We are big fans of Microsoft Office 365. From its built-in security features to it's 99.9% uptime guarantee, we believe that this cloud-based solution can propel your business forward.  In fact, we believe in it so much that we invited Microsoft to lead this week's Free Training Friday!


About Free Training Friday: For nearly two months, we have been holding these free, 30-minute training hosted by our industry-leading experts and innovators who will teach you about AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, the Abacus Private Cloud, and everything in between. If you would like to request a topic, please email webinars@abacusnext.com.

Video Transcription

Good morning or good afternoon wherever you are. My name is Allyson, and I am the Content Manager here at AbacusNext. Today, we'll be holding a very special webinar from both AbacusNext and Microsoft about how Office 365 can spring your business forward. Before we begin, here's a couple of housekeeping notes. Please ask questions the throughout the webinar and they will be answered in the order they were received. It's going to be about a 45-minute presentation with a 15-minute Q&A at the end.

Today's hosts are Julie North, the Industry Marketing Development Manager at Microsoft, and Tomas Suros, AbacusNext, Chief Solutions Architect. Thank you again for joining us, and I'll let them take it away.

Thank you, Allyson. This is Julia North. Thank you for allowing me to participate. As you mentioned, I'm an Industry Market Development Manager with Microsoft. I work with great partners like AbacusNext, who offers Cloud Services, specifically, in this case, Office 365.

Perfect, and my name is Tomas Suros. I am the Chief Solutions Architect for Practice Automation with AbacusNext. I've actually been with the company for over 12 years now. I've seen a lot of the innovation firsthand, including our move to our private cloud environment and a recent acquisition. It's an exciting time for us and I appreciate everyone attending. We have a lot to cover, so we might as well jump in.

First, I want to just recognize how the company AbacusNext and Microsoft have been working together for some time, right? It's a powerful combination, mainly because the core features of our offerings are so complimentary. Whether you're using Abacus Law or whether you're using Amicus Attorney, they both feature deep integration with Office 365.

Having worked together over the years and actually having quite a bit of growth and success in the last few years, both in the private cloud environment and on-site, whether you're installed locally or running in the cloud, there is that synergy. It's the connection between Abacus and Microsoft in a very vital way, including in our seven data centers. We are Gold Certified as a Microsoft partner, and of course, on the software level, we are Silver Certified. I think maybe speaking to the software a bit more, I wanted to touch on the private cloud as a whole and how Office 365 and all the components, the tools that are built into that system can help all clients of the private cloud collaborate, communicate, have access to the information they need regularly.

What is the Abacus Private Cloud? I'll touch on that very, very quickly. It is, in fact, a private cloud and we draw that distinction between the public clouds because in a private cloud the encryption and authentication controls that are built directly into the architecture of that cloud. Because it is private cloud hosted your data is available whether you're at the office or at home, traveling, wherever you may need it using whatever device. During any session, you have access to your virtual desktop, which is part of your organization's private cloud infrastructure.

Within that environment, you have protection, you have disaster coverage built in. You have business continuity tools, all the documents, both with backup and real-time access to them, version control and the Office 365 suite. With AbacusLaw and Amicus Attorney, you can actually have integration with the core business tools built into Office 365, and of course, some of the advancements that Julia will cover as we move forward during this presentation

Some of the elements of the integration I did wanna call out specifically, document generation and document management as a built-in component of Microsoft Word, for instance. A deep integration with Outlook, and understanding that the volume, just the number of electronic communications, email messages that we're sending, receiving on a daily basis is increasing exponentially. We're now using it to collaborate, to send requests for information, to receive information, to send documents of whatever type. Being able to manage that in Outlook, integrated with your case management software or platform of choice is a huge advantage.

Not only that but also being able to track your time and bill, for instance for efforts spent working with emails, those types of communications with clients and other parties. That's something where a lot of our clients have identified a return on their investment because they're using Outlook, and the core advantages and tools built into Outlook and an exchange server where your real time access to all the information you need to provide the best services to your clients. All of that is leverage and is a true advantage of using the Office 365 platform as one of your tools, with AbacusLaw or Amicus Attorney in your virtual desktop in the private cloud.

