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Microsoft SharePoint – Your Questions Answered

Microsoft SharePoint is an online cloud storage platform which is part of Microsoft’s 365 suite of Office apps.

Obviously, we constantly interact with data of some type almost every day. Businesses also rely on having data storage that is safe, easily accessible, and dependable.

Traditionally, all business data was stored on fixed media in our offices. Data was backed up to disc, which was slow to backup and restore; then, although some people still use tape, many people switched to using USB drives; and today, many people use onsite networked storage devices (NAS drives), which then sync online.

Many companies, including accountants that need applications not yet built by cloud providers, must, without a doubt, remain in this generation for the near future. Having said that, even if a company cannot completely migrate to the cloud, every company has some bulk data that can be transferred online.

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of Office applications, is an application that allows you to build SharePoint sites in the cloud to use for storage. Once licenced and installed, each site can have its own set of permissions for 365 groups and/or users, such as complete access, edit, read only etc, much like traditional Microsoft server permissions. Think of each SharePoint site as network drive that has been transferred online but which is used in the same way.

Why move your data to SharePoint?

There are many several benefits to moving your data to Microsoft SharePoint, including;

  • Going fully cloud-based can save you a lot of money on hardware costs.
  • Having your data in the cloud is often safer as there is no longer a single physical point of failure.
  • Cloud services are constantly updated and improved, unlike hardware drives which degrade over time.
  • All maintenance is handled by Microsoft. You do not have to repair or replace any part of the storage.
  • When documents are stored online, multiple people can access them at once. This lets a whole team collaborate on a document in real time.

How is my SharePoint data backed up?

Your Microsoft 365 data is not backed up by Microsoft. There is, of course, a recycle bin for your SharePoint site, but this is not a reliable long-term backup and is not intended to protect you in the event of a disaster. For reliable backups, we provide a low-cost Microsoft Office 365 backup solution that backs up all your 365 files, mailboxes, OneDrive, SharePoint, and more.

Are there other benefits to SharePoint beyond secure storage?

When files are stored available online, the possibilities for collaboration on such documents expand dramatically. Staff can collaborate on a document in real time. It is worth noting though that this can be fully managed with Microsoft Office 365 policies and further expanded with Microsoft Intune. More information about Carden IT’s Microsoft Intune services can be found here.

Here are just some of the benefits of Microsoft SharePoint:

  • Data can be accessed and modified via a web browser if the appropriate licences and policies are in effect. As a result, you can edit your Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel PowerPoint, etc.) from any machine. Microsoft 365 Multi Factor Authentication protects this data and ensures only approved users can view/edit it.  More information about this can be found in our blog post Microsoft 365 Multi Factor Authentication.
  • Multiple users can live edit documents at the same time, even from desktop applications, or from mobile apps. If this is not required, it can be disabled at the document or organization level.
  • If you also use Teams (the chat application part of Microsoft Office 365), you can share documents instantly from SharePoint in chats or display them in video meetings. You can read more about Microsoft Teams here.

I worry about the security of my documents in the cloud.

This is a concern we often hear from customers when we suggest cloud solutions. Microsoft offers several services to help you be more secure, including a Microsoft 365 Hardening Service, with which we can deploy a number of security rules on your 365 platform to protect your data. These rules could include the following scenarios:

  • Strictly enforcing multi factor authentication across Office 365.
  • Lock access to your location depending on IP address. You can set only your IP as a permitted IP.
  • Block data leaving Microsoft 365 using data loss prevention policies.
  • Remotely wipe company data from corporate device.
  • Wipe only company data from personal devices (such as in a BYOD environment).

Ready to make the move over to SharePoint?

Carden IT Services are here to assist you with SharePoint. We will evaluate your entire file system and carefully prepare the architecture of your new SharePoint sites before discussing the migration strategy with you. Depending on the amount of data, this work is normally done in stages, migrating each network drive individually to a SharePoint site. This entire process is normally completed with little or no downtime.

If you would like to learn more about SharePoint, speak to our team. We can help you understand the benefits of cloud storage, and of Microsoft Office 365. Contact us today for a free site survey.

Author: Jeremy Huson

Jeremy Huson is the founder and director of Carden IT Services LLC. He has nearly two decades of experience managing businesses’ IT networks and his areas of expertise are IT consultation and cybersecurity.