Microsoft Says, “We’ll have Two-Thirds of Office Users in the Cloud by Fiscal 2019.”

I have written often about the need to keep secure and encrypted backups of your important files off-site. Actually, I believe every computer owner should do that but it is doubly important for genealogists who have often spent hundreds of hours researching and documenting their family trees. A loss of all that data caused by a hard drive crash, a hurricane, a tornado, any other natural disaster, or simple human error, can be devastating.

Most corporations are moving their corporate data to cloud-based backup systems, whether they create their own cloud computing systems or use one of the commercially-available cloud solutions (Amazon Web Services, RackSpace, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, DigitalOcean, and many others).

Now Microsoft is moving many of its customers who use Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other applications) to cloud computing in an effort to improve the customers’ security and redundancy.

During Microsoft’s most recent earnings call, officials said that commercial Office 365 revenues for the first time were greater than non-subscription/perpetual Office ones.

Currently, according to Microsoft, more than half of all commercial (business) Office users are using Office 365 rather than standalone/perpetual Office. But during some point in the company’s fiscal 2019 (which kicks off on July 1, 2018), Microsoft is expecting two-thirds of its business Office customers will be using Office 365.

You can read more in an article by Mary Jo Foley in the ZDNet web site at: http://zd.net/2gy9.

By the way, I don’t use Microsoft Office often but, when I do, I always use the cloud-based Office 365 version. Right now I am using a laptop computer in a hotel room in Beijing, China and am storing this article in the cloud (although I am using a different word processor, not Office 365 with Word).

Thanks to secure cloud storage, I can access all my files created in the past few years from wherever I am in the world as long as I have an Internet connection. I try to never store anything important on any computer’s local hard drive. I prefer to have access wherever I am and regardless of whether I am using a desktop, laptop, tablet computer, or even (occasionally) my cell phone. I also appreciate that 100% of my cloud-based files are backed up all the time with state-of-the-art backup procedures.

In addition, the Office 365 is always up-to-date with the latest version as Microsoft keeps the cloud-based software updated for me. I never have to install software updates myself for Office 365.

9 Comments

As always news of the flight to the Cloud leaves me cold. Only a minority of the world’s population has access to the Cloud and probably half of those who might use it don’t because of limits on data. It’s only recently that I can use speeds of over 0.25 Mbs, maybe when usable broadband does reach us then I might allow the the intelligence agencies of the world to read my family history; until then it’s still a local hard drive for my backups.

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Clouds fail for ne reason or another. Nobody will admit too their being hacked. If you do not pay you bill, goodbye data.

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    After reading your comments, I feel that I have to respond. I worked in the computer industry most of my life and have dealt many times with lost data. The last few years I worked full time in computers, I was employed by a large software company that also offered online backup services along with warehouse storage of paper and microfilmed records. (You see that company’s trucks most every day in most larger cities, even in many cities around the world.) I dealt every day with customers who either had lost data or wished to avoid losing data.

    If you have been reading this newsletter for a while, you probably realize I am a strong believer in backup procedures and have written often about the better methods of making backups. This is especially true for genealogists who often have lots of data and even old family photographs stored on their computers.

    The concerns you expressed are real and I will suggest that every computer owner should stop and consider every one of the concerns you mentioned and determine how he or she should handle each one. Luckily, with today’s technology, there are simple and often low-cost or often even FREE solutions for every one of those concerns.

    You wrote, “Clouds fail for one reason or another.” That is absolutely true. However, who says you should only keep one backup? I do not trust any single online backup service and I do not trust any single hard drive to last forever. Nothing is perfect. Everything will fail sooner or later. That is why I always recommend making a MINIMUM of two copies of every backup. Making 3 or 4 or even more copies is even better. Then the wise computer owner stores those backups in different locations.

    I also do not believe in storing all my eggs in one basket.

    In my case, I make fully encrypted backups to TWO different online file storage services that are located in two different countries, one is within the same country where I live and the other is on the other side of the world. In addition, I make encrypted backups constantly to an external hard drive that sits beside each computer. (I am in a hotel room in Beijing right now and my portable hard drive is sitting beside the laptop, plugged in, operating, and automatically making encrypted backups every hour, even if I am sleeping at the time.)

    In addition, I share copies of my more important files and my genealogy information and all the family photographs with my daughter. She stores her copies on her computer at her home plus has her own backup copies in the cloud.

    Plus the original files remain on my computer(s) internal hard drives.

    What are the odds that all these copies will all fail simultaneously?

