By Frank Shipley –
Information Systems Manager, Alameda County DCSS
Office 365 is Microsoft’s new plan for software licensing which incorporates online services to enhance user capabilitieswhile reducing local costs for maintaining servers, data storage, disaster recovery, and software licensing. While some Local Child Support Agencies (LCSAs) already enjoy the benefits of Microsoft Office 365, California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will be making it available to all LCSAs in the near future. Office 365 will include access to standard Microsoft Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services). And, did I mention that all that enhanced access is SECURE and meets IRS 1075 requirements?
If you have security geeks or FTI police at your office they may be wondering if it is secure. The Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online Archiving, Skype for Business, and Office Online has been certified as meeting both CJIS and IRS Publication 1075 requirements. This should reduce headaches stemming from complex security requirements, and it will simplify responses to Section 9 of the annual DCSS Safeguards Security Report (SSR).
That all sounds great, and we’ve all heard of the cloud, but what is it? Currently we run applications and programs from software located on a physical computer or server typically located in our physical office space. In the cloud we use software and services on someone else’s servers and we access it through the internet. Still too much tech speak, how’s this? Right now when you save a spreadsheet on your computer or on a network drive you can only get to it from your office or Virtual Private Network (VPN) access. With Office 365 you can store your spreadsheet on your local computer or securely store it in the cloud. If you put it in the cloud you can securely share it or access it from almost any type of device anywhere. With Office 365, your software is always up-to-date AND available on virtually any device anywhere.
Here is a list of some of the cool features available through Office 365:
- Work securely anywhere and from any device
- Collaborate with Real-Time Co-Authoring in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Use Skype video, audio, and desktop sharing
- Turn rows of data into a “map”
- Edit PDFs
- Send encrypted email, chat, and engage with social networking services
- Access cloud storage through OneDrive
- Utilize SharePoint Online
- Leverage Security management, monitoring, and reporting
Planning is underway for implementing Office 365 at DCSS and for Option 1 LCSAs. DCSS is working with Microsoft and Option2/Option 3 LCSAs on licensing and will provide more information in the near future.
In this section we are providing opportunities to share successful ideas from our member LCSA’s.