There are many cloud offerings these days, and getting an online presence is very easy. Most people purchase cloud offerings, but do not realize all the benefits they purchased. We often see people purchasing hardware solutions when they have already purchased a cloud solution that will do the same thing. (Phones, USB drives, etc.)

Meet Mike, he has decided to become an entrepreneur. Mike has decided to start his own firm that specializes in pensions and retirement planning. Mike has joined AFEUSA and has followed the steps to get a tax ID number, the necessary permits and licensing for his firm and is now ready to build an online presence so he can do business throughout his metropolitan area and possibly in other states. Mike also does a bit of traveling between California and New York as he lives in CA, but his parents reside in NY.

Mike has the following needs:

  • A public facing website that is accessible to anybody on the internet:
  • Custom email domain addresses:
  • File sharing capability so he can transfer documents safely and securely between him and various clients.
  • A work phone number that servers as an office number.
  • A way to backup and protect the files on his laptop.
  • Microsoft Office software, primarily Excel, but Word and Outlook are also tools he uses.

Mike has a few choices here, but the most popular would be Office 365 or Google Apps for Business also known as G suite.

Since Mike lives here in the US and will be sharing financial documents and documents that contain his customers address he will need to purchase Office 365 E3 as this is a complete US based cloud offering. G-Suite is an amazing product, but cannot guarantee the data stays on US soil.

Microsoft Office 365:

Mike has done the following:

  • Mike purchased the domain name from GoDaddy.
  • Mike has purchased a subscription from Microsoft Office 365, the subscription is E3 for $20 per month.
  • With this Mike gets the software he needs to perform his daily functions: Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint (and more). This software is always up to date as long as his subscription stays current.
  • Mike has hired a consulting firm to configure his GoDaddy DNS to resolve to his Office 365 instance. The consulting firm has also configured a custom set of email address for Mike: o o o
  • For now, Mike has “info” and “billing” forwarding to his mailbox, however in the future Mike may hire help and when he does he can simple pay another $20 per month for his new assistant and route the “info” and “billing” emails to her.
  • Mike has followed the Microsoft “how to” videos to configure the Office 365 offerings he needs.
  • Mike has installed Microsoft OneDrive on his laptop to ensure all files he places in OneDrive are securely backed up every time he saves the file. Mike has 1TB of backup storage.
  • Mike has configured Skype for business with a local phone number so he can be reached while he is working from New York. The phone number rings on his computer where he uses a headset and VoIP (Voice over IP) to send and receive phone calls from his clients.
  • Mike has created folders in OneDrive that he has shared with clients in a way that only he and the specific client he shared with can see the documents. He is now able to work with client files while in New York in a safe and secure manner protecting his clients PII.
  • Mike has created a basic SharePoint site with details on his business and how to contact him. Mike’s consultants have configured the domain to forward all traffic to this site.
  • If Mike hires an assistant, he can share his calendar with her and she can make calendar entries for him.
  • Mike has an iPhone and has installed the Office 365 apps so he can check email, edit Word and Excel docs all on his phone. This comes at no additional cost to Mike.
  • Mike also has the ability to route the office phone number to his cell phone while he is away from his computer.

Before the cloud offerings became so robust Mike would have needed to make and manage additional purchases.

  • Purchase web hosting and hire a company to build his site
  • Purchase and carry around a USB hard drive to backup his files
  • Purchase the Office software separately and every time a new version is released
  • Purchase email hosting
  • Purchase an additional office phone
  • Purchased FTP hosting to transfer files between customers or just email them
  • Purchase the phone handsets for the office

If you have any additional cloud questions, feel free to contact, AFEUSA members get a discount on consulting services.