Author: Jon Orton_MSFT
Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog.

Small businesses don’t have IT departments. Most don’t even have a dedicated IT person. So they need software that is simple to set up and maintain. With that in mind, we’ve designed Office 365 Small Business Premium to be a preconfigured solution that you can manage without technology expertise. This allows you to focus on your business, rather than technology.

Simplified administration

The Office 365 Small Business Premium Preview has a new web-based management portal specifically designed for organizations with less than ten users. This interface is distinct from the one used by Office 365 Enterprise customers, who have IT environments that are much more complex. The settings that only apply to large organizations are removed from view, leaving a simple, clean interface that is easy to understand and navigate. You can access this portal by clicking “Admin” in the Office 365 navigation bar.

The admin dashboard lets you manage users, licenses, and domains, as well as edit common settings for email, calendar, sites, instant messaging, conferencing, and mobile access. There is no need to wade through detailed administration screens to perform common tasks. Simplified settings pages, like this one, make it easy to configure your service:

These pages are specifically built for small businesses, and have simplified controls, such as on/off sliders, that make them easier to use than their enterprise counterparts. We’ll be adding more of these settings pages throughout the Preview. If you have suggestions for a setting that you’d like to see us include, post a comment to let us know.

Built-in spam and virus protection

Nobody likes to waste time dealing with spam, and nobody likes cleaning up a computer that has been infected with a virus. For small businesses, these problems can slow down productivity or even bring it to a complete halt. Office 365 gets these nuisances out of your way with built-in defenses against spam, viruses, and phishing scams. Forefront Online Protection for Exchange, a premium anti-spam and anti-malware service, is included in Office 365. It uses multiple filters and scanning engines to help protect your organization from email-borne threats. No configuration is necessary to start or maintain the filtering technology.

Security and reliability

One of the best things about using Office 365 is that you can enjoy the benefits of a cloud service that has been built to meet the requirements of the world’s largest organizations. Office 365 offers the highest standard of physical and digital security for your data. It is compliant with key industry standards and regularly verified by third parties. Even if your business has no requirements relating to ISO-27001, EU Model clauses, HIPAA-BAA, or FISMA, knowing that Office 365 qualifies for these programs and certifications provides you with confidence that the service is being operated well.

You can also enjoy peace of mind in knowing that the service has been designed for robust uptime, with a financially-backed 99.9% service level agreement. From the Admin section of the Office 365 portal, you can view the service health dashboard to see both current and historical service status. 

To guard against the loss of data in the case of a large-scale disaster, your data is hosted from geographically-distributed datacenters with continuous data backup. These robust disaster recovery capabilities used to be beyond the reach of nearly all small and midsized organizations.

In summary, Office 365 Small Business Premium is an easy-to-use service with built-in security, protection, and reliability. The back-end capabilities are the same as those used by the largest businesses in the world, but you don’t need to be an IT expert to deploy or use them.