There has been widespread confusion regarding the future of Microsoft Office 2016 and 2019 following reports suggesting the tech giant is planning to block access to Microsoft 365 back-end services for those versions from October 2023.

The announcement was made by Microsoft itself and the date is a full two years before those products officially exit support. However, Microsoft has since clarified this is not the case. Good news, right? Well, not entirely, as Microsoft is now warning users that they could experience issues when connecting to older versions of Microsoft 365 after that deadline.

It is no secret Microsoft wants customers to sign up to its cloud-based subscription services rather than continue with its perpetual (non-subscription) versions of Office 365. So, while users running Office 2016/2019 will continue to have access to Microsoft 365 back-end services, they may encounter problems with performance and reliability.

So, if you continue using Office 2016/2019 beyond October 2023, you’ll be taking a risk. With that in mind, now is the ideal time for your business to migrate to the cloud and switch to the latest version of Microsoft 365 which is always kept updated with the latest features, security updates and bug fixes. Read on to discover the key dates to remember and the next steps.

Key Dates to Remember

We now know that Microsoft will not be blocking Office 2016 and 2019 customers from connecting to Microsoft 365 back-end services from October 2023. However, we do know there could be unforeseen problems and risks involved when using perpetual products down the line.

Here is what Microsoft is planning to implement in the near future…

October 10, 2023

Mainstream support ends for Microsoft Office 2019. After this date, Microsoft will stop providing feature updates and security fixes as it focuses attention on Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and other Microsoft 365 services.

Customers will not be prevented from connecting to Office 2019, but they are unlikely to receive the same user benefits as they will with Microsoft’s cloud products.

Note: Mainstream support for Microsoft Office 2016 including new features ended on October 13, 2020.

October 14, 2025

Extended support for both Microsoft Office 2016 and Office 2019 ends (the same day as Windows 10).  The software can still be used after this date but security updates from Microsoft will cease, making those products more vulnerable to hackers especially where malicious emails, documents or images are concerned.

Note: Extended support for Office 2013 ends on April 11, 2023.

Next Steps

It is clear Microsoft want Office 2016 and 2019 users to switch to subscription, cloud-based software. Those who continue to use Office 2016 and 2019 may experience a range of unexpected problems which could cause major downtime for businesses, affecting profitability and efficiency.

It is important to note that customers will still be able to connect to Office 2016 and Office 2019. But there is no way of knowing how well they will function as October 2025 approaches, and the likelihood is they won’t work as well as they once did.

So, Microsoft may not be abandoning Office 2016 and 2019 just yet, but it is becoming increasingly clear that migrating to more recent Microsoft 365 cloud-based products is the best decision for you and your business.

Using Office 2016

Top 6 Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud with Microsoft 365

Migrating to the cloud with Microsoft 365 provides a multitude of benefits for any business that relies on IT services for its day-to-day operations. As Microsoft 365 is a subscription service it receives continued support and updates throughout the duration of a subscription period.

Office 2016 and Office 2019 are different as they are one-time purchases. Security updates will be provided until the end-of-support October 2025 deadline, but these won’t include additional tools. Functionality may also be affected once mainstream support has ceased.

1. Security

Microsoft 365 includes the very latest cloud technology to protect users from cyberattacks. It is a highly secure platform, and its data centres are protected by advanced security infrastructure that makes them virtually impossible to breach.

Access is via SSL/TSL encryption so that anyone who intercepts messages or files will not be able to read them. Microsoft also constantly monitor systems for suspicious activity and follow strict protocol when dealing with incidents.

If you’re still using an older version of Microsoft Office that isn’t receiving regular security updates, it is time to upgrade to a modern version for added cyber protection.

So, Microsoft is giving the impression it will continue to support perpetual, non-subscription customers. Saying that it is also obvious that licensing and support for those services are going to become complex. Ultimately, the situation is likely to push customers towards cloud-based subscription services, which is precisely what Microsoft wants.

2. Regular updates

If your perpetual version of Microsoft Office is receiving extended support, it is still receiving security updates. However, this only works with Office for Windows as there is no such extended support period with Office for Mac. When mainstream support for Office for Mac ends, it no longer receives security updates, putting users at far greater risk of cyberattacks.

As Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription service it provides instant upgrades, so your business remains safe and secure. This also means businesses will not be required to go through the laborious process of manual software updates that are necessary with perpetual versions.

3. Centralised email

Primarily an email tool, Outlook is part of the Microsoft 365 suite and makes it possible to share calendars, mailboxes and contacts. Sharing calendars occurs through Exchange is a major benefit when scheduling meetings as you can see when colleagues are available. SharePoint enables collaboration so documents can be simultaneously viewed and worked on by staff and shared as a link in an email.

Microsoft 365 also offers a range of additional features including online versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Excel. As Office 2016 and 2019 are one-time purchases, they do not include the additional tools or automatic updates that Microsoft 365 users benefit from as part of their subscription.

4. Flexibility

Migrating to Microsoft 365 allows your organisation to store all its files and data in the cloud. This means they can be accessed from any location and from any device connected to the internet.

This will save time and money as there is no need to set up VPNs for your employees. All files are stored in a Microsoft data centre and can be worked on by multiple staff. It is perfectly suited to modern, flexible working.

5. Maximise communication

Microsoft 365 comes with a range of useful tools like Teams that aid communication in the cloud. Teams provides a multitude of functions for video conferencing, instant messaging and audio and saw its popularity rocket during COVID-19 lockdowns, allowing businesses and families to work and communicate online. Teams also allows for file and data collaboration and cross-departmental communication.

6. Compliance

Microsoft provides comprehensive compliance for its perpetual and subscription products so that all businesses and organisations comply with national, regional and industry-specific requirements regarding the use and storage of data.

It has never been more important to ensure your business is data compliant. Microsoft Office 365 is compliant with ISO 27001 standards and completed SAS70 Type I and II audits. It has also achieved the EU Safe Harbour Certificate.

Excalibur is a Microsoft Gold Partner. Can we help with your Office 2016 and Office 2019 migration?

There can be a multitude of complexities involved with the migration process to Microsoft 365.

We are a Microsoft Gold Partner, and our experts will ensure the precise amount of scoping and risk management is undertaken before migrating to the cloud.

We demonstrate the highest level of customer care and work closely with you to understand the specific needs of your business before devising a plan and timescale for implementation. Don’t wait until the last minute – upgrade now. Get in touch.

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