Office 365 – The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based application used by many organisations and individuals to help streamline workflows and allow for team collaboration. For organisations in the digital age, every application has its upsides and its downsides.


Cons of Office 365:

Lack of control – One of the biggest detractors of Office 365 is the reality that it stores your data outside of your organisations control. So while the idea of no patches, complex upgrades, and reduced costs are an attractive benefit particularly for small businesses, cloud storage is not the most secure option for many organisations. Depending on the nature of your organisation, cloud storage options may or may not suit you.


It’s not a set and forget platform – Although in terms of privacy and authorisation this could be seen as a positive, Office 365 requires some training to be managed properly within an organisation. There is a management dashboard within Office 365 that can be accessed via administrator privileges and PowerShell. This can allow for certain restrictions and privileges to be deployed for separate employees.

Data mining potential – While they don’t share it with advertisers or disclose data to federal agents unless required by law, Microsoft do mine your data for their own purposes, which is never good.

If you’re offline you can’t work – Due to the online nature of office 365, access to the internet is imperative. You need to be online to work. You can add desktop versions of your plan to ensure you can work if you expect to be offline during a certain period.


Pro’s of Office 365:

Accessible – One of the biggest pros in terms of Office 365 is the accessibility. Programs can be accessed from anywhere, via login details or hardware. Working remotely is another cost-effective and attractive option for small and medium-sized organisations who may have downsized office spaces, or not be ready to rent out a central space yet. Office 365 is also an attractive solution for BYOD-based organisations that allows employees to access accounts from their personal hardware.

Global – Office 365 also allows for employees all across the world to work together using cloud-based applications – as long as there’s an internet connection, there’s access.

Collaborative – For employees working in teams that need to collaborate tightly, Office 365 offers the ability to co-edit documents, spreadsheets and more. Changes can be easily made no matter where each employee is situated, and links can be sent back and forth to provide collaborators with direct access to documents they need to work on.

Licensing model – Using Office 365 ensures that you will always have the latest version installed. You won’t have to go through the time-consuming task of uninstalling and reinstalling on each machine for upgrades. You’ll be able to access all the most recent upgrades and features as Microsoft rolls them out.

Privacy concerns – With privacy concerns remaining a prevalent issue in cloud-based services, BYOK (Bring Your Own Key) and HYOK (Hold your Own Key) can help to keep your data private even from Microsoft and to allow for transitioning away from Azure services in the future should this be desirable. A big thing to remember is that the model will change at some point. Before Azure and AWS there were other cloud options as well as on the ability to on premises capabilities. It would be naïve to think that in an industry that is constantly changing, that Azure and AWS will always be the dominant and best choices for providing productivity tools to the user base.


While in many cases your data will be stored with Microsoft, it is possible to set up locally stored data centres over cloud-based data. Cloud-based data can also be secured using additional measures available with the O365 suite. These measures can include; email encryption, data loss prevention, mobile device management, and advanced threat analytics.


Cogito Group is an award-winning cybersecurity company specialising in authentication, cloud security, identity management and data protection. Cogito Group protect the authentication methods used to access information through the use of Identity and other security technologies.