What is Microsoft Online Services?

Updated: April 21, 2009

Applies To: Windows SBS 2008

You typically use software that is installed and managed locally on computers within your organization. For example, you install and use Microsoft Word locally on a computer, and you manage Word in your IT environment.

With online services, the software is maintained by a service provider that is outside of your organization. In some instances, not all of the software resides with the service provider. Some of the software might be installed locally to enhance your experience. The common goal for online services is for you to save both time and resources by remotely accessing the systems of the service provider. With Microsoft Online Services, Microsoft is the service provider that hosts and manages the software for you.

You can access Microsoft Online Services through different portals, depending on what you want to complete. The following table describes the portals that you can use.

Portal Description

Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=145865)

Use to try or to buy subscriptions to Microsoft Online Services, and to manage active subscriptions.

Microsoft Online Services Administration Center (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=147735)

Use to manage settings for your company, for your user accounts, and for the Microsoft Online Services that your company subscribes to. After you sign in to the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal, you can receive an administrator user name and password to sign in to the Microsoft Online Services Administration Center.

Microsoft Online Services My Company Portal (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=147736)

Use to access company services. You can sign in using the Web page, or you can take advantage of single sign in by downloading the Microsoft Online Services Single Sign In application. If you do not use the application, you must sign in for each service that you want to access.

For more information about Microsoft Online Services, see the “Overview” (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=145863).

How do I sign up?

You can use the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal to purchase and to manage subscriptions on Microsoft Online Services. You must obtain a Windows Live ID to sign in to the Web site. For more information about how to obtain a Windows Live ID, see the Windows Live ID site (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=145137).

After you sign in to the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal, you can follow the instructions in the Getting Started section to activate your service. For more information about the services that are provided, see “Microsoft Online Customer Portal (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=147302).