As far as IT innovation is concerned, Microsoft is at the forefront. Currently, Office 365 ranks as one of the best products Microsoft has to offer, as this robust and versatile software suite can be utilized by businesses in a number of fields. In this article, we’ll look at how Office 365 satisifies some of the most stringent industry compliance standards, such as the healthcare, legal, and financial sectors.
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Healthcare Compliance Standards and Office 365
Let’s first discuss the role of Office 365 in the healthcare industry. The current healthcare model aims to eliminate unnecessary hospital stays and lengthy paperwork. Office 365 helps healthcare businesses meet important security and compliance regulations so they can better manage their patients. Here are some notable benefits that Office 365 brings to healthcare businesses:
1. Unmatched security
Security is a prime concern for healthcare businesses, as they store sensitive and confidential medical records that must be managed prudently. Healthcare businesses in the US must comply with the guidelines specified by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, popularly known as HIPAA, which governs US medical practices. In cases of medical negligence or misconduct, HIPAA violations can dish out penalties of up to $50,000 per incident—clearly, HIPAA compliance is crucial for medical organizations.
Healthcare systems benefit immensely from Office 365, which provides a highly secured environment that other business management platforms simply don’t guarantee. Office 365’s encryption pilot and rights management features effectively help you configure your team’s resources, and its encryption protocols help you protect confidential patient information. Furthermore, Office 365’s Rule Transfer policies and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) module reduce the transfer of sensitive patient information via online communications.
2. Lower upfront costs
Considering today’s expensive medical equipment and the hefty salaries that medical professionals receive, it’s safe to say that running a healthcare business is not an easy task. The IT departments of many healthcare institutions are also under strict budgetary constraints—understandably, no one wants to increase costs even more by fussing over the IT needs of healthcare. With its reasonable monthly fee, though, Office 365 helps relieve financial burdens and reduces upfront costs for medical institutions.
3. Less overhead for IT departments
There’s a constant demand for IT professionals in the healthcare industry, but no one wants to deal with the hassle of maintaining various productivity tools. By centralizing a suite of Office apps on a convenient cloud-based platform, Office 365 reduces much of the overhead that IT teams would otherwise face.
Legal Compliance Standards and Office 365
Most legal firms require secure data sharing and reliable technology solutions that can help them manage their documents, maintain relationships with current clients, and advertise their services. Office 365 addresses many of these issues and saves law firms the headache of IT service management. Here are some of the most important features of Office 365 for legal businesses:
1. Robust document management
To address the needs of law firms, Microsoft partnered with Microsoft Corporate, External, & Legal Affairs (CELA) to design Matter Center for Office 365. Matter Center is a legal document management solution that makes it easier to share, store, organize, and search for legal documents, as well as manage e-mail communications. With Matter Center, legal professionals can devote more time to helping their clients and less to juggling paperwork.
Many legal professionals work outside their offices. As such, they need to be able to instantly access relevant case information, e-mails, and other important documents. Office 365 centralizes apps like Skype for Business and Outlook, allowing legal professionals to keep in touch with their clients and colleagues on the go.
3. Security and compliance
Security and compliance remain a top priority wherever personal information is likely to be mishandled. Office 365’s secure platform allows legal firms to manage client information in a manner that complies with industry standards such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, EU model clauses, agreements with business associates, and FISMA. Through Matter Center, legal professionals can conveniently specify permission settings for their team members to restrict access to private client information.
4. Customer relationship management
Maintaining relationships with clients is a crucial task for the sales and marketing department of legal firms. Office 365 integrates CRM Online, which helps legal professionals manage client relationships and keep track of relevant client information in a productive manner.
5. Collaboration and data repository maintenance
Matter Center reduces administrative overhead significantly, allowing business professionals to collaborate easily and track any changes that are made to their documents. With SharePoint, users can maintain repositories of data that can then be accessed in real time. Office 365’s numerous productivity tools help legal teams operate more efficiently.
6. Abundant storage space
Matter Center offers 1 TB of individual storage space. It also synchronizes documents and allows users to access them both offline and online from any device. Overall, Matter Center helps reduce printing and storage costs considerably by replacing paper files with electronic records.
Financial Compliance Standards and Office 365
Asset management firms, banks, and credit institutions regularly rely on the secure and optimized business apps of Office 365 to improve their workflow, ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, manage client relationships, and train professionals. Let’s briefly discuss some of the Office 365 features that benefit these organizations.
1. Security and compliance
Like other institutions, financial firms must ensure that they store client information in a secured manner. Office 365’s Security & Compliance Center, Advanced Security Management, Advanced Data Governance, Advanced eDiscovery, and Advanced Threat Management apps equip financial firms with the right tools to minimize the risk of exposing private information, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other client details.
Like legal firms, financial institutions often have various branches across different states. Moreover, professionals may not always work on site, especially considering the growing trend of remote work. By using Office 365’s cloud computing platform, financial professionals can access corporate information, e-mails, and SharePoint documents from anywhere in the world.
3. Customer relationship management
Nowadays, financial firms have portfolios of financial services and clients that they need to manage. Microsoft’s CRM Online is a comprehensive Office 365 package that lets you deliver excellent customer service and cultivate relationships with clients.
4. Centralized IT management
Office 365 offers a centralized IT administration platform that allows financial firms to comply with regulations. Boasting an uptime of 99.9%, Office 365 reduces complications and offers huge cost savings. Moreover, Office 365 lets you change the number of subscribers and pay as you use. All of this comes at just a fixed monthly cost.
5. Training materials for improved quality control
The Microsoft SharePoint Online platform offers extensive training. In fact, a large number of banks use SharePoint Online as an education and training hub for their employees. Organizations often share interactive videos on this platform along with other training materials, such as manuals and standards. It acts as both a training platform and a repository, helping financial firms to ensure quality control.
Office 365 is an impressive software suite that’s used in various industries. By reducing downtime, increasing productivity, promoting security, and improving document management, Office 365 equips many firms with the necessary IT infrastructure to manage their businesses.
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