That's kind of quick overview, but the mobility, the access and the security, right the compliance, the ability to make sure that whether it's HIPPA or any or the other high-level controls and protections that you need, that's really what is at the core, at the true architecture of the infrastructure that Abacus Private Cloud can bring to any client using case management software from Abacus, as well as, the Office 365 tools using them hand-in-hand. That's a quick overview of the Abacus Private Cloud. Any questions, I'm happy to answer them at the end, and now we'll shift back to Julie and her overview of some of the core advantages of Office 365 and its recent enhancement.

Thank you, Tomas. When we speak of Office 365, we really talk about productivity, and you think about what does that mean? That means the ability to work socially, work basically from any location, ensure that you've got the highest level of security and be as efficient as you can be. I imagine in the legal space, efficiency is key. I mean, it's critical. Nobody today has time for things not working well or working seamlessly.

What I'm showing you is a scenario of the value or productivity. This is based on a larger organization. They studied 63 organizations when doing this, but I think what is fundamentally interesting about this and impactful is that Forrester estimates a seven-month payback in our 163% 3-year return on ROI for an organization of 6,000 employees moving to the cloud and moving to Office 365.

Those savings come from better access to the right information as Tomas mentioned previously in some of the features in Outlook. Better communication. Communication is key. That ability to communication and sometimes to even collaborate real time, without having to send documents back and forth.

Mobility. I don't know anybody that doesn't work across multiple devices and isn't running from location to another. Security is always critical, especially when you're in a vertical like the legal industry or an industry where you have compliance and regulations and you absolutely have to have the utmost privacy respect for your clients.

Then, of course, efficiency. Next slide. Why does this matter so much? I always think these stats are so interesting because the way that we work has dramatically changed. From, when I started in the workforce to today it's just amazing how much collaboration and anywhere collaboration and mobility has absolutely changed.

They say 50% of users of business email will primarily access it from a surface tablet or a mobile device. That was as of 2016. As you can imagine, that probably 70% or more of users will access their business email primarily from a device other than a PC sitting at their desk.

3.5 million SMB's that will use instant collaboration apps by 2018, and I think we're actually probably exceeding that at the rate that Office 365 is growing.

2.5 million that will be using web conferencing. I have a lot of passion around web conferencing and Skype for business because I personally sit in ... I use it literally all day long talking to different companies and different people. Without that, I would not have the ability to do my job from a remote location.

71% of SMB's that believe mobile apps will entirely replace traditional solutions in the near future. That's an amazing stat, especially as we have younger generations that are coming into the workforce that are just driving that change even more so

We have to ask, you have Office 365. There's obviously other solutions out there. I would imagine that everybody on this call is using email in some fashion, so the question is what toolset do you prefer? If you're going to work in your garage and build something, do you want the one on the right-hand side that has everything and is very clean and professional or do you just want to use some old tools that are cobbled together that likely you're not even sure how well they'll actually survive, if they'll survive actually building what you're looking to do? I think obviously the one on the right-hand side, is what we look at, Office 365.

It is not a lot of cobbled solutions together or does not require people to use to start apps. It really is a single solution all-in-one.

If anyone is unaware of what Office 365 is I just want to cover that because I think it's important. Office 365, what it is today is so much more than it was even a year ago. Office 365 includes Office Pro Plus, all of your favorite applications you're used to and comfortable using, from Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Excel, but it also includes Exchange Online that syncs with your Outlook. Skype for Business, SharePoint Online, 1 terabyte of OneDrive for Business, Yammer for social, and now, in some of these we'll talk about Delve, Planner, Flow, Microsoft Teams, Sway with apps growing literally on a monthly basis.

What makes Office 365 so substantial and why it really has been growing at the rate that it has is it truly is the gold standard for business. It's Word, Excel, PowerPoint. The fact that you've got Skype for Business, you truly can be on a call, collaborate from anywhere. You can set up a Skype meeting directly from your Outlook, and the fact that you have OneDrive that you can sync all of your files across all of your devices, it really is the gold standard of a collaboration application.

What makes Office 365 so substantial and why it really has been growing at the rate that it has is it truly is the gold standard for business. It's Word, Excel, PowerPoint. The fact that you've got Skype for Business, you truly can be on a call, collaborate from anywhere. You can set up a Skype meeting directly from your Outlook, and the fact that you have OneDrive that you can sync all of your files across all of your devices, it really is the gold standard of a collaboration application.

