Cloud Services

Editor’s note: Be sure to check out some other posts we’ve written based around Office 365 and SharePoint Online here!

As IT admins, there are a multitude of on-prem offerings to enable users to use software to enhance collaboration.

While we as admins may be used to offering and managing the infrastructure of Microsoft products on prem- Multi-tenant services in Office 365 does not mean less administration, it means more business focus and evangelism.

Many services which were once domains of specifics admins (network admins, exchange, file shares, SharePoint, etc.) are now merging. For example, several services comprise Groups (Exchange, SharePoint, Planner, etc.). Teams are another example, and now include Skype, but are dependent on Groups and their underpinnings to function.

Administration of Office 365 and other cloud services still requires technical skill, planning, and coordinated ownership of the services for the business. PowerShell is still an essential component to managing Office 365. This is due to the fact that the Admin Center GUI still lacks some controls depending on the use case.

Benefits of IT as a Service in Office 365 Management and More

Being able to provide IT as a service with Cloud Services requires some extra foresight into a few areas:

1) User Management: Most Cloud Services charge based on active user seats. Finding a way to manage both internal and external users in Office 365 and others is essential to maintaining cost. User access is also one of the primary concerns regarding content security.

2) Security has changed in the cloud: Content stored globally is now subject to greater scrutiny. Think GDPR, FedRAMP for federal spaces, and other rules in different countries. Preparing models for access, content retention, and processes around removing data when asked by users or a government are now important structures to have in place.

3) Container governance: Another common issue seen on premise is supporting stale objects on premise. Think unused exchange accounts, SharePoint sites, file shares with terabytes of data. In the cloud, despite the low cost of storage, long term holding of content can increase costs both in compliance and archiving.

4) Archiving/records management: It’s tempting to simply lift and shift content from on-prem to cloud services. But many things, just like when you move should, may not necessarily need to go to the next location. Working with the business to remove things and prioritize valuable content is another important area to help IT manage Cloud Services.

5) Mobile management/BYOD policies: Employees often have their own devices they access work related content on a regular basis. Coming up with policies and controls to containerize content on a phone when an employee travels or leaves the company are important things to consider with cloud services.

6) SaaS solutions to fill in the gap: Many platforms like Office 365 provide many services and features, but lack many controls for the business or for admins to control potential issues. SaaS Services offered in the cloud can help fill the gap to better control and service Office 365 better for end users.

7) Hybrid approach for custom applications: Cloud services like Office 365 have helped many companies make major leaps in productivity and technology. Cloud services also help deploy new software and services faster than with on-prem managed applications.

Many companies do still require custom applications to meet business needs. Sometimes storing and managing these applications on premises will be necessary for some time. Working to make applications available where possible in the cloud will be a continuing challenge for IT admins.

We still see a need for employers to hire experienced and dynamic people in the industry to help maintain and grow the services needed by users to get their job done well.

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