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After some of the great conversations at #SPCon13 and in anticipation of #O365Con14 I’m starting to gather some updated material to share about Office 365.

I’m a fan of Office 365 and have been working with it both as a user and a consultant since it’s inception but have been quite focused on Private Cloud for a while so have not really had the time to devote any community bandwidth to it.

After the positive feedback around some of my other “10 things” lists, I’m gonna kick off gently with this post giving 10 things that I feel you should know about Office 365.

Like other lists I have put together, it’s a working, organic list – feel free to comment.

1. Plans, Plans, PLANS!

There are many plans (subscriptions) to choose from with Office 365 (see when you’re first signing up, choose wisely as switching between plan families is not possible.

2. You need Office 2007 or later

Your installed version of Microsoft Office needs to be the 2007 version or later to work with Office 365. To get all of the features of Office 365 you need Office 2010 or 2013. Earlier versions of Office will not work.

3. Monthly or Annual

Most smaller customers pay by credit card on a monthly basis. For larger customers, you can choose to pay monthly or annually and can also pay on invoice rather than by credit card.

4. You need Windows 7 or later

Strictly speaking, you can use older versions of Windows (back to XP) but to get the best experience, you need Office 2013 which requires Windows 7 or later.

5. Office 365 is Mobile Ready

With great support for web based access and applications for Windows Phone 8, Android and iOS based devices, Office 365 is seriously mobile ready.

6. Some plans let you install Microsoft Office locally

Certain plans include the rights to install Microsoft Office (currently 2013) locally and to use it on a subscription basis. The major benefit of these plans will be in being able to keep deploying the current version of Office locally.

7. You get 75GB of capacity per user as standard

With very few exceptions, Office 365 plans come with 50GB of mailbox storage and 25GB of SkyDrive Pro storage as standard per user. Enough for even the most productive of users.

8. Anti-Spam and Malware protection is built-in

Office 365 makes use of ForeFront technologies to provide Enterprise Class anti-spam and anti-malware capabilities for all email and content, great for small businesses that would not otherwise be able to implement such measures under normal circumstances.

9. 99.9% Uptime is guaranteed

Microsoft provides a financially backed 99.9% uptime guarantee for all but the most basic of plans. Without serious investment, few organisations could achieve this level of availability within their on-premises infrastructure.

10. Plans for Education and Non-Profit are free

Educational establishments and Non-profit organisations can benefit from zero cost plans if they don’t require the full suite of functionality. If they do need the advanced functionality available in some of the higher plans, they can top up with serious discounts.

more to follow…