Why moving shared storage to the cloud/SharePoint Online

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For 18 years I worked in the IT sector and for most of that I was dead fast against any documents being stored in the cloud. The reasons were varied:

  • Security
  • Backup
  • Auditing

Of course, back then some of these were probably valid reason but with the rapid developments in cloud based offerings those reason don’t really count any more.

Shared storage was and in some cases still is the norm when it comes to the storage of documents that are shared across departments or complete organisations. This storage does not come without a cost. There are the simple costs such as electric for powering the servers and the associated cooling and other services. Now add to that the cost of maintenance, and support services associated with those servers. The replacement of parts as they fail, the data may sit on associated NAS servers which require maintenance. You may even have an external support contract to ensure the continuity of service for your users.  All of this adds up.

As well as the cost of running local storage there are also the access issues. In their personal life’s our users access data in an on-demand culture. We watch TV on-demand from all sorts of devices. However, our work files are only available when we are connected to the same network that hosts the data.

Most of these barriers can be broken down with cloud storage. SharePoint Online can store documents with ease, it’s pretty much what it was built for. Once migrated all the data that was once only available from the business network is now available from anywhere you can get internet access.

But let’s revisit those three reasons for staying onPrem we had earlier in the article.

Security

SharePoint Online can be as secure as you need it to be, only allowing users access to documents that they should have access to.

As for physical security, Microsoft data centres are among the most secure in the world.

Backup

While there is no Microsoft provided backup solution all your data is spread around the Microsoft datacentre limiting the risk to your data from any single physical server outage in the cloud.

You can backup using a third party tool if you really want to

Auditing

Every action within SharePoint online can be audited. You can search these logs to find out who did what, when and to what file.

So, we have covered most of the technical reason for moving to the cloud but what about your user’s experience. Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint Online will provide your users with an outstanding experience. Office Online allows your users to open and edit documents in the browser from a multitude of devices including PC, tablets and mobile phones. Office Online also provides a collaborative approach that showcases the use of Microsoft technology in the cloud. Multi authoring allows for multiple authors to be editing the same document at the same time with real time chat in the same browser window.

And one final thing, all of this is free to education.

So when are you moving your data?

Author: Alan Richards (BFC Networks: Cloud Architect)

Provisio365: Creating Office 365 Video Channels

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CreateVIdeo

There are multiple reasons why you migth want to create a video channel in Office 365 but are you aware that by default students can create channels and upload media to it.

Once you know this information you are keen to get those changes made and in a future post we will look at the “Build My Tenant” template which makes these changes and multiple of other Office 365 e-safety changes that we feel are required.

We designed this template to create your Office 365 channels with the right configuration for your staff and students.  If you are single school in your own tenant, when you create a new channel in Provisio365, we will set the permission so your all teacher group can upload videos to it while everyone else has the ability to read.  We will also not set commetting on these channels to save you the worry of managing these types of forums and posts.

If you are in a shared environment with multiple schools in a central tenant we will create the channel with your school name as a prefix but then set the permissions so only your teachers can upload and your pupils can view it.

As the requester of the video, you are added as an admin allowing you to change any of the permissions.

In the future, as Microsoft start to migration to Microsoft Steam, we’ll introduce the same setup to this new feature. We haven’t started yet as there is no developer story yet for Stream.

Announcing – Provisio365 for Office 365 Edu

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We are delighted to announce Provisio365 for Office 365 Education.  We have been in developing our new product now for over 12 months with trials up and down the UK and ready to bring it to general available.

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We’ve heard from many of our customers that they want to do more with Office 365 Education and also help to control things better without having to learn code to deliver a better platform for the school or college. At BFC Networks we have taken all our knowledge of the platform to give you a single click experience to deliver you a better education solution in Office 365 Education.

Provisio365 is our new cloud based engine that will deliver the changes you want to your platform including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, School Data Sync and Office 365 services. Whether you want to prevent students from emailing externally, turn certain licenses off for faculty/students or build a shared drives solution, you can do it with just a single click.

BFC Networks were founded in 2007 and with our knowledge and experience of working with Office 365 we want to put more of our hidden skills into your hands to get more out of the education cloud platform allows you to do more and improve what you offer within your school.

We have also added MIS integration (using GroupCall XoD) to provide you with more features such as School Data Sync, provisioning of Office 365 Groups based on timetables and OneNote Class Notebooks. These are proving to be very popular with our customers who can save a lot of time and administrator within their IT and teaching staff.

Visit the Provisio365 website at www.provisio365.com

Purchase Minecraft Edu in Office 365 from BFC Networks

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BFC Networks are delighted to be able to bring you Minecraft Education Edition licenses directly to your Office 365 tenant.

MinecraftEduEdition1

Minecraft is one of the most famous and played games around the world by all generations with over 1.9 million YouTube Subscribers, 50 million Hour of Code Tutorials completed, 30,000 Education Community Profiles and all this on 18 different platforms.

Minecraft Education Edition brings many different aspects to the classroom enhancing the game to deliver more value to your lesson. Creativity, collaboration and problem-solving challenges students with tasks set by the teacher but also additional features help coding skills.

By allowing BFC Networks to be one of your Cloud Solution Providers we can deliver the license directly to you within minutes of receiving your purchase order whether that is 1, 30 or 100 licenses.

If you want to pilot with just a few users and then increase you license allocation later we can also do that so you can learn the product, build environments and complete staff training before purchasing your student licenses. This saving your licenses and money in the short term.

BFC Networks were one of five partners from around the globe who were part of a successful pilot to deliver Minecraft through CSP and we can now deliver this directly to your Office 365 Education tenant and Microsoft Education Store.

Available at £3.96 + VAT per year, get in touch and you could be using Minecraft Education Edition today.

 

Happy Birthday BFC – 10 today

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From our Director – Alex Pearce

“I remember sitting in the lounge at home thinking about a name for the new business when BFC was suggested and adding the Networks at the end to allow the business to move into any direction within IT. Looking back after 10 years and now our sole purpose is cloud based technologies I wonder what the name would be.

Over the past 10 years, many have asked what does BFC stands for and recently I’ve started saying ‘Born for Cloud’ but this wasn’t a buzz word at the time and what it really means will always stay close to myself and friends as it is a very fond child-hood memory of mine, something I would never forget with or without this business name.

BFC was formed to serve the education sector and as Microsoft technologies have developed and formed, the business has changed to ensure that we can offer the latest and greatest to whoever our customers are. Today we have been able to affect millions of teachers and students across England, Scotland and Wales with some impressive numbers that even surprise Microsoft when they look at our account. Some records show we have helped sell 63 million education licenses but that is the way of the free model from Microsoft.

As I sit here today and think about the last 10 years, it does make me wonder where it will be in 10 years time, what challenges will the education sector and Microsoft bring but what I do know is that we will continue to do our best, listen to our customers and give them exactly what they want to help improve their delivery of teaching and learning where-ever they are across the world.

To those who have worked and supported BFC across the last 10 years, thank you for your support then and into the future, here’s to another 10 years.”

Alex

Welcome to the new BFC Blog

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We have an exciting number of months ahead of us at BFC Networks and we look forward to sharing these with our current and new customers about new product releases, case studies and updates to our products.

We felt we needed somewhere to share this exciting information and store them all in one central location so you can see everything we are up to….so welcome to the new BFC Blog.

Look out for a new newsletter going to you soon, Office 365 Educaiton news and also our soon to be announced new provisioning tool for Officce 365.

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