Are you on the right Microsoft 365 plan? Microsoft 365 is an incredible piece of business software, described by Microsoft as “your productivity cloud across work and life.” It’s the successor to Microsoft Office 365, containing all the Office apps we’ve become so familiar with are there, plus immense cloud services and security. With the addition of Teams and Sharepoint and OneDrive, it’s a true collaboration powerhouse.
It’s so all-encompassing in its offerings it’s hard to imagine how any organisation functions without it! Therein lies a source of confusion for some businesses though…
There are so many applications and services, bundled into different tiers, it’s difficult to know what you’re getting and if it’s necessary. Or if you’re missing out on something that could be really beneficial!
We get asked to explain how the Microsoft 365 tiers and licensing work often. Today we will try and throw a bit of light onto it for you, and hopefully give you a bit more understanding of the licensing structure and the services your business can get.
Microsoft 365 Licensing Explained
We’re sure you’re aware that Microsoft 365 is a subscription service. You pay on a monthly recurring basis for the set of apps and services you use. The amount you pay is per user within your organisation, who each get a license to use the software.
There is an appeal in the scalability of the software because if your organisation grows you can just purchase more licenses for the new team members. You can also reassign licenses to someone else in your organisation if someone leaves.
If your organisation is on an enterprise or business plan, each user can install Office on up to five PC’s or Macs, five tablets and five phones. They’re assigned a mailbox, they have access to the Sharepoint Online team site and they have access to and use of Microsoft Teams. That’s basically the trifecta that forms the basis for effective communication and collaboration!
A handy feature with Microsoft 365 is your organisation can try a plan for free for a month, for up to 25 users. If you find it works for you, then you seamlessly continue into a paid contract.
What are the Plans Available to Businesses?
There are four tiers you can choose from going in as a business – Basic, Standard, Premium and Apps. You can see the current prices for these offerings below:
Let’s take a look at what each tier entails.
Microsoft 365 Business Basic
The bottom rung of their offerings is rather basic, primarily because it doesn’t offer desktop versions of the apps. That means you can only use programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint on their web and mobile versions. It’s also missing powerful cloud services like Teams and OneDrive.
Unless you’ve got a highly mobile business, this is going to be a tricky one. When you’re pulling your hair out because you don’t have a desktop version of Word, you’ll have to ask yourself if the cheaper subscription is worth it?
Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
This plan essentially offers you the Microsoft suite, all in their desktop versions. You get Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher and OneDrive for cloud storage. The apps you need to be productive within your business are there, but if you’re looking to push the envelope when it comes to digital transformation, you’ll be disappointed.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
Now you’re starting to enjoy the true capabilities of this software. With this plan you get access to the full suite of web, mobile and desktop Office applications, plus you enjoy the standard suite of cloud services (Teams, Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint). This sets up your organisation beautifully for remote work and collaboration, ensuring efficiency and enhanced communication. There’s synching across all devices, powerful email and calendaring, and robust security and compliance.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium
This is the top tier, the big dog of Microsoft 365 plans. The most expensive of the four tiers, it also brings the most functionality through some impressive features not found in the other plans. A couple of these features we love are:
Intune: This is an important tool, although it can be underrated and thus overlooked. It’s used for mobile device management (MDM) and mobile access management (MAM), which is imperative when you consider the number of devices logging onto your corporate network.
You can use Intune to control what can and can’t be done on these devices and control how they interact with your network. It separates organisational data from personal data, helping you to set up and enforce IT policies across all devices.
Microsoft Defender: This comes included with Business Premium, but is also available as a standalone product. It’s an endpoint security system protecting against cybersecurity threats in an easy-to-use package. It’s part of Microsoft’s advanced threat protection package, which also includes access control and the ability to remotely set up, update or even wipe devices.
Can Microsoft 365 Supercharge Your Business?
If you’ve got questions about the plan you’re on or think you could be getting more out of your Microsoft 365 subscription, give Smile IT a call. We can help you rollout the more advanced features of the business premium tier and ensure you’re using this software to its maximum potential!
When he’s not writing tech articles or turning IT startups into established and consistent managed service providers, Peter Drummond can be found kitesurfing on the Gold Coast or hanging out with his family!