Today, instead of going deeper into what you know Office 365 for, we're going to talk about what some of the new features are that have come out in the last year. Why I think you'll find this so interesting is that you'll realize that there is so much more to Office 365. For that monthly subscription that you pay, you are probably paying twice that when you're paying for separate conferencing, a separate booking tool, and you have your email, and you maybe have a separate site where you can collaborate and put documents, and you may even have separate project site.

We're going to cover some of these new features in the rest of the webinar.

First, I'm going to talk about modern meetings. As I said, this is one of my apps that I am the most passionate about. If you look at organizations like yourself that have 6 to 150 employees, 18% of them use multiple solutions. That means that they may be using three different calling solutions. People may be using their own, which means that they are bringing unsanctioned company apps into the company environment and network, which puts you at a great security risk.

If you look at conference spending, on average it is anywhere from $22 to $36 a month. If you think about it, if that's a monthly fee, that is in many cases greater than going with one of the richest Office 365 suites that you can get from AbacusNext. Then we have conference initiators and then, of course, what is shared versus individual? I think this is an interesting stat that 51% of businesses have a shared conferencing tool. That means they maybe have one dial-in that multiple people need to use. Again, that's not efficient, because if people are scheduling calls over each other, it really limits your ability to be productive and to maximize the time that you're working in the office or working from wherever you're at.

38% currently sit at GoToMeeting. 26% with WebEx. 12% with Skype for Business and Premium Skype. We are seeing that grow on a monthly basis. 

If you've never used Skype for Business, I just want to give you an overview of what that is. It really allows you to connect and collaborate with people basically wherever you're at. Unfortunately, I'm not, but I could be sitting on the beach doing this call with you over Skype. It's audio, video and web conferencing. It's got a very easy to use interface, rich collaboration tools. It includes IM and presence. You can connect with colleagues, customers, and partners. You can do it on PC and Mac in all of your mobile devices. Additionally, you can set up a Skype for Business call directly from your Outlook clients. Some of the tools within the audio and the video conferencing are things like whiteboards, the ability to share notes, and as you can see, the ability to do the video conferencing, where you can feel like you're all in the same room.

Skype for Business is included in all of the key plans. From a perspective from AbacusNext E3 is really where the suite spot sits. For users with the type of security needs that you have, but also with the rich features that Skype for Business provides. 

Again, that's okay. You can go, because I think let's not talk features, let's talk benefits. It's always about the benefits to the end user. It increases people productivity and encourages collaboration. I will tell you that we use IM where I work here at Microsoft. We use it on a daily basis. It's great because a lot of times we can go back and forth and we can solve a problem or deal with something that's come up that has something timely attached to it without having to set up a conference call and taking people away from other tasks that they're doing. It enables employees to work from anywhere. You can save from travel costs.

Again, the Call Bridge, as well as, the IM and P works, you can use it easily on your cell phone as easily as you can on a laptop or a tablet. One of my favorite features about Skype for Business is it doesn't require a dial-in. You can just connect to it directly from a link in your email. Reduce complexity for people and it minimizes support costs. In Office 365, it minimizes the burden on IT. Then, of course, a lower total cost of operating by consolidating all of your conferencing in one solution. It really is one solution that is, we've got very small businesses of 5 users up to 100 thousand users that use Skype for Business. In all honesty, we here at Microsoft are on Office 365 and use Skype for Business every day.

Another one of my favorites, OneDrive for Business. This is included in all of the office plans including E3. OneDrive for Business is basically and additional storage repository. I understand that that's something that AbacusNext provides, but this is one that will actually think and it's connected with everything that is part of Office 365. It will automatically sync with all of your files real time if you're on. If not, you can upload and sync once you get back on an internet connection. It allows you to collaborate in Office Documents real time. You can share them out. Again, like I said, you can file, sync and share in the cloud quickly and easily. It allows you to securely store and sync and save files.

One of the things that I think is one of the great benefits of OneDrive for Business is if I'm home and I'm not on my PC and I've got my laptop, I can access all of my files if I need to send something, even if it's later in the day. It's not like I've got to be on my work computer. I've got to go find the file. It's all saved in my OneDrive.

Additionally, you can use Outlook in Word to send documents to OneDrive for Business offline, which is great. OneDrive for Business syncs with your devices, and it will sync with all of your devices. You can take them offline, so no more carrying around the junk drive. Again, you can quickly sync documents back to Matter Center, which is an additional security layer when you're online again.

