Education's Top 5 Best Practices for Office 365 and OneDrive (Round 2)
On May 2nd, Microsoft announced that Office 365 for Education will be offered to students and teachers at schools all over the world for free. This coincides with the release of Windows 10 S, which has been squarely aimed at students, to rival operating systems that run on Chromebooks.
With the advent of additional companion apps like Teams and the new Microsoft Dictate, which is a free download, using the Office platform in Education has become that much easier. Get to know Office 365 for Education here.
Educational institutions across the globe now have unlimited access to Office 365 for Education which presents its own set of challenges when having to migrate content from their current content storage systems. Without the correct Information Architecture, permission models and storage requirements understanding, the task of moving across to Office 365 becomes arduous.
To effective and efficiently migrate content across, keep these top five best practices in mind:
GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT
Document your As Is. Get under the hood of your permissions model. Visualise your content structure. It is of vital importance that this is done upfront and not as an afterthought. Additionally, cleaning up you content means less content to migrate which equates to a shorter migration timeframe.
KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS
Ensure that your document naming conventions are managed correctly as although Microsoft has extended the character length for the URL for SharePoint Online from 256 Unicode code units to 400 and included support for the # and % characters, having unmanaged filenames affects the efficacy of your newly designed taxonomy for SharePoint Online. This is pertinent when syncing content via OneDrive for local consumption.
By automating student centric processes, through the use of SharePoint Online’s intranet features, faculty members, teachers and students alike will reap the integrated benefits of Office 365 for Education. Rich out of the box workflows as well as Microsoft Forms provided educators with easy ways to build forms, quizzes and surveys. This allows for greater learner companionship through technology. Since the inclusion of PowerApps and Flow to the EDU model, complex workflows and mobile applications can now be introduced to the institution with consummate ease.
DATA SECURITY AND DISCOVERY
Office 365 for Education includes Information Rights Management services for locking down and securing content. An eDiscovery Portal for Compliance enforcement, data classification through the Security and Compliance Center and content restriction through Azure Information Protection ensures that sensitive data like personal information regarding students, exam papers and so forth so on, are tightly managed with zero chance for data breaches. By migrating to Office 365, educators are able to ubiquitously work with content without risks. Microsoft abides by the legislation set out in FISMA and HIPAA, including individual state and location regulations. It’s imperative that these security requirements are followed by the institution.
ONBOARDING AND OFFBOARDING
As with all scholastic organisations, there is an influx of new students at the beginning of each year, with scholars graduating the end of the last term. Being able to accurately manage the addition of new users is imperative to the overall experience for the student as well as assisting the Information Technology department by providing them with the correct tooling to facilitate the process seamlessly. Being able to migrate their existing directory server information into Office 365 through product automation, greatly reduces clerical errors, removes the misuse of current licensing and provides the institution with a holistic view of who has access to what content, for how long.
When educational institutions move to Office 365, they need to ensure that their investment remains managed, secured and optimized for the needs of both students and faculty. Watch the webinar Office 365 101: Education in Microsoft’s Cloud to learn how to track all user accounts, create better onboarding/offboarding for incoming/outgoing users, rightsizing the security for students and faculty, manage backups and more.
Alistair Pugin is an Office Servers MVP based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has worked in various capacities in multiple verticals spanning between 50 to 50,000 users utilizing all aspects of pure Enterprise Information Management. His current position provides him with a mechanism to assist companies with designing their Microsoft productivity stack using “best of breed” proven methodologies to foster innovation and growth through an ECM framework, while incorporating a Knowledge Management strategy. With this vision, he strives to provide customers with a platform for Business Productivity Enrichment, establishing communities of practice through proper analysis and building a knowledge economy that is both quantifiable and achievable.