Talking Cloud with Office 365 MVP Brett Hill

Office 365 MVP Brett Hill

From: Washington, United States

Time as an MVP: 5 years


Which technical communities are you most active in?

Office 365 and Microsoft Online Linked In Group


How did you first start in community?

I made a decision to truly dive into a specific expertise and found myself just naturally answering questions. This led to writing articles and posts that answer FAQs and posting them on the net. That resulted in links and good positioning for my websites, which helped with exposure. This “virtuous cycle” just kept going.


What's the best technical tip you have for implementing Cloud deployment?

Read the service descriptions carefully


What do you tell people who are considering using the Cloud, but aren't sure about making the move?

The cost savings alone are generally pretty persuasive so people tend to balk at the loss of control and concerns about security. Loss of control is fact of life with online service, but really, how much do you want to be dealing backup software, anti-virus, anti-spam, failover system, hard ware failure, upgrades, security patches, service packs, raid arrays, the whole enchilada. Don’t you have ways to use your IT expertise to actually improve productivity rather than just maintain it? And is your security really better than multi-million dollar ISO certified datacenter? Generally not. Even so, some people just want to look at those hard drives humming and feel warm and fuzzy about that – and I can’t say that I blame them.

Consider the benefits that are not so obvious such as improvements in productivity from access to features you don’t have today. Here’s a quick example. Let’s say that you are travelling and your cell phone is lost or broken, but you must keep in touch due to urgent business. You arrive early at the hotel and you can’t check-in to your room. How can people reach you?  You buy a prepaid cell phone at the local convenience store. You get on the net and in Lync 2010 in the “what’s happening” line you say “Cell phone broken: call temporary cell at 555-1212 room 2222”. Then that urgent matter comes into the office and instead of office mates scrambling to figure out where you are and how to reach you, it’s right in front of them. The deal is sealed and you paid for your entire year of Office 365 through one little known feature of Office 365. Sure you can email everyone, but larger organization, sometimes people have urgent needs to reach you that you are not normally in an email conversation with.  if they haven’t checked their mail or if someone needs to reach you that you did not email, you’re sure to be reachable. This is the kind of thing that can really save the day.


Do you have a blog/website link to Cloud related Tips or deployment stories you would like to share? has several key articles on the differences in the plans that I hope are informative. There is also an article on the difference in the P plan and E plans that should be read by most people as it reviews differences that are not so easy to discover. hosts training I’m developing for end users.  It’s a set of pre-recorded lessons that get people up to speed on how to use Office 365. I’m planning on releasing a P1 administration class before summer 2012


What words of advice do you have for new MVPs?

Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know your fellow MVPs and the Microsoft staff (when you have the chance).  Keep in touch with email. Feel free to add to Lync 2010 or skype me at Office365guy

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