Office 365 will change your job, not kill it

Rather than dread the emergence of cloud computing, such as Microsoft’s still-in-beta Office 365, IT managers should learn new skills to complement these services.

LAS VEGAS - Prepared Exchange administrators are excited about forthcoming Office 365 options, but admins who take a close-minded stance about such services will cloud their future career opportunities.

At the DevConnections conference here last week, Tony Redmond, an Exchange MVP, told IT managers that if they saw their future merely as Exchange administrators, they would be “toast,” asserting that many Exchange organizations are ready to consider hosted messaging services. Redmond said those who embrace and educate themselves about the cloud and Office 365 could prolong their careers.

Microsoft Office 365 bundles Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online into a single package. The company plans to release it sometime later this year.

If willing and able, Exchange administrators can become Office 365 administrators. While Office 365 support takes care of things like backup and recovery, patch management and virus and spam prevention, enterprises will still need in-house administrators to focus on messaging records management, transport rules, email disclaimers, retention policies, role management and more.

So how can admins prepare for Office 365? Mike Crowley, an Exchange MVP and enterprise infrastructure architect with Planet Technologies, Inc., suggested admins regularly visit the Office 365 technical blog.

Other experts suggested IT staff familiarize themselves with remote PowerShell in order to modify user properties in Office 365. PowerShell commands also allow you to perform homegrown applications moves. At a separate DevConnections session, Crowley also mentioned you can use PowerShell to prepare Active Directory for a move to Office 365.

Crowley noted that admins, particularly those managing BlackBerry users, should be energized about Office 365, confirming that the product will offer free BlackBerry licenses to current customers. RIM will also offer a cloud-based BES service.

Let us know what you think about this story; email Matt Gervais at mgervais@techtarget.com.

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