    Next, you wrote, “Nobody will admit too their being hacked.” Actually, several companies have already admitted that. Also, hackers often can attack the home computer sitting in your living room with various viruses, trojan horse programs, and other tools of attack that will steal your data. However, stored data can easily be protected by encryption.

    My stored backups are all encrypted automatically by the various backup programs I use. In the unlikely event that a remote hacker manages to access my stored data, all he or she is ever going to see is something that looks like this:

    nd;hMGGTswplfbmnfkd^0t@9t,dbcorJMBDikf;dk

    The only people who can ever decode the encrypted data is myself and anyone else to whom I give the encryption key. Even the employees at the file storage services I use cannot read my encrypted data.

    Encryption is a wonderful thing. It protects the data of the U.S. military, the civilian agencies, banks, stock brokers, and many other organizations. Your bank and your employer and many others protect your financial information and much more personal information about you with encryption although a few old-fashioned companies do not. (For example, the recent disaster of Equifax is a perfect example of what happens when someone does not use encryption! Don’t be like Equifax!) In my case, I encrypt everything myself before sending it online or saving it in my external hard drive(s). I do not depend upon others to perform the encryption.

    Some older, simpler forms of encryption were broken. However, today’s industrial-grade encryption has never been broken and many encryption programs are available free of charge, often built into the various backup programs.

    You also wrote, “If you do not pay you bill, goodbye data.”

    Again, I agree with you. Then again, if it is YOUR data, how much is it worth to you? Even if I do not pay the bill(s), my data stored in the external hard drive next to my computer(s) and the data I share with my daughter will remain.

    Is this a perfect solution? Absolutely not! Nothing is ever perfect. But I do believe it greatly reduces my risk of data loss.

    I will suggest that every computer user should evaluate the available options and then create his or her own plan for protecting what is important to him or her. That plan also should be re-evaluated from time to time as needs change and technology improves.

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I’m a writer. Still using MS Office 2007. When that no longer works I’m done with MS and will move to one of the free doc softwares. I loathe subscriptions. It’s like attaching a leech to your wallet. And I refuse to have my work held hostage via subscription fees.
Totally agree with Dick about the need for multiple back ups. I use a paid Dropbox, a home external hard drive and a copy of my hard drive at my local computer vendor which is updated before any travel.
Do not agree that corporations have been honest about breeches, not by a long shot. They usually hide them until they cannot. Who would suspect Equifax would be so negligent (not to mention making money on insider trading on their negligence)? And what other corporations are currently negligent.
Accessibility is a real factor also. I used to work for a nonprofit in a rural northeastern state. A surprising number of our members are on dial up or extremely limited broadband. The cloud isn’t a good option for them.

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Thank you, Dick, for addressing John’s concerns so well. He was not wrong and you didn’t treat him that way. You spoke of options to deal with those issues. You were polite and helpful. I’m soooooo tired of rudeness, finger pointing and yelling “I’m right!!” all over the media. I just had to comment how nice this was!
PS I have extremely limited broadband at home. I live near the city but not near enough. I do feel that this issue is sorely ignored by websites and “cloud” management. (Not by you!)

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    Agree wholeheartedly, SuEllen. Dick’s sets a good tone here.
    I was on another tech site today, having posted a comment and a question. I was amazed at the sneering and rude responses to my postings and to other peoples’ questions. Some people seem to feed off rudeness and anger.

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My issue with “The Cloud” has nothing to do with the cloud itself. My internet connection is through satellite (it’s all I can get here, other than dial-up) and when I reach my data cap, the transfer rate is about like dial-up. If I were to store my important files in the cloud, I’d use my allotted bandwidth in just a few hours, or a day at most. Add to that, the internet “going out” on a regular basis and the cloud is not a viable option for me at this time. Once I can get high-speed and high or unlimited bandwidth, fine. BTW, I do NOT stream movies, or even watch YouTube videos.

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    I think many people–too many of them in decision-making positions–don’t realize how limited options are for a lot of folks. I know I was shocked to discover how limited broadband is in my former state and how many people rely on dial up. I probably shouldn’t have been since I’ve relied on dial up and incredibly slow broadband most of the time I’ve been on the internet, despite being only 15 miles from the state capital. But the perception of availability is so strong I thought I was an outlier. When I got a statewide communications job I found out how much company I had.

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I believe in backups to multiple servers however don’t want to use programs on the cloud. I am without internet for my laptop for at least 15 days due to foundation work which disconnected my DSL. If I had software only on the cloud I would be unable to do any work. As it is I was able to get work done, then took laptop to church and used their wifi to send out church newsletter and run backup. I hope to get DSL back this week.

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