Why Microsoft SharePoint Online?
Many companies today face significant information management and sharing challenges. For example, workers today need to be able to perform these tasks:
• Share a common workspace with team members, to store documents and collaborate on projects.
• Publish, store, and view data—often from disparate sources.
• Quickly find information that is relevant to them, their job function, and their business area.
• Manage the flow of documents and tasks through a workflow system.
• Increase data security by controlling access, inside the corporate network as well as remotely.
Microsoft SharePoint Online helps organizations meet these challenges by providing a flexible Web-based solution with tools and services to help employees manage information and collaborate with others.
In addition, SharePoint Online reduces the burden of routine IT management and frees your IT resources to work on strategic initiatives that move your business forward. You have access to the latest technologies without having to worry about updates or upgrades.
The tools and services provided by SharePoint Online enable individuals and teams to:
• Upload documents to online libraries, share the documents with others, and manage how documents are used.
• Display project calendars to track milestones and resource availability.
• Show announcements and alerts.
• Publish blogs and RSS feeds, or provide a list of links to other blogs, forums, and resources.
• Maintain a list of contact names and information.
• Create navigation for your SharePoint Online sites that best meets your organization’s needs.
• Provide links to other important Web sites.
• Create specialized Web sites—Document Workspaces and Meeting Workspaces—to help manage particular projects or work items.
Features of Microsoft Online Services
SharePoint Online is a Microsoft Online Services offering. Microsoft Online Services provides a collection of hosted, Internet-based services that make it easier for your business to rapidly—and cost-effectively—access up-to-date communication and collaboration technologies.
Each service delivers business-class reliability and reduces the burden of performing routine IT management tasks such as installation, provisioning, ongoing maintenance, patches, updates, and upgrades.
SharePoint Online subscribers benefit from a set of features that are common to all Microsoft Online Services offerings:
• Secure access: Microsoft Online Services are accessed via 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. Anyone who intercepts a communication sees only encrypted text.
• Business continuity: Redundant network architecture is hosted at geographically dispersed Microsoft data centers to handle unscheduled service outages. Data centers act as backups for each other: If one fails, the affected customers are transferred to another data center with limited interruption of service.
• Intrusion monitoring: Microsoft continuously monitors the Microsoft Online Services systems for any unusual or suspicious activity. If Microsoft detects such activity, it investigates and responds as appropriate. In the unlikely event that a significant incident occurs, the customer is notified.
• Security audits: Ongoing assessment of the Microsoft Online Services infrastructure ensures installation of the latest compliance policies and antivirus signatures, along with high-level configuration settings and required security updates.
• High availability: Microsoft Online Services has a 99.9 percent scheduled uptime. If a customer’s service is affected, Microsoft Online Services offers financial remedies subject to the terms and conditions of the service level agreement (SLA).
• Support: Web form and phone support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the service administrator.
• Administration Center: This easy-to-use Web site is made available to service administrators for managing all of their Microsoft Online Services. After logging on to the Administration Center, service administrators can perform a number of common tasks such as adding and deleting users, adding contacts and distribution lists in Exchange Online, and creating and configuring SharePoint Online sites. The Microsoft Online Services Administration Center is also where service adminstrators can download software, such as the Microsoft Online Services Sign In application, Active Directory Synchronization tool, and Migration tools.
• My Company Portal: Your users can log on to the My Company Portal Web site to launch Microsoft Online Services. They can access services such as e-mail, create a SharePoint site, download the Sign In application—and more.
• Sign In application: This tool conveniently allows Microsoft Online Services users to sign in once and access all services without being prompted repeatedly for their password.
• Virus filtering: Microsoft Online Services helps guard against online threats. Microsoft Forefront™ Online Security for Exchange automatically removes viruses and spam in incoming and outgoing e-mail. Microsoft Forefront Security for SharePoint scans for viruses in intracompany e-mail and in all documents that reside in SharePoint Online sites.
• Active Directory Synchronization tool: For subscribers with an on-premise Active Directory service deployment, this tool helps keep your on-premises Active Directory and the Microsoft Online Services directory in sync via a one-way trust.
Sharepoint Online is currently based on SharePoint 2007 - Microsoft expect the update to SharePoint 2010 by the end of 2010.
A blog site, is basically a way for users to disseminate information to co workers, employees, press or the general public. You can choose who can see which blogs, use them for your employees or attach them to your website if you wish and a public blog can be a great way to help publicise your business. You can produce numerous versions of each type of site within your package – the only cost is the amount of storage space you require for all of your sites combined. The following videos use SharePoint as a base to help you understand what you can do with each collaborative site:
Meeting Workspace (How to create a recurring meeting)
Wiki Site (1 minute intro)