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Office 365 mixes new features, familiar feel and bridge to the cloud

Vangie Beal | March 28, 2013
The new Office 365 and its enterprise-grade cloud services are a good option for a business of any size. We look at the Windows 8 experience, the desktop-cloud connection and which of the new features will most appeal to both end-users and IT admins.

Office 2013 Administration Easy With Access Control, DLP

Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise uses role-based access control to make sure the right users have access to certain information and data loss prevention capabilities to prevent users from mistakenly sending sensitive information to unauthorized people. Built-in (and extensible) DLP policies are based on regulatory standards such as HIPAA and PCI.

There's also a new eDiscovery Center to identify, hold and analyze your organization's Exchange, SharePoint and Lync data in one place. This means you don't need to manage a separate data store.

All this means that IT is in full control over how files, software and data moves in (and out) of the enterprise. You can set up, manage and run the new Office 365 in the manner that best suits your business.

What's New in Office 365: Outlook and Word

Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise combines the latest Office suite with productivity services and compliance features that include unified e-discovery, data loss prevention policies and access control for IT. While each application is worthy of its own review, for now here are some highlights and new features in the enterprise versions of the four apps you're most likely to use: Outlook, Word, Excel and Lync.

Overall, Outlook has a cleaner and more streamlined interface. Content is front and center, and it's easy to maneuver with the touch interface. Something as simple as being able to hide the Ribbon lends itself to improved usability on tablets and small devices.

Outlook lets you embed applications, such as a Bing map app to a lunch invite, and enterprise security features (served by Microsoft Exchange) can limit access to those apps. In cases where sensitive data might be shared in an email, built-in policy tips warn users of actions that violate corporate policy. If users override the policy, the activity is audited, with a clear record stored.

Other interface and usability features of Outlook worth mentioning include site mailboxes to create a single folder, calendar and task lists for team projects and "Social Connectors" to view social streams from the people you're in contact with. LinkedIn, Facebook and other social updates are incorporated automatically.

While there are no new enterprise-only features in Word, there are some changes to the application that will improve productivity. To start, the best feature is "Resume Reading." Regardless of what device you last opened a Word document on, you can resume reading from any other device-all recent documents, settings and custom dictionaries follow your Office 365 account.

Track Changes have also improved over previous versions. You can use the standard view, which is easier to follow, and trigger the full mark-up mode any time to expand comments and view change history. You can save documents on your desktop PC or online to access from anywhere at a later time or share with coworkers. Finally, collaboration and sharing is fully managed under corporate IT policy and across all apps as a SharePoint feature.


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