Getting the Most out of Your Microsoft 365 Subscription and the Business Benefits of Going Serverless

Glowing light blue cloud icons with up and down arrows float against a dark blue background, symbolizing cloud computing.Many companies adopt Microsoft 365 just for email and don’t realize what they could potentially get out of the other features and functionalities they’re paying for but not utilizing. Two often overlooked apps you should consider leveraging to your advantage are SharePoint and OneDrive.

These applications can have a huge impact on your operations and spending. For instance, a couple of years ago, one of our clients – a Chicago-based non-profit organization – was considering replacing their on-site server. However, after our team determined that doing so would require a capital expenditure of approximately $20,000, it became clear that moving to SharePoint and OneDrive was the better option. After moving them to a more recent Microsoft Office 365 business license to ensure they had all the functionality needed to go serverless, our techs began the migration process.

It took just a few months to move all of the organization’s shared files to SharePoint and personal files to OneDrive. The client not only avoided the expense of replacing their server but also no longer has to worry about maintenance costs. They’ll never need to devote time or money to server upgrades ever again.

That’s just one example of how the businesses we work with as a managed service provider have benefited from transitioning from on-site servers to SharePoint and OneDrive. Particularly if your company already utilizes Microsoft 365 or Office 365 (learn more about the distinction here), it makes sense to leverage the supplier’s applications for file storage and sharing to improve your team’s ability to work from anywhere as well as lower your IT spending.

How Serverless Computing Works and Its Notable Advantages

Serverless computing is a type of cloud service that allows your company to access a platform to run or build applications on without having to maintain the actual infrastructure, according to “The CIO’s Guide to Serverless Computing” by Gartner. Despite the name, serverless solutions still involve servers, but they’re set up and maintained by the cloud provider rather than your business.

Switching from on-site servers to serverless computing can benefit you in various ways, according to Amazon Web Services (AWS)Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. The most significant potential advantages include the following:

    • Cost savings stemming from lower infrastructure-related spending. Moving your tech spending from a capex model to an opex one for the app development process can cut overall costs by approximately 60 percent, according to the McKinsey Digital article “Cloud 2.0: Serverless architecture and the next wave of enterprise offerings.” It’s also a flexible opex, meaning that you can easily scale the solution and add or remove licenses, only paying for the resources you need.
    • Greater scalability compared to on-site servers
    • Streamlined operations, since you’ll no longer have to install, configure and manage the necessary infrastructure

Subsequently, going serverless has become increasingly popular in the business world in recent years, ranking as the top-growing extended cloud service year-over-year in 2018 and 2019, according to the 2019 RightScale State of the Cloud Report from Flexera. Additionally, Gartner has projected that half of global enterprises will implement function platform as a service (fPaaS), a prevalent type of serverless computing, by 2025.

We’ve observed an uptick in serverless computing adoption as well, with many of our clients like the aforementioned Chicago-based non-profit migrating from on-site servers to the Microsoft 365 apps SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business for the purposes of sharing and storing vital resources.

OneDrive and SharePoint Offer Convenient File Storage and Sharing

The modern SharePoint app hosted in Microsoft 365 is ideal for companies looking to accommodate mobile and remote workers. Our techs can configure it so that your end users have the same experience utilizing it that they previously had accessing shared files on your network via File Explorer, so there isn’t a steep post-implementation learning curve. You can purchase SharePoint on its own or as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription, and it’s accessible from any device with an internet connection. It also integrates with all other Microsoft 365 apps.

Some key SharePoint features include the following:

    • Sharing files and folders across your organization
    • Finding files efficiently with a built-in enterprise-grade search experience

With OneDrive for Business, end users can store, access and share their files from any device. This cloud-based app comes with the following notable functionalities:

    • Streamlined collaboration with the ability to securely share files and work on them together with your team members
    • Intelligent search experience with personalized results via Microsoft Graph
    • Offline access and file editing, with any changes automatically uploaded the next time you’re online
    • Ability to scan and upload documents with mobile devices
    • Advanced security controls (e.g., encryption) to keep your data safe

Like SharePoint, OneDrive integrates with other Microsoft 365 apps, and you can purchase it as a standalone product or as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription.

The Next Phase of the Serverless Journey: Azure Active Directory

After moving shared and personal files to SharePoint and OneDrive respectively, we recommend that our clients implement Azure Active Directory (AD), a cloud-hosted solution that is included in certain Microsoft 365 licenses and is also available as an add-on. Our team can work with you to determine which option makes the most sense for your organization financially.

Microsoft 365 utilizes Azure AD user accounts for authorization and authentication. With this solution, you can create and manage groups and individual user accounts and set conditional access policies to further secure your Microsoft 365 environment.

Securing Your Microsoft 365 Solutions

Related to security, we’ve also been advising our clients to redirect funds historically spent on on-premises infrastructure to additional layers of security for their cloud platforms. While Microsoft 365 has built-in security controls, they only offer so much protection. As you move more valuable assets to cloud applications like SharePoint and OneDrive, it’s wise to invest in next-gen cybersecurity solutions that can collect and correlate data from various sources to provide a comprehensive view of your environment and help you identify any compromises as rapidly as possible.

You’ll also want to invest in high-level security expertise (e.g., Security Operations Center as a Service) and the development of internal processes for incident response procedures, disaster recovery, and information security overall. Our security analysts can assist you in developing and maintaining a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

Making Sense of Microsoft Licensing

Especially since Microsoft revamped its portfolio of business and enterprise licenses, there are numerous options to choose from, and determining which one is optimal for your organization can be confusing and time-consuming. We have Microsoft licensing experts on staff who can talk you through everything and help you find one that includes beneficial features, such as additional storage for SharePoint and OneDrive and access to Azure AD.

Ultimately, if you’re interested in going serverless and getting as much as possible out of your Microsoft subscription, our advisors have extensive experience preparing for and carrying out these types of migrations. We’d be happy to advise you and guide you through the whole process. Just give us a call at 877-599-3999 or email to discuss migration details.

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