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Microsoft offers free 60-day trial of Office 2013

Microsoft is offering a free trial version of Office 2013 prior to its expected release early next year.

Microsoft is offering a free trial version of Office 2013 prior to its expected release early next year.

For companies that are mulling over the possibility of purchasing Microsoft Office 2013 when it's released early next year, they can now get a preview of what's in store for them.

Microsoft is offering a free 60-day trial of Office 2013 that comes with everything the full and final product will boast. This includes business world favorites like Outlook, Excel, Word and PowerPoint. In order to get the trial version, users will need a Microsoft account before they can download the IMG file that comes in at a little under a gigabyte.

If, however, your organization is still running on Windows XP or Windows Vista, you will not be able to take advantage of this offer.

These trial versions can be great for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that are trying to decide how to spend their limited IT budgets. By comparing current IT assets to solutions new to the market, decision-makers can see what they will gain from an upgrade, or in some cases, what they might be giving up.

Unfortunately, unauthorized or pirated copies of popular software also begin to circulate the Web leading up to release dates. They are often disguised as special deals being offered through companies or websites that are far from reputable and contain dangerous malware. It is critical that SMBs avoid these scams and only download trials directly from the developer's official site.

Managers should also make sure that every employee knows they should never download trials or any other software without first clearing it with supervisors. Failing to do so is a quick and easy way to put the entire company network at risk.

This is where managed IT support can benefit smaller organizations that don't have IT departments equipped to train other workers and avoid such scams.