The 3 Biggest Microsoft 365 Mistakes

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Microsoft 365 Mistakes Made By Small to Midsized Organizations


Harnessing the full potential of Microsoft 365 can be a game-changer for small to mid-sized businesses and local governments. It offers seamless communication, collaboration, and productivity as an all-encompassing platform.

However, several common mistakes can prevent you from leveraging Microsoft 365’s true capabilities.

At first glance, Microsoft 365 may seem intuitive, but it’s more than an upgraded version of the familiar Office suite. Instead, it’s a robust, cloud-based platform designed to transform how you work.

Yet, its transformative ability is often overlooked and underutilized.

In this article, we’ll identify the three biggest mistakes small to midsized organizations and local governments frequently make with Microsoft 365.


The 3 Biggest Microsoft 365 Mistakes



Mistake #1:  Lack of Training


employee trainingConsider Microsoft 365 as a top-tier kitchen, fully equipped with high-tech appliances. It’s a game-changer, but there’s a hitch—if you can’t use them effectively, it’s like trying to cook a gourmet meal in a microwave.

Many SMBs and local governments have invested in this toolkit, but without the right training and understanding, they’re driving a Ferrari stuck in first gear.



Real-world consequences: productivity and security risks

Let’s delve into some real-world implications.

Imagine a city council that embraced Microsoft 365 to modernize operations. However, the absence of proper training led to employees using the system for basic tasks such as word processing and email. At the same time, comprehensive productivity tools like Teams and Planner were left untouched.

This led to the following:

  • A stagnation in productivity levels
  • Diminished return on their software investment

Moreover, insufficient training can also lead to severe security implications.

Take the example of a mid-sized company that adopted Microsoft 365. Unfortunately, untrained staff unknowingly shared sensitive files externally, causing unwanted information leaks. Adequate training in advanced security and privacy settings could have avoided such a predicament.


Why Does Insufficient Training Occur?

The usual suspects are time pressures and the ‘learn-as-you-go’ mindset. As a result, employees are often expected to self-learn the complexities of Microsoft 365, resulting in the following:

  • Underutilization of the software’s full capabilities.
  • Increase in avoidable mistakes.

In essence, knowing how to use Microsoft 365 is not a luxury—it’s a requirement. The challenge is to shift Microsoft 365 from being a business expense to becoming a business advantage, and that transformation starts with complete training.



Mistake #2: Neglecting Security Measures


Cyber Security


Microsoft 365 isn’t just a productivity suite—it’s also a bit of a fortress.

The platform offers various security features to protect your organization from cyber threats. However, these features aren’t automatic—they require setup and management, and too often, they’re left untapped.




The Risks of Cyber Threats Lurking in the Shadows

What happens when these security measures are overlooked? You expose your organization to risks that could have been avoided.

Let’s consider a scenario where an employee unwittingly clicks on a phishing email. Microsoft 365’s Advanced Threat Protection could have flagged this, but the system remains silent if not set up correctly, leading to potential data breaches and financial loss.


Concrete Threats, Concrete Solutions

Let’s dive into some concrete examples. With features like two-factor authentication and data loss prevention, Microsoft 365 security measures can help prevent the following:

  • Unauthorized account access: Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to access your accounts.
  • Accidental data leaks: Data Loss Prevention policies can identify and protect sensitive information, preventing it from leaving your organization.


Why are cybersecurity measures neglected?

There are many reasons, but they usually boil down to these 5 reasons:


1. Lack of Awareness:

Some businesses may need to fully understand the importance of cybersecurity measures within Microsoft 365 or be unaware of the available security features.


2. Limited Resources:

Small and medium-sized organizations often need more IT resources, which can result in cybersecurity measures being deprioritized. IT teams may be stretched thin, focusing on other pressing tasks, and may need more capacity or expertise to implement and manage the security features within Microsoft 365.


3. Complexity and Technical Challenges:

Configuring and managing cybersecurity measures within Microsoft 365 can be complex, especially for organizations without dedicated cybersecurity experts. The technical aspects and potential challenges in implementing these measures may deter businesses from fully utilizing them.


4. Perceived Disruption to Productivity:

Some organizations may worry that enabling certain cybersecurity measures within Microsoft 365, such as multi-factor authentication or data loss prevention policies, could disrupt productivity or create additional barriers for employees.


