What is Office 365

Office 365 is a subscription service, sold with per year and per month options, that allows access to various Microsoft software products and services. With an Office 365 subscription, you get the latest Office apps – both the desktop and online versions – and updates when they’re released.  Plus, a professional hosted email service, online storage and various other app services, from online booking to form creation (dependant on subscription level).

You can still purchase Office in the original perpetual license method but Microsoft no longer provides upgrades.  Therefore, to keep up to date, you have to buy another full, current version of office.

Office 365 Subscription Options

Office 365 Personal

One solution for you across all your devices. Includes premium Office applications for PC or Mac for 1 user.  Not licensed for commercial use so don’t buy this if you need to use for your business.

Same as Office Home & Student 2019 plus:

Office Application: Outlook, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only)
Services: OneDrive, Skype

Office 365 Home

One solution for you and your family across all your devices. Includes premium Office applications for up to 6 users on PC or Mac. Again, not licensed for commercial use so don’t buy this if you need to use for your business.

Same applications and services as Office 365 personal.

Office 365 Business

Best for businesses that need Office applications plus cloud file storage and sharing. Business email not included.  Good if you need online storage and want to keep your office apps up to date as well as using the collaboration features but have your email hosted elsewhere.

Office Application: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access (PC only)
Services: OneDrive

Office 365 Business Premium

Best for businesses that need business email, Office applications, and other business services.  The best solution for business users.  Everything included from email hosting and online storage to all your apps.

Same as Office 365 Business plus:
Services: Exchange, Sharepoint and Microsoft Teams

Office 365 Business Essentials

Best for businesses that need business email and other business services. Office applications not included.  Great if you already have Office on your devices but want a reliable and cost effective emails solution coupled with online file storage and collaboration.

Services: Exchange, OneDrive, Sharepoint and Microsoft Teams

Individual Applications & Services

Access – a database management system that combines the relational Microsoft Jet Database Engine with a graphical user interface and software-development tools

Excel – a spreadsheet featuring calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic

Exchange – a collection of applications that enable digital messaging and collaboration in an enterprise IT environment

Microsoft Teams – a unified communications platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.

OneDrive – a file hosting service and synchronization service

OneNote – a computer program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users’ notes, drawings, screen clippings and audio commentaries

Outlook – a personal information manager. Although often used mainly as an email application, it also includes a calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, journal, and web browsing

PowerPoint – a presentation program

Publisher – a desktop publishing application, differing from Microsoft Word in that the emphasis is placed on page layout and design rather than text composition and proofing

Sharepoint – a web-based collaborative platform that is primarily sold as a document management and storage system

Skype – a telecommunications application software product that specializes in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices.  Skype additionally provides instant messaging services.

Word – a word processor application including template and graphical options.

Would you like to find out more about Office 365 or set up a trial?  Have a look at our website for more information – http://www.acstech.co.uk/cloud-solutions/office-365/ and of course you can contact us for a demonstration or information on pricing and implementation.

It’s time to plan to replace your Windows Server 2008

Windows Server End of Life

Microsoft’s extended support for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 comes to an on July 9, 2019 and January 14, 2020 respectively.

If you’re running Small Business Server, that includes you!

Some businesses may be tempted to continue with the non- supported software after these dates as long as their virus protection is up to date.  But in doing so, businesses with these servers expose themselves to security attacks and make themselves out of compliance with industry regulations such as GDPR.

Don’t let the end of support for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 sneak up on you.   It is essential to plan now to avoid business disruptions as a result of leaving it too late.

What End of Support Means

No security updates

There will be no access to critical security updates, leaving your servers open to vulnerabilities and lack of compatibility as other software continues to update.

Compliance concerns

As support ends, your organization may fail to meet compliance standards and industry regulations by not maintaining supported and updated software.

Higher Maintenance Costs

Maintaining legacy servers, firewalls, intrusion systems, and other tools can get expensive quickly.  Plus, issues can take longer to resolve.

Support with Server Replacement Planning

More information on preparing for Windows Server 2018 end of life can be found at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-server-2008.

As time goes by, upgrading software on the same hardware can prove to be a challenge – sometimes it’s impossible and nearly always it will be poor value for money.  To avoid unforeseen problems, the need for hardware change should be assessed as part of your Windows Server 2019 planning.  Disruptions to your business will be best minimised by changing hardware at the same time as you move to a new operating system.

The end of the year may seem a long way off and you may feel that planning for the move to Windows Server 2019 can be delay for some months, but major changes in your network need to be scheduled for appropriate times in the business year and leaving the planning of a change to the last minute may lead to major disruption of your business.

Contact us for an assessment of your needs and support in planning your upgrade.  ACS will work with you to determine the best hardware and software to see your business through the next 5 – 6 years.

Windows Server 2019

Microsoft’s customer research revealed that four themes were consistently in business’ views of future challenges: Hybrid, Security, Application Platform, and Hyper-converged infrastructure. 

Hybrid Security

There is much debate nowadays about the relative merits and disadvantages of cloud or on-premise servers.  Often a hybrid approach, combining on-premises and cloud environments working together, is what makes most sense.  Extending Active Directory, synchronizing file servers, and backup in the cloud are just a few examples of what customers are already doing today.

Project Honolulu is a flexible, lightweight browser-based locally-deployed platform.    Microsoft say that “With Windows Server 2019 and Project Honolulu, customers will be able to easily integrate Azure services such as Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, disaster recovery, and much more so they will be able to leverage these Azure services without disrupting their applications and infrastructure.”


Security continues to be a top priority for businesses. The number of cyber-security incidents continue to grow, and the impact of these incidents is escalating quickly.

Attackers can stay in the penetrated environment – without being detected – for months if software is not up to date.  In Windows Server 2019, Microsoft have embedded Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) that provides preventative protection, detects attacks and zero-day exploits among other capabilities, into the operating system.

Application Platform

A key requirement of server software is meeting the requirements of developers.  Microsoft have already made it possible to run Linux containers side-by-side with Windows containers on a Windows Server, but in Windows Server 2019, they are improving Windows Sybsystem on Linux (WSL), to help Linux users bring their scripts to Windows while using industry standards like OpenSSH, Curl & Tar.

Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI)

The trend to HCI is primarily due to the value of using x86 servers with high performance local disks to run compute and storage needs at the same time.

Microsoft say that “In Windows Server 2019 we are building on this platform by adding scale, performance, and reliability. We are also adding the ability to manage HCI deployments in Project Honolulu, to simplify the management and day-to-day activities on HCI environments.”

For a further details on the benefits of upgrading to Windows Server 2019 see http://www.acstech.co.uk/hardware-software/servers/