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Microsoft 365 Licenses: Which Option is Best?

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Carter Howell

Carter Howell

Collaboration Engineer @ Observian
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Microsoft Office 365 License Comparison: Which Option is Best for You?

Microsoft recently changed the name from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 to better reflect the features and benefits the subscription offers to users. Choosing the proper Microsoft Office 365 license is a critical step before your business can migrate to the cloud. There are multiple options for businesses of all sizes, making finding the right plan for your organization extremely challenging. 

 

Several risks come with choosing the wrong Microsoft Office 365 licence, including:

  • Overpaying for licenses you don't need.
  • Overpaying for software you underutilize.
  • Huge fines or other legal action could occur if you fail an Office 365 license audit. You are committing software piracy if Microsoft finds that your organization has used its software without paying for every installation. These penalties could reach $150,000 per infringement.

When starting your Microsoft 365 license comparison, you must first decide whether you need a business plan or an enterprise plan.

 

Business Plan vs. Enterprise Plan

Moving on in our Microsoft 365 license comparison, we review the significant differences between Business and Enterprise plans. Microsoft offers Office 365 in two principal pricing plans: Office 365 Business and Office 365 Enterprise for Business, with both plans being available for organizations with fewer than 300 employees.  Although the basic features of the business plan and enterprise plan are identical, some other differences can change the way your team works. These differences include:

 

Mail storage

The Office 365 Enterprise plan offers much more storage than Office 365 Business. Enterprise plan users have access to a larger mailbox size of 100 GB and unlimited storage as an archive. The Business plan offers storage of 50 GB. Enterprise plan users also get business-class email hosting with a custom email domain address.

 

Business intelligence and analytics

Office 365 Enterprise comes with a broad range of business intelligence and analytics tools that Office 365 Business doesn't offer. The Enterprise plan's features include Advanced Excel, Delve Analytics, and Power BI Pro, which help users perform analytical tasks and then organize and visualize data on a single platform.

 

Cost

The basic features of Office 365 Business and Office 365 Enterprise are identical, but the Office 365 price tag is lower. The Microsoft 365 Business price ranges from $5-$20. The Microsoft 365 Enterprise price has a larger range from $8 to $57.

 

The significant features associated with Office 365 Enterprise plans include:

  • Microsoft Teams PBX and PSTN conferencing
  • Advanced Information Protection
  • Advanced Threat Protection
  • Active Directory integration
  • Delve Analytics
  • Power BI
  • Unlimited archive and mail storage
  • Enterprise app management

The significant features associated with Office 365 Business plans include:

  • Access to modern collaboration tools like SharePoint, Yammer, Teams, and Skype for Business.
  • Complete access to Office 365 Applications with the full version of Office 365, which grants users access to Office Online apps and Office Mobile apps.
  • Office installation on up to five PCs, five tablets, and five smartphones per user.
  • Advanced Cyberthreat Protection
  • Data Protection Controls

 

Microsoft 365 Business Plans

The next step in our Office Suite 365 comparison is to review the features and benefits of Office 365 business plans, including Microsoft 365 prices and included services.

Microsoft 365 Business Basics

Price: $5/user/month (one-year commitment)

Best for: Businesses seeking simple remote solutions, including Microsoft Teams, secure cloud storage, and Office Online.

Included Applications: Web and mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Included Services: Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Exchange, OneDrive, and SharePoint.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Price: $12.50/user/month (annual commitment)

Best for: Businesses needing full remote work and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, secure cloud storage, email, and premium Office apps across devices.

Included Applications: Online, mobile, desktop versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, Bookings, and MileIQ.

Included Services: Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Exchange, and SharePoint.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Price: $20/user/month (annual commitment)

Best for: Businesses in need of secure, remote work solutions that include everything in Business Standard, plus advanced cyberthreat protection and device management.

Included Applications: Online, mobile, desktop versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, Bookings, MileIQ, and Access.

Included Services: Exchange, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Exchange, OneDrive, Intune, and Azure Information Protection.

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business

Price: $8.25/user/month

Best for: Business owners looking to only use the core Microsoft apps on their desktops.

Included Applications: Desktop versions of Office apps including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Included Services: The ability to store and share files with 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per user. Use one license to cover fully installed Office apps on five mobile devices, five tablets, and five PCs or Macs per user. 24/7 access to phone and web support from Microsoft.

 

Microsoft 365 Enterprise vs. Office 365 Enterprise

Office 365 Enterprise: A cloud services platform with familiar Microsoft products, including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and OneDrive. Office 365 provides these services on-premises and online via subscription plans.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise: All-in-one bundle that includes Windows 10 Pro, Office 365 Suite, and Enterprise Mobility+Security for a complete and interconnected experience. Microsoft 365 works best for larger organizations needing a single, secure platform to share and collaborate. It features everything users know from Office 365, including best-in-class Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and advanced security.

Office 365 E1 Plan

Cost: $8/month/user

Best for: Users who don't need desktop Outlook or Office applications but still need data governance and eDiscovery.

Included Applications: Yammer, SharePoint, eDiscovery search, and web versions of Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.

Included Services: OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.

Office 365 E3 Plan

Cost: $20/month/user

Best for: Businesses that need more advanced BI, compliance, email, security, and voice capabilities.

Included Applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams.

Included Services: Azure AD, Intune, and ATP safe links.

Office 365 E5 Plan

Cost: $35/month/user

Best for: Businesses that plan to use Skype for Business Cloud PBX.

Included Applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams.

Included Services: Audio Conferencing, Phone System, Power BI Pro, Customer Lockbox, and Microsoft Cloud App Security.

Microsoft 365 E3 Plan

Cost: $32/month/user

Best for: Employees looking for the best in productivity and collaboration, and administrators who want to ensure they are operating in a secure and compliant environment.

Included Applications: Web and mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and OneNote.

Included Services: Exchange, Outlook, Teams, Stream, SharePoint, Bookings, Power Apps, To Do, and Planner.

Microsoft 365 E5 Plan

Cost: $57/month/user

Best for: Enterprises looking for the most comprehensive productivity and security solution available. The 365 E5 is the most feature-packed suite, and it brings an integrated phone system and audio conferencing into the mix. It also has advanced security tools like Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection and Microsoft Cloud App Security.

Included Applications: Web and mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and OneNote. Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat protection, and Microsoft Cloud App Security.

Included Services: Advanced eDiscovery, access controls, control encryption key, Advanced Threat Protection, O365 Cloud App Security, Advanced Data Governance.

 

As you can see, choosing the right Office suite is a critical decision for you and your company. We covered a lot of different licensing here but Microsoft does have more. If you have needs for frontline workers, charity or non-profit licensing, education licensing for staff, faculty, or students, or the proper licensing for Government we can help with that too. Connect with us to learn more about other options available.

 

Visit Observian's Office 365 page to learn more about our Office 365 solutions and free cloud migration information today!

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