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On The Calendar & What's New With UsFulcrum Group September Calendar Does your small organization have advanced threat protection needs? Learn more about Cisco's ASA with FirePOWER Solutions in this 60-minute webcast on Monday, 9/21 at noon - Q&A with experts following. Register on our Events page today! Be sure to follow us on social media and you'll be alerted to dates & times of more helpful webinars, events and good stuff to know. Quick links to our social media pages are accessible right from our website and in every monthly newsletter email you receive from us!If you're new to our newsletter and you'd like to subscribe, let us know.  
Which Version of Office 365 Fits Your Biz Best? On many occasions we've touted the virtues of looking to the Cloud when it comes to efficient and affordable technology options for small to midsize businesses.  Microsoft's alternative to the traditional desktop office suite, Office 365, offers the familiarity of its Office environment with expanded options for social networking, mobile devices and Cloud-based service. Microsoft's 3 separate subscription plans are designed to incorporate more options for social networking, mobile devices and cloud-based services for an evolving workplace and have updated their pricing and user allotments as well. Here's the breakdown of each Office 365 plan, what's included, and some insight on renewing your existing plan:
  • ""Office 365 Business Essentials – in a nutshell is the online version of Office software plus Hosted Exchange.  It includes Office Online, OneDrive for business with 1 terabyte of online storage per user, Exchange-based email with contacts and shared calendars, online meetings via Web conferencing and instant messaging, Sharepoint-based team collaboration and Internet portals, and a private social network via Yammer. The version costs $60 per user on an annual basis and $6 per user per month on a monthly basis. Maximum of 300 users.
  • Office 365 Business – this is the subscription version of the full Office suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher), and it includes OneDrive for Business, and Office Online.  It DOES NOT include Hosted Exchange email. Users can also access and share documents across a variety of platforms, including Windows on PCs and tablets, Windows Phone, Mac OS X, and the iPad. Each user can install Office on up to 5 tablets/smart phones.  Priced at $100 per user on a yearly basis and $10 per user per month on a monthly basis. Maximum of 300 users.
  • Office 365 Business Premium – this is the most common subscription plan.  It includes a subscription to the full Office suite plus Hosted Exchange email.  In other words, everything included in Office 365 Business Essentials and Business.  This one will cost you $150 per user annually and $15 per user per month each month and replaces Office 365 Midsize Business, which cost $15 per user per month.  Maximum of 300 users.
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1 – this is the Hosted Exchange only email subscription plan.  If you have already invested in Office software by purchasing outright, you can choose this option.  It does include online versions of Office, online meetings via Web conferencing and instant messaging, Sharepoint-based team collaboration and Internet portals, and OneDrive for business.  Annual subscription is $96 per user.  Unlimited users.
  • Office 365 Enterprise E3 -  this subscription plan combines the features of Business Premium, and adds advanced enterprise functionality such as Compliance and Information Protection, and eDiscovery Center tools.  If you need email archiving or email encryption, this may be the best plan for you.  Annual subscription is $240 per user.  Unlimited users.
To see a more detailed comparison, go here. Microsoft is promising greater flexibility if your business grows. As you add more employees, you can easily switch to a different business plan, opt for an Enterprise plan, or add specific applications such as Microsoft Project or Microsoft Visio. Let us know if we can help you decide which plan might be the perfect fit for your organization or if you would like assistance with renewal options.  
Better Office CollaborationFulcrum Group tips for better office collaboration Work is no longer a place people simply go from 9-5. From business owners and managers working many hours from home (in addition to their regular schedules), to full-time employees, part-timers, contract workers and consultants, workplace flexibility is a hot topic for 2015. Hours in a day are more in demand now than ever, and much evidence suggests effective online collaboration can increase productivity and efficiency in organizations of all sizes. Technology-based collaborative efforts can include video conferencing, file and document sharing, instant-messaging, and other platforms to enable quicker contact and easy sharing of resources among coworkers and authorized third parties. Some suggestions for better office collaboration from the IT experts at The Fulcrum Group include:
  • File sharing SPOT Cloud Drive lets SMBs share almost any kind of file securely and enable simultaneous review and revision by multiple authorized users. SPOT Cloud Drive file sharing eliminates the need for relying on multiple versions and back and forth email attachments, and allows you to access your documents anywhere, anytime, and on any device or computer.
  • Web and video conferencing Business apps such as AnyMeeting, Cisco WebEx, Fuze, GoToMeeting, and others give managers, employees, vendors, and other third parties the benefits of face-to-face communication without the costs of business travel.
  • Communication apps While email remains a primary communication tool for businesses, apps geared for social collaboration provide an opportunity for more conversational communication, with the functionality and ease-of-use common to many social media platforms.
  • Unified Communications In the past, Unified Communications solutions were too costly for small businesses, and typically only enterprises could take advantage of them.  Digium Switchvox changes all of that by bringing advanced unified communications functionality such as voicemail to email, VOIP mobility, call center, and CRM integration to small businesses at an affordable price.
Small to midsize businesses, their workers, and their customers are using cloud-based tools in increasing numbers, driven by the need to work from anywhere, at any time, and from any device. If you’d like to discuss the ways better office collaboration might impact your organization, reach out to us today.
SPOTlight On: Josh CasasThe Fulcrum Group - Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts Here's some fun stuff to know about Fulcrum Group Help Desk Engineer, Josh: 1.  He plays bass, acoustic and electric guitar. 2.  He enjoys cooking and enjoys new ways to do basic stuff - ask him about his innovative egg poaching procedure. 3.  He once helped construct a stage for a private Willie Nelson concert and enjoyed hanging out for a bit with Willie afterward. Of that memorable occasion, he says "Willie's rumored partying habits are all more than true." Welcome, Josh!  
Tech TipTech Tips from The Fulcrum Group, Dallas Fort Worth IT Managed Services Providers: Office 365 Search Bar Renewals Specialist, Tyson Rasanen is always a treasure trove of tips & tricks. He says, "The Office 365 search bar is your friend!  A lot of functions in Office 365 can be in multiple places (i.e.,some features are under Admin> Exchange Admin Center while some are managed through the regular Office 365 Admin Center - think basic view versus advanced view)." So if you aren’t sure where a feature is, Tyson suggests using the search bar at the top of the admin center.      
Did You Know...Office 365 & HIPAA The Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT ExpertsDid you know Office 365 is a HIPAA Certified Email Product? If you're an organization that has to meet HIPAA standards for compliance, you'll want to investigate. Contact your Fulcrum Group Account Manager today to find out more!