5. Limited Understanding of Potential Risks:

Cyber Security AttacksBusinesses may underestimate the risks of cyber threats and data breaches. Organizations may only prioritize implementing robust cybersecurity measures with a comprehensive understanding of the potential consequences of a security breach.



Businesses need to recognize the criticality of cybersecurity and the need to activate and configure the appropriate security features within Microsoft 365.

Seeking professional guidance, conducting risk assessments, and investing in ongoing training and education can help organizations better understand and address these concerns, ensuring that cybersecurity measures within Microsoft 365 are addressed.



Mistake #3:  Not Utilizing the Tools You Own


Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 has a ton of productivity tools. But, while Word, Excel, and PowerPoint might be the shining stars, they are just the tip of the iceberg.

And the truth is, you won’t use all of them.  But a very large percentage of Microsoft 365 users are missing some of the most productive tools.

Think of Microsoft Teams for seamless collaboration, Planner for efficient task management, or OneNote for comprehensive note-taking. Unfortunately, these valuable tools are often overlooked, leaving a wealth of potential unexplored.


The Power of Full Utilization: Productivity Unleashed

Harnessing the full range of Microsoft 365’s applications can transform your organization’s productivity.

Imagine a world where Teams replaces back-and-forth emails, Planner organizes tasks visually appealingly, and OneNote keeps all your notes in one accessible place. This isn’t a dream; it’s possible by fully utilizing Microsoft 365.


Why the underutilization?

So why are these robust tools often underutilized? The culprits are numerous. There needs to be more awareness about the full range of available tools. There’s the comfort of sticking to familiar software. And then there’s the perceived complexity of trying something new.

Yet, these barriers can be easily overcome with proper training and guidance.


Training: The Magic Wand of Utilization

More training often needs to be improved to maintain the underutilization of these powerful tools. Imagine being handed a Swiss Army knife but only using the blade because you don’t know what the other tools do. Training illuminates the full potential of Microsoft 365, turning it from a simple knife into a versatile multi-tool.



Managed Microsoft 365 Services: A Guiding Hand


Managed IT Services In Sterling by Imagine ITThe challenges of fully harnessing Microsoft 365—insufficient training, neglecting security measures, and underutilizing tools—are common.

Managed Microsoft 365 Services, such as those provided by Imagine IT, can be pivotal in navigating these hurdles. These services function as a buffer, reducing the likelihood of these mistakes occurring in the first place.


The Significance of Training

The importance of training must be balanced when utilizing Microsoft 365.

Managed services like Imagine IT understand this crucial aspect. They provide comprehensive training that spans the entire suite of applications, ensuring that users are equipped with the skills they need to navigate these tools effectively and confidently.


Proactive Security Measures: A Safety Net for Organizations

Security is another critical area where managed services prove their worth. Imagine IT, for instance, highly emphasizes proactive security measures.

They help set up and manage Microsoft 365’s security features, mitigating risks and protecting the organization from potential threats.

Imagine IT also offers The Security Shield, a fully layered cybersecurity solution as part of their Managed IT Services.  The combo of the two is the strongest cyber-protection for small to mid-sized businesses and local governments can get.


Promoting Full Utilization: Unlocking the Full Potential of Microsoft 365

Finally, managed services can help overcome the hurdle of underutilization. By offering insights into the diverse range of applications within Microsoft 365, providers like Imagine IT encourage organizations to explore beyond the familiar territory of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

They assist in unlocking the full potential of the suite, resulting in increased productivity and collaboration.





We’ve addressed the three biggest mistakes that organizations make with Microsoft 365,

Small to mid-sized organizations and local governments can benefit from avoiding the three biggest mistakes associated with Microsoft 365 and maximizing the potential of their existing tools. Neglecting cybersecurity measures, inadequate user training, and underutilization of collaboration features can hinder productivity and expose businesses to risks.

However, by taking proactive measures and investing in comprehensive training, your organization can optimize the capabilities of Microsoft 365.

Additionally, partnering with a Managed Microsoft 365 service is one of the best ways to ensure effective management and utilization of the suite. By addressing these mistakes and leveraging expert assistance, you  can enhance their productivity, efficiency, and overall success while utilizing the tools you already own.


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