This is one of the newest additions to Microsoft's Office 365. We, again, use this here in the office and Microsoft Teams, this is really a hub for teamwork. You imagine you create a team that allows chat, content and people, real live time to work, go back and forth, quick access to information, it's integrated with SharePoint, OneNote, and Skype for Business, you could automatically do a Skype meeting from your team site. You can set up a OneNote, you can share the OneNote and you can download or touch files from SharePoint. You can work with Office and other docs right within the app. People can see content and chat history. It's visible to the entire team, so we use this to collaborate on, currently, we're doing it to collaborate on a training certification that we all need to take. People take their notes and they share them out.

If there's a problem with the site, they let people know. It's great because you'll just get a reminder and that way I know in advance before I got into the application, and I won't go to work on my certification, I know that there's an issue or that the latest notes have been uploaded. You can also use private chat for small groups and you can join a Skype call, as I mentioned and you can connect across multiple devices.

The chat history. That's probably one of the most useful things. Often then, you've got to go back and you've got to find that email. By using teams it gives you the ability to document information. Let's say you're working on a large project, it allows that you've got that history and you don't have to go find it and it's avail to the entire team. Next slide. Next, slide Tomas, and I do apologize folks. I think sometimes technology not work at the speed that we want it to.

There is the customization that you can do as well. You can add tabs to provide quick access to frequently used documents in cloud services. You can explore data and take quick actions with bots that are built in. They actually have some helpful tools to assist you with that. You can pull in Office 365 connectors for updates from 3rd party tools and services. If you choose to use an access developer previews and API's that are built in for integration. It really is a tool that you take and expand.

Bookings is another great application that they've added to Office 365. You've got teams. Skype for Business has just become more robust. You've also got bookings, appointment, and scheduling. It really takes it and it simplifies it. This is something that I can imagine in the legal industry is very important is having more than just shared calendars. It's having a tool where you can actually schedule appointments, potentially with customers and people outside of your organization. You can integrate it on-site or with Facebook or you can publish it separately.

You can create a bookings page in a moment. You can basically set one up for a specific client if you'd like to. You get automatic confirmations and reminders to reduce no-shows. You can create additional booking pages or add staff at no extra cost. It's one of those tools and it's included in Business Premium. It's one of those tools where you could basically use it and you could set it up by the client or you could set it up by a group of users that could be shared with multiple clients and multiple people. 

What are the key advantages? Of course, it delights customers. I personally, I love it when anybody from my hairdresser to my car mechanic, if I can set up an appointment online and I don't have to physically call, and the fact that I get reminders and email confirmation so that's it's secure. It saves so much time. Think about that productivity and the time savings again is that now you're getting reminders. People won't forget. You don't have no-shows. The owner and the staff can manage their own bookings and record customer preferences and customize it so that each individual within an organization could actually customize it to best fit their own use.

Again, I'll just go back to that decrease no-shows. I don't know many people that have never forgotten that they've got an appointment or something coming up. I love it when I get a reminder. That is something that is built into the bookings tool.

To take it a step further, if you look at StaffHub. StaffHub is yet another new addition to Office 365. It's designed to help staff workers manage their workday. This is kind of going beyond scheduling things. This is actual schedule management, information sharing, connecting to other apps, and as you can see, it's shared in all the plans that AbacusNext provides, but if you could imagine, so now you've got your email. You've got your one terabyte of storage with OneDrive. You have your Skype for Business, so you've got your conferencing tool. You've got the ability to do bookings with your clients and potentially other organizations that you work with. Then we've also got StaffHub, that helps staff workers who may be on managing appointments for their people, manage their workday better. Often organizations will have a single person that is scheduling across three or four different individuals and they need to be able to manage those calendars and simplify the process. 

It truly is work management solution for the modern workplace. If you think about it, any way that you simplify a person's ability to look across schedules, and I know that Outlook has shared calendaring, but again, if somebody can go in, they can have access to multiple people's schedule and they can set up those appointments and get it scheduled in an organized timely fashion. 

I think the thing that we want to really land here is the fact that all of this planning and all of the booking, Bookings Tool and Planner, all of that is integrated with all of the people that you're connected to in your Office 365 plan, your Outlook, your calendar and your Skype for Business. It's all integrated so that there's no point of failure where one program isn't speaking to another. 

Just some additional features of Planner. Planner Hub shows you all the plans that you're working on. Oh, you know what, I am so silly. I actually realized that we went to a whole new feature, and I was still talking about StaffHub.

