Microsoft 365: Is It Worth It Without IT Support?

It’s clear that Office 365 provides undeniable benefits. Microsoft’s flagship office suite is an industry leader all other software designers strive to better. 

Yet despite provided the most comprehensive office tools on the market, Microsoft 365 is prone to disruptive IT errors. 

If you visit Microsoft Office support services listed on Google, you will find a long list of common Office 365 problems. Users reaching out to IT support services for assistance typically leave complaints like:

“Why can’t I login to my Outlook?”

“External emails still bouncing or being delayed.”

“Why isn’t Word letting me do my thing?”

“Multiple devices quarantined for no apparent reason.”

“Outlook for Mac will not connect to 365 mailbox all of a sudden.”

“MS Word stopped working entirely today and Outlook is partially functional. I am being asked to enter my password but it shuts down before I can do so. For perhaps two years, I am constantly being asked to enter my password for Word but before today it has “sort of” worked. Apparently many people have that problem, but like some others, the online fix does not work. I pay about $7.00 monthly for software that really does not work.”

Microsoft IT Support Rated “Bad”

The reason Office 365 users reach out to IT support services in the first place is that they hit a roadblock with Microsoft Office Support.

A common issue customers have with Microsoft’s online helpdesk is they have a ‘Virtual Agent’ which simply delivers a list of instructions explaining how to troubleshoot your query. 

Troubleshooting usually fails. When you return to the automated VA, you’re likely to get trapped in a continuous loop of repetitive answers. There is an overwhelming consensus that human employees manning their call centers are not helpful either.

Microsoft’s customer support service does not receive rave reviews. 90% of reviewers at Trustpilot have given Microsoft a star rating of one out of five. 

The conclusion is Microsoft’s IT support is “bad!” As one reviewer states: “Multimillionaire company that leave other businesses not running!”

Office 365 Cloud Solution Provider

This article is not intended to slate Office 365. On the contrary, Microsoft’s comprehensive suite provides businesses with a multitude of essential business tools

It’s also worth noting, that you will have IT problems regardless of the software you purchase. What is most important for businesses is that when operations come to a standstill, the issue is resolved promptly and efficiently. 

Office 365 is a cloud-based software which is physically hosted in various data centers. Consequently, your account is only accessible by authorised Microsoft specialists.  

According to Microsoft, there are over 200 million active Office 365 users. Such a high volume would stretch the customer service of any software company. 

However, Microsoft hit upon a savvy solution: recruiting specialist IT companies to act as Cloud Solution Providers (CSP). Given the majority of IT experts work for independent companies – and not Microsoft’s help desk – CSPs are a smart idea.

Outsourcing Office 365 to managed IT services gives you access to highly-qualified IT support technicians that take the time to understand your business requirements. This gives firms added value that Microsoft – by their own admission – are not able to deliver.

Microsoft 365 IT Support Problems

Microsoft guarantees Office 365 users will enjoy a 99.9% uptime that is backed by a brand promise to compensate customers with service credits in the event of a failure.

However, the service credits do not make up for the loss of business hours that result from Microsoft’s annual outages.

In 2018, businesses in the United States, UK and Europe were locked out of Azure and Office 365. In 2019, Office 365 users were without their cloud applications for two days.

In 2020, Forbes reported similar issues when Microsoft Office 365, Outlook, Exchange, Sharepoint, OneDrive and Azure were inaccessible. Downtime is a recurring pattern.

However, outages originating from Microsoft’s side are generally one-offs. It is estimated that 70-75% of data center failures are caused by human error

According to The Uptime Institute, the company that published the downtime survey, the cause of IT errors should not lay at the door of employees, but with management.

This raises another issue with cloud-computing solutions. The majority of problems are caused by how the technology is being used, configured and administered. 

Outsourcing IT operations to managed support services resolve two key issues; quick response times resolve problems faster than Microsoft’s Office Support team, and they use advanced technologies which can identify and prevent problems before they happen. 

In short, IT support services are more reliable and efficient. Firms that have flexible services also enable you to customise the applications you need. 

Whilst Office 365 does offer a comprehensive range of applications with the Business Premium and Enterprise subscriptions, customisation is impossible. 

As a result, companies typically pay for apps and services they don’t need. In addition, Microsoft updates can knock your customisation off kilter. With Office 365 CSPs, you have the freedom to customise software that meets your business needs.

Extra IT Support and Security 

Cybersecurity is a growing concern for enterprises, and one of the principal reasons many firms avoid switching to the cloud. 

Advanced security is often cited as a selling point of cloud computing solutions. The reality is not always so cut and dry. Countless IT managers encounter stressful cloud security issues surrounding data protection, data loss and breached networks. 

Office 365 is the most widely used business software on the planet. Naturally, it is a prime target for cybercriminals. 

To their credit, Microsoft has upgraded its software with trilateral security features. The new measures include data loss prevention policies (DLP) settings to automatically detect sensitive data. 

Microsoft’s security measures are arguably the most advanced in any single business software package that you can purchase directly from vendors. But is it enough? Microsoft has a long history of being exploited.

Managed IT services take cybersecurity one step further by using technologies that monitor user behaviour, identify changes and track data sharing activity to.  

Advanced security measures are capable of alerting IT teams to attempted attacks and identify where vulnerabilities are in your network. Together with the experience of expertise of specialist IT experts, your cybersecurity defences are the best they can be.

In a Nutshell

Microsoft 365 is worth the investment. However, you will suffer less stress, frustration and downtime by using a cloud support provider to manage your network on your behalf.