Microsoft Office 365 Free To Qualifying Nonprofits

Microsoft now offers the entry-level, E1 plan of its Cloud-based, Office 365 service free to qualifying nonprofits. 

The Office 365 E1 plan includes Exchange Online (email, contacts, calendar, tasks), SharePoint Online (collaboration) and Lync Online (text and video conferencing).  To see our overview of Microsoft’s Office 365, visit Bryley Office 365 Presentation 4-24-2013.pdf.

The process to determine if your organization qualifies for this free service:

  • Sign-up for a free, 25-user trial of the Microsoft Office 365 E3 plan*
  • Fill-out the account information (name, organization, address)
  • Create a user ID (and agree to the Terms and Conditions)

Once the application is completed and the free-trial accepted, Microsoft will notify your organization if it qualifies as a non-profit.

*Note:  The E3 plan includes all of the features of the E1 plan plus the latest version of Microsoft Office desktop suite and other items.  It is not free, but is deeply discounted to qualifying non-profits.  Upon qualification, you may convert some or all of your users to the free, E1 plan.

Here is the site for Office 365 Enterprise E3 Nonprofits Trial.

Comparing Cloud-based services – Part 3: Backup and Recovery

Many Cloud-based services fall into one of these categories:

  • Productivity suites – Applications that help you be more productive
  • Storage – Storing, retrieving, and synchronizing files in the Cloud
  • Backup and Recovery – Backing-up data and being able to recover it
  • Prevention – Prevent malware, typically spam and related components
  • Search – Find items from either a holistic or from a specialty perspective

In this issue, we’ll explore popular options within Backup and Recovery, the highlighted item above, and compare them with one another.

Backup and Recovery automatically copies files and folders to an offsite location at periodic intervals.  It is similar to Storage, but is unique in that these files are held separately, unchanged, for the purpose of restoration (recovery) if the original files become unavailable.  Backups are typically encrypted and are somewhat resistant to malicious attacks; however, if the original files were infected before the backup process begins, the backup files will also be infected.

Recovery is the reason for backups.  The most common recovery scenarios:

  • A user changes a document and then wishes to retrieve the previous version.
  • Changes are saved to a template document, rather than creating a new file.
  • An upgrade to an application fails and corrupts its data files.
  • Access is needed to a deleted file.

Popular, Cloud-based, Backup and Recovery services include (alphabetically):

  • Carbonite – Extremely popular; starts at $59.99/year per device
  • Mozy – Also well-known with prices starting at $5.99/month for up to 50Gb
  • SOS Online Backup – Starts at $9.99/month for 100Gb; unlimited devices
  • SugarSync – More synchronization than backup starting at $7.49/month

Carbonite

Carbonite is automated, encrypted, and easy to use.  It is available for home users, but includes business-oriented plans.  Home-user plans are per-device; each device is priced at $59.99/year with unlimited backup.  Business plans start at $299.99/year with an unlimited number of devices.

Visit www.Carbonite.com.

Mozy

Mozy is a subsidiary of EMC, a Fortune 500 company in Hopkinton, MA.  Like Carbonite, they offer both home and business packages.

There is a free version, but most MozyHome plans start at $5.99/month per device with up to 50Gb. The business option, MozyPro, starts at $19.99/month for unlimited devices up to 50Gb; $26.98/month with servers.

Visit www.Mozy.com.

SOS Online Backup

Plans from SOS Online Backup do not restrict the number of devices, but their base plan is restricted to a single user starting at $9.99/month.  Plans that include unlimited devices and unlimited users start at $99.99/month and include monitoring, password encryption, and phone support.

Visit www.SOSOnlineBackup.com.

SugarSync

SugarSync is more of a folder-synchronization service than a backup service; it synchronizes a folder across multiple devices.  SugarSync is user-based with plans starting at $7.49/month per user; multi-user plans start at $55/month.

My take:  Of these four options, we hear more about Carbonite and Mozy than SOS Online Backup or SugarSync.  Although SugarSync is popular, it is not as good a backup and restore solution as the other three.

Mozy has the deepest pockets with a large corporate partner, but Carbonite has, at this time, greater momentum.  The monitoring and telephone support included with SOS Online Backup makes it attractive.

Visit http://pcsupport.about.com/od/maintenance/tp/online_backup_services.htm for an extensive review of 40 backup services by Tim Fisher at About.com.  Another comparison at http://www.toptenreviews.com/services/internet/best-online-backup-services/ ranks 10 services from one through 10.

Bryley Systems offers our Backup/Disaster Recovery (BU/DR) service for servers; it is a monitored, secure, service hosted within our data-center in Hudson, MA with onsite appliance included.  Please visit www.Bryley.com for details.