This is Planner. The planner is actually taking the concept of a SharePoint site where you used to all sit and collaborate on a SharePoint site and it actually creates a planning site, where Planner Hub shows all of the plans that you're working on. You can build in metrics. You can assign tasks to people and it will actually track it, so it creates a team to track a plan, and you can assign tasks and actually track them to milestones with the planning process.

When we boil all this down, you've got all of your Office Pro Plus, you have your one terabyte of OneDrive. You've got Skype for Business. You've got your Planner. You've got StaffHub and you've got Booking, but all of this tied together would not, it wouldn't be valid in the workplace if it didn't have the highest level of security.

That's going to what we're going to pivot on is Office 365 and Microsoft actually has the highest level of security you basically can get. You think about the lifecycle of an email. The sender goes through multiple filters, three anti-virus engines, with Exchange Online, cleaned by those filters. It does a cross check, is it safe? Does it need to go in the spam file? It decides it's safe. Safe Links re-write. It double-checks everything and then it sends it out. If you look at it, the multiple levels of security that it goes through really protects an organization better than any email solution out there. 

Let's talk about Office 365 and security. The first aspect we're going to cover is Trust Center. Trust Center allows you to authenticate customer-specific information. It has improved compliance, customer controls and that goes across archiving, auditing, data loss prevention, and eDiscovery. This is specific to the E1 and E3 plans. You can access Office 365 compliance controls in the dashboard, and you can view relevant customer reports, such as ISO, SOC reports, Audit reports, and notifications. Again, this is absolutely critical when you work in a regulated environment, such as the legal industry. 

Built in with all of the security really gives the end-user if they want control on their terms. It provides built-in capabilities and customer controls, and it has advanced encryption with our RMS, which helps improve security. You really have the ability at the admin and client controls to impact what type of audit and information you want based on what's most important to your organization.

The Compliance Center. This is built into Exchange and SharePoint in the cloud, as well as, you can manage all of your compliance tasks to one place. That's critical because really the key behind Office 365 and working with AbacusNext is that you want to simplify your day-to-day tasks, and you want to simply any impact on IT if you're lucky enough to have some IT support, other than working within AbacusNext. 

eDiscovery, this probably one that would be at the top of the list of the legal industry. eDiscovery is critical. It's In-Place hold it protects content in place real time. You can query, you can find the date. You can search for things by date and relevant content quickly. This is very important if there's an audit. Transfer content for review and production. Again, you can share it across all of the key Office 365 apps, including SharePoint, Exchange, Skype for Business and just the entire Office 365 suite. 

Data Loss Prevention is something that's also built into Office 365. It greatly enhances your security capabilities and there are some new features that they've added, like DLP Policy Tips to actually help guide you to set-up the best policy for your organization. 

Q & A

Microsoft has rolled out the team, how does it coincide with development on Skype for Business as they provide similar functionality?

If Skype for Business is truly a video conferencing and in IM. When you use the team site, that actually is a location that lives ongoing, so you have a Skype meeting. Let's take a Skype meeting for example, and maybe you share something and then the Skype meeting ends. A team site, you can actually upload information. You can keep notes. You can use Skype for Business within the Team app, but it also shows a history of all of the communication, notes that have been shared. It's a great place to collaborate and to share things as a team. The idea is that a team can collaborate separately than, say, three specific people setting up a Skype meeting to have a very particular conversation.It keeps the information in the flow of the information so that everyone is able to collaborate and see what others are putting in. Your part of the team. You have access to it. It really gives you a broader view of collaboration and it keeps the history of all of that. 

How do I know if I have Amicus integration with Word?

Specifically, as part of your Word interface, once you've established in Office 365, whether in the private cloud or installed locally, setting that up, the macro in essence that helps you take a save as function and add additional functionality, which means it gives you the additional layer off then associating that document or is what we're talking about specifically, with a case or client record of file in the Amicus program.

If you don't have the toolbar buttons that for one, is probably kind of a training situation where I'd recommend that you give us a call because that's something that in a screen sharing session with your Office 365 program we'll be able to set that up for you in minutes and then walk you through the process. It's a real goal of those types of integration is you live in Word and you're working on documents, either brand new, or documents that have been around and you're working on a new version, really to then connect that, associate that and give access from a collaboration standpoint with the Amicus program is something we can help you with. Basically, with training and five minutes, a quick call to our support department they'll be able to set it up for you and then going forward you'll have that functionality as part of Amicus and the private cloud and Office 365 going forward.

