Microsoft SharePoint and the advantages it brings your business

MS SharePoint offers a lot of advantages to businesses, and it is more effective than file servers and most other options. Check out this episode of PCG’s Tech Tuesday to learn more.

Dave Hodgdon: Welcome to PCG Tech Tuesday. I’m your host, Dave Hodgdon. I’m here today with Roland Carter. Our topic today is about SharePoint. Good morning Roland. How are you doing today?

Roland Carter: Good. Good morning.

What Is SharePoint?

Dave: Excellent. Explain to us what is SharePoint?

Roland: Oh, SharePoint. Consider this a data repository, but it lives completely in the cloud. It can do much more than that too. It can be your company’s front-end website. You can have a repository of information that … Just for your clients to have or just for your internal staff. You can do your HR documents, anything like that.

Dave: When you say a repository, what do you mean by that? I feel like I’m going to go to my bank. What is a repository?

Roland: Yeah, so it’s kind of a place where everything lives. Think of it, if you have a file share at your office right now, it’s just like that, just lives in the cloud.

Dave: Is that kind like my S drive? I’m used to my share drive.

Roland: Yeah, absolutely. Just like that.

SharePoint Vs. File Server

Dave: Right. So what is the difference between a file server, usually it’s on premise, or using Azure and using SharePoint. What is the big difference there?

Roland: SharePoint, you don’t actually need a physical device, a server. It’s hosted completely in the cloud. So Microsoft takes care of that backend. You’re just provided with that front end piece. You’re able to see your files, you can create folders, access controls are there, just like a server, but you don’t actually have to push a button or worry about the hard drives, anything like that.

Dave: So if I was a business, I don’t have power, my server’s not on, my employees still can work?

Roland: Absolutely. Can send them home. They can work from home or a coffee shop, anything like that.

Dave: Oh, I bet they love doing that.

Roland: Yeah.

Managing SharePoint

Dave: Is SharePoint easy to manage?

Roland: It’s much easier to manage than a server. Everything is put there for you. If you’re granted admin access, you can change any of the permissions. Anyone that has access to it can upload documents. They can read documents. But you can also change the permission so that they can only read them.

Dave: I think that’s important. A lot of people, especially like your HR department or management, they’re always worried about permissions, who has access to what.

Roland: Absolutely.

Customizing SharePoint

Dave: About customization. I mean, is this easy to customize? I mean, to make this portal with SharePoint, does it really require some technical resources?

Roland: You don’t necessarily need technical resources. There are some deep things you can get into, but SharePoint does offer free templates where you can create a company front end. It’ll give you some tabs that you can customize, so you can have an HR section for your employees to get some documents like time off requests or payroll changes.

Accessing SharePoint Remotely

Dave: And can I access that, whether on my home computer, at work or on my phone? I mean, those files there, do I have access to those?

Roland: You have access to it anywhere. As long as you have your username and password, it’ll work across anywhere you have internet.

Security and Permissions on SharePoint

Dave: In today’s world, we’re always talking about security. Talk to us about the security and the permissions. I know many users are always worried about ransom attacks or their data and whether my data’s on server or I go to SharePoint, talk to us about security.

Roland: Microsoft does a really great job of handling permissions and security with SharePoint. They’ve really made it as easy as possible too. So there’s a backup that occurs all the time within SharePoint and you can roll back to any given point. They keep these for generally 90 days, any of the changes, so you can revert back at any point.

So as far as a ransomware attack, it’s not really possible or really going to happen, because it is a Microsoft product and they’re doing their best to make sure none of the bad guys are coming in. And as far as the permissions, there’s multiple ways that you can give anyone permission. So you can have an HR group and only the people within the HR can access or edit whatever’s in there. And then out of the HR group, you might share a certain folder that’s the client or the folders that any of your staff might want to have documents from.

Dave: Kind of going where I was thinking about, so you get your staff working on stuff, but a lot of times you might be working with a vendor or third party person. Can you give access to that vendor or your prospects have certain access to certain files?

Roland: For sure. So if there are documents, say you’re an engineering group, and you have some documents or you have some images that you would like to share with a client so they can sign off on something, this is really as easy as going to that folder.

And as long as you’re cool with sharing that folder, then you send an email to them with the link and so they can get right in. But it can only be that person that has that link. You can also do this password protected, so you can send them a link, they need the password to get in. It could be as secure as you need.

Collaborating With SharePoint

Dave: So if it’s more sensitive, you can password. But I really like the idea that you’re able to collaborate with the people you want to instead of just emailing this document back and forth, you can collaborate on that document.

Roland: Definitely. In the collaboration port part is across the board. So many people can have the document open at the same time, and it’s really neat to see because you can see the names of who else is in the document, but you can edit in real time. And the same thing will happen if you’re sharing outside of your organization.

Dave: So some good auditing in the backend?

Roland: Definitely. Yep.

SharePoint Vs. OneDrive

Dave: Good. A lot of people they’re like, “You can use OneDrive.” What’s the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint?

Roland: So OneDrive is meant to be a more personal cloud. It syncs with your personal computer so that you can, say, have your documents, your desktop picture files automatically go to OneDrive. And it’s really not meant for multiple people to log in. You’re given it on an individual basis, so you have one username, one password. Whereas SharePoint, you’re able to add all of the people from your organization, divvy out the permissions, and anyone that has access is able to get in. OneDrive is really just that one person access.

Dave: I kind of think of it like, I have my house that the whole company can use, but OneDrive is like my bedroom or the one room I take care of my stuff. So it’s really just for your stuff?

Roland: Yeah. You know, the bathroom, you just want one person in there. Right?

Training for SharePoint

Dave: You definitely only want one in the bathroom. That’s for sure. So what about training? I mean, a lot of people, they get concerned about changes. What about training on this new platform, SharePoint?

Roland: So training, you can use this multiple ways. There might be some training involved as far as how you use the web version because it’s a little bit different than how you might use your S drive where you’re just clicking on the drive, all your files are there.

With SharePoint, you might have to log into the website, find your way around. The structure is pretty much the same. You’ll see the folder, you’ll see the files in the same manner. It’s just going through the website. However, when you access the website, you can sync that data with your PC so that it shows up in much the same way that you’re used to. The same files are showing up on your pc, you’re not logging into the web.

Upgrading Servers Vs. Switching to SharePoint

Dave: Yeah. One of the things, the benefits, we always try to let our clients know, it’s that time of that fork in the road, as we say. Their servers are aging, they’ve got the file server on premise, they have certain stuff to back it up. Why should the client think about that time, whether I put in another server or go to SharePoint, talk to us about that.

Roland: Sometimes you’re looking at budget constraints, right? You might not be able to put a full file server back in or there’s a time sensitive situation going on. And then some of our clients are using multiple devices, a network storage location. It’s not a server, it’s really just a hard drive. And you need to move that somewhere for central access.

SharePoint is really great for that, and we can move all of the data into SharePoint and everyone that is given a username and password can access that.

Dave: Access that. So it sounds like if anyone’s considering a SharePoint, if their server’s nearing end of life, it’s a great time. If anyone’s interested in learning more about SharePoint, reach out to Roland, one of the PCG experts here at PCG. But thanks again Roland, for your input on SharePoint today.

Contact PCG to Talk About SharePoint

Roland: Absolutely.

Dave: And have a great day.

Roland: Thank you.

Dave: Thanks again for joining us for PCG Tech Tuesday. Have a great day.