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10 third-party tools to suit your Office 365 needs

J. Peter Bruzzese | May 4, 2015
Office 365 is a rich solution, offering a bevy of built-in communication, collaboration, and productivity features. But the idea that Office 365 offers everything you might need, leaving nothing for third-party partners to add, is far from the truth. As with every other Microsoft product, a supportive ecosystem surrounds Office 365, providing meaningful and often customized ways to improve the overall Office 365 experience.

Exoprise CloudReady Monitor

Outages can cause significant angst for Office 365 users — or more specifically, outages that occur without adequate notifications. Here, many admins are looking for assistance in monitoring their Office 365 environments. Exoprise's CloudReady Monitor is one to check out.

CloudReady Monitor provides cloud-based application performance monitoring for any SaaS application, including Office 365, Google Apps, Salesforce, Dropbox, and so on. It tracks the speed and reliability of these solutions and provides IT with end-to-end visibility into their availability, so you will know when an app is down before a user calls screaming.

Citrix Enterprise Mobility

Microsoft recently added MDM for Office 365, offering a subset of its Intune services to Office 365 customers. Still, there are enterprise-grade third-party MDM solutions offering a greater set of control features that are worth a look. It's good to note that it's not an exclusive situation.

Much like Office 365's Exchange Online Protection solution, you can go with a layered approach to email security and MDM control. In the modern BYOD world, we see a need for an "enterprise mobility management" solution, and Citrix is one vendor with a solid reputation in this regard. Citrix Enterprise Mobility helps you manage and secure a compliant mobile fleet, essential in the Office 365 cloud/BYOD world.

Other MDM vendors of note include Sophos, Good Technology, MobileIron, and VMware AirWatch.

Sangoma Express for Lync

Lync Online (now called Skype for Business, aka SfB) provides a variety of solid features for Office 365, such as IM, presence, videoconferencing, screen sharing, whiteboarding, and file transfer. But it doesn't include enterprise voice (aka telephony connectivity) beyond SfB-to-SfB in-network calls. To make that happen you have to connect SfB to the PSTN (public switched telephone network), and that can be a heavy load. Enter Sangoma's Express for Lync, an all-in-one server appliance that includes all the pieces necessary to establish an on-premises connection to enable enterprise voice for Office 365 users.


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