Do the people you send items to or Skype with also have to have Office 365?

No, if I have Skype for Business and you do not, I can send you a Skype for Business meeting and there is a plug-in that you can download and it will have a dial-in number, so an end-user that doesn't have Skype for Business can still download the client. They can actually get into the meeting. They can also dial-in and they will have full access to the meeting like they were in Skype for Business.

How do I share files with clients if I'm in court?

Specifically, sharing files with clients, there are a number of ways that we've implemented that using Office 365 and both Abacus Law or Amicus in the private cloud. Specifically, being able securely to communicate, collaborate with clients is one of the features of SharePoint. With the E3 license of Office 365, you will be able to create SharePoint sites. Those sites give you the ability to share not only documents but other information and so, there's kind of a team site, it will become in essence an online location where clients can enter information. They can upload documents and of course, you can share documents as well, in a secure environment. That can also be implemented with OneDrive, wherein the private cloud you can actually not only maintain, create and manage the documents that are both incoming and that you create, let's say, during a case, but you also have the ability to then make those avail online through SharePoint and OneDrive.

Now, the document management within your case system, in essence, it's a link to where the document may reside. You can use that internally, within your private cloud to manage documents and associate them with case files, but then moving outside of that, being able to then take a document, still manage it with the software and the case files that you're regularly accessing, you can create a link in essence to that document that your clients can use and you can use, so it's a nice way of leveraging both Office 365 and some document collaboration and site sharing tools with the document management components that are built into your case management software.

I think there was an element of the question or a wrinkle to it where "What happens when I'm at court and I need access to documents?" Understanding that many times court wifi is spotty, maybe at best or if it doesn't exist or you're in the basement or something, for whatever reason you don't have internet access, so you can't access those documents that reside in the cloud. Something that Julia touched on earlier, and I'll reiterate here is the ability through OneDrive as part of your Office 365 environment. You can have on your iPad, on your laptop, whatever device you take with you to court, a folder that has local copies in essence of those documents that you're storing online as part of Office 365.

A good result of that is you can be in court and on your device, have access to all the local, in essence, copies of the documents knowing that you have full access to them and the next instance that you're back online, any modifications or any documents that you may have added to a folder that syncs up, the changes will then be pushed up to the cloud. There's that nice online, offline flexibility where you can identify which documents to share online and also which documents you also want to have access to offline, in essence.

It's a nice way to make sure that you have full flexibility and access to documents either because you're sharing them for informational purposes, you're sharing them for collaboration purposes, or to the second part of your question, if you are in a location where you need the documents, but you won't have a cloud connection, you certainly do have a method built into Office 365 to give you that control and access.

How is the Abacus Private Cloud different from the Office 365 cloud?

Okay, that's a great question, and the Abacus Private Cloud is really your infrastructure as a service. Everything from your desktop is at your beck and call. Every time you initiate a session you have your Windows desktop. It's a full E point 1 professional desktop. All the applications you need, all the documents you need.

One of the applications in that environment is Office 365, which means you have the full suite of Office tools, all the programs you need and because it's Office 365, all the updates, all the patches, all the things, the modifications and enhancements that are rolled out, you benefit from getting them immediately because part of Office 365 is just that. It is your subscription to the latest and greatest of all those tools.

The Abacus Private Cloud means that's your workspace. You initiate a section and you have now connected to your work computer understanding that that work computer is a virtual desktop available to you whenever you may need it. Of course, you flip the switch to close the session and everything's is preserved for you in that virtual workspace. Office 365 compliments that because the tools that you need, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook the Exchange server, all of that are built in the private cloud, meaning your private cloud desktop is how you access those tools with another layer being OneDrive, being SharePoint, being some of the other collaboration tools we mentioned today, where your ability is not only leverage technology and have your work computer protected, encrypted and available to you all the time, with the tools of Office 365 built into it, but you out of your private cloud have access to online versions of the Office programs and some of the other things we've discussed here, specifically SharePoint and collaboration tools and work sites and things like that.

It's really layers of the cloud with the end goal being the solution is you have access to all the tools you need wherever you may be and you're able to use those tools or leverage them to collaborate and share, communicate or take advantage of the services that are built-in to Office 365 that compliment Abacus Private Cloud.

When a potential customer wants to schedule an appointment online, can you require that they provide specific information in order to complete the appointment process?

That is a very specific user, and I believe that you can have certain information that is required.

With booking is that something that is created so that clients is able to book their own appointments between the allotted time we allow?

Yes, what you can do is actually you would send out the booking then set up the time in which they can schedule with it.

Can documents created outside of Microsoft program be accessed through the Office 365 cloud?

If you save it to your OneDrive, then yes.  If you were to send it as an attachment to your email, yes, or you could upload it to a shared site.

Those are the most efficient way to share documents, and of course, you know that you're describing may be many different types of documents, but almost all situations, the ability to create a secure kind of collaborative workspace, either internally for the firm, let's say you have a couple of locations or for whatever reasons you have maybe some teammates that work remotely, the ability to bring in documents via email, let's say, or that are uploaded to a collaborative state.

The real goal of Office 365, and of course, the Abacus Private Cloud is to give you access to those tools, one of the core advantages is it's the idea of a cloud is a hosted platform. Right? In many ways, what that does it simplifies your ability to have remote staff or satellite groups or anyone who can't, so let's say to be in the room or have a copy of a document that they may need at that immediate session using the tools in Office 365 and Abacus Private Cloud gives you the ability to actually bring together individuals regardless of kind of where they are. The goal being that document and other information, whether it's Calendar, whether it's information that may have come in via email. The ability to kind of pull that together, aggregate it, and then present it in a secure way is really the goal, right.

It's exactly how the tools in Office 365 are designed to be used and leveraged and Abacus Private Cloud gives you that kind of combined workspace as well. Individuals can log in from wherever they may be using whatever device they happen to choose or prefer, whether it's a smartphone, tablet, desktop, laptop ... There's a lot more flexibility in where you are and what device you prefer to use or have handy, but the real end goal is all the information and the documents that we've just described are accessible to the individuals who need them, and then their efforts and their work move everything forward.

SharePoint as well OneDrive is you can share files externally, as well as, OneDrive is you can share files externally and internally. You can set up an external shared site where you invite people outside of your organization or it can be used internally, which provides for a lot of flexibility within that safe environment as well.

With the Abacus Private Cloud I've gotten mission desktop in the cloud too, so basically we move all the infrastructure to the cloud. What happens to other legal business apps that are on Premise?

Basically, it comes down to your needs. I think in most situations the answer is yes, that you do move all of the applications that you rely on because that virtual desktop truly becomes your workstation. It's virtual, it's accessible wherever you may need it, but the goal is when you do connect and access that environment, it's consistent. It's consistent in being set up based on your user preferences based on your user preferences, based on which programs you have installed, and have access to other bits of information that those programs might manage for you. It's not that you're required. I just think that in many situations it's in your best interest to consider moving, because the idea is, it's not such a different paradigm than what you're used to now which is maybe an on-site server and workstations that connect to it.

It's just the private cloud really takes that paradigm and virtualizes it so that entire environment is not longer hosted on a hardware server that's local or a couple of servers that you put together some tools to make sure that everyone has access regardless of where they may be. Our goal is to create that similar environment, meaning all the tools that you need, but make it available wherever and whenever you may need it. Allison and Julia and I might be a few doors down in the same workspace or we may be across the country or traveling the world. The advantage is when we connect individually, we know exactly what the desktop will be and which programs will be installed within it.

Now that said, there are always caveats and specific situations where a program maybe is not needed by everybody in the environment. We can, not to over-complicate things, but we can create a private cloud environment with just the programs that you need to it and then any others that need to remain local for whatever for reason, they can remain that way. You would be moving from a local to a cloud, but that's not always necessarily a bad thing if it serves the current need. I guess my point is ideally, my goal is always to get an organization into the private cloud so that you know, consistently, you have access to all the tools, all the information, all the documents you need, but if that isn't the current need, we can also create for you a hybrid solution where the real goal is to make sure that you have the environment you need, with you're leveraging technology both in the private cloud and on-site.

One of the nice things about Office 365, specifically, with the E3 license that's part of the Abacus Private Cloud is not only could you have your Office components, you know the software tools consolidated in your private cloud virtual desktop, but the E3 license also gives you up to five additional, actually total number of installs is five, so private cloud, plus four other devices. That's one of the things we're thinking about local versus remote. It gives you that much more flexibility, so you could have the full Office suite on your laptop to use as needed, but also have that same suite of tools with that same license available on the private cloud.

I use a MAC, but I've used Office for a long while. Can I easily do a find and replace or many documents and letters on Office 365?

Office 365 is as usable on a Mac as it is on a PC. The answer is yes, you would use the Mac version. If you're downloading to your tablet or a secondary computer, but yes, you do have the same functionality on a Mac as you do on a PC.Why that is so important is, I was going to say, why it's so important is often a lot of us may use a PC at work, but we may have Mac device, and then we have a third PC device. You really want to be able to have the same experience across all three, which is what Office 365 provides.

Is OneDrive fully encrypted on Microsoft servers or is it just in-transit? Can Microsoft employees view any of my data?

No, Microsoft employees are not reviewing your data. It is staying on your own, imagine your own private cloud of storage and it would be against our policy violations if we went in, we actually tried to access or read any of the documents or emails that you had saved to your OneDrive. It is encrypted and secure.

In Abacus Private Cloud as well, the encryption of documents and information that you send and receive is encrypted both in-transit and at rest. I know that comes up often, and I know cybersecurity is a pressing need for all organizations clearly, but specifically law firms just because they've been targeted more and more. To that question, I think that's an important understanding is that the encrypted in-transit and at rest are part of the private cloud, as well as, the encrypted that's built into Office 365. Your ability to make sure that information that you're attracting and managing, you have full control over it and should you use the tools to share it, you also benefit from having the highest levels of encrypted available on a document-by-document basis. Then to finally wrap that up, also, the information that is in your private cloud environment, Abacus considers itself the guardians of the data, but you are always the owner of it.

As part of our conditions and the agreements that we have with our clients, our goal is to make sure that as effortlessly as possible we can help you move your information into the cloud and take advantage of the encryption and the protections that are part of it, and also, should you ever need to take the information out of the cloud, that's another thing where our company philosophy is to facilitate that in all ways. It's a very good question. I think it's timely, and the encryption levels are essential. That's something that built-in to Office 365 and a future of AbacusNext.

Can you explain briefly a little more about Booking and Scheduling? Would it be just like a regular calendar with daily appointments, upcoming events or meetings?

It is not a calendar. It's the actual ability to share and say, "I have this four-hour block of time, please go ahead and schedule." Let's say, user 1 comes in and they schedule at 2:00, it will come across into your Bookings tool, which will then coordinate with your Office 365. It's different than when you go into your own Outlook and you look to set-up a meeting specifically with an individual. It allows you to share it with 10 people and say, "I have a block of four or five hours." You can schedule accordingly based on what is available. If not, you would need to reach out to each of the individual people, have them look at their calendar or you would need to go in and look at each of those 10 people's calendars. Where Bookings can be such a great tool is when you are trying to coordinate setting up calls with a large number of people, five, six, seven, eight, nine or potentially if they're outside of your organization, you have the ability to share it, In a case where you may not have access to their calendar.It allows them to coordinate and you're basically saying, "This block of time, I'm available. Go ahead and book based on what works best for you."

If we move everything to the cloud, how do local peripherals work by that printer, desk scanners, label printers, etc.?

The idea is to not introduce obstacles to your ability to not only create your documents but also have access to them. Going to the private cloud and specifically to your question, there are tools built into the architecture of the private cloud that could help you have access to ... let's say I'm at work and I'm connected to the cloud from my work environment. Any multi-function device within that environment is immediately available to me to print to. Some of the things that come up often, and maybe specifically to your point, scanners and a device that may be at the office, but I'm connecting from home.

We have secure tunnels that we can create as part of your private cloud environment that where you are with your networks you're connected to, you'll have access to any devices that are part of that network, that's a built-in function of it, but taking it to the next level you also, we have the ability to help you implement a situation where you could be working remotely or from home and send a print request or session to a device that's at a different location. There is a question that comes down to the specific need. Whether it's a scanner device that's hard connected to your device you happen to be using, you certainly can use that to create documents that either are stored in a folder that it will sync up with the private cloud or you can actually create either a standard print session and have that document that resulting document be sent immediately to the cloud. One of our goals is to eliminate the feeling that you're remote controlling something far away. Instead, your local devices and even devices that are stored at locations that are necessary for you to have access to regularly.We have secure tunnels that we can create that give you access to those, a label printer or a multi-function scanner or a high-capacity printer. Something like that.

Want more Free Training Friday? Register for upcoming webinars here