In the past, new Microsoft 365 (M365) purchases had either been offered to large organisations as a bundle or made available as a mix-and-match component through various plans.
For smaller agile companies, this created some difficulty in managing the cloud experience. Added features in Sharepoint, Exchange and Data security offered to Enterprise plans were needed by small and medium (SMB) sized companies but were unavailable in smaller bundles.
Today, Microsoft addresses this by offering a cloud-based service for small businesses containing Office 365, Security, and Windows 10. M365 Business is designed for companies with under 300 users who don’t have the time or resources to manage multiple servers and seats.
Why Microsoft 365 Business?
Microsoft 365 Business gives both your staff and customers the flexibility to securely share, collaborate and communicate seamlessly on any device, on-demand.
For growing businesses that need to resort to enterprise-grade products or services despite their SMB staff size, Microsoft 365 Business offers the ideal solution for organisations that are looking to move to the cloud while improving security.
Another challenge with growing businesses is the use of personal devices by employees for company purposes. While large enterprises enjoy the financial ability to provide employees with laptops and mobile devices, employees in smaller companies may rely on their own devices – leaving smaller businesses to adopt a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy to protect their data. This need has driven Microsoft to include device management and security within the Microsoft 365 Business offering.
The rest of this article will cover the main differences between the Microsoft 365 Business and the E3 plan, to enable you access which the best solution is for you.
What does Microsoft 365 Business include?
Microsoft 365 Business offers a suite of Office 365 apps which contains Word, Excel, Planner, Teams, and more, with services for remote device and mobile application management, as well as the use of Windows 10 Pro to protect devices against spam and malware.
Smarter management with the Admin Centre
The admin centre distinctly sets Microsoft 365 Business apart as the Microsoft 365 admin centre offers a single, convenient location for administrative tasks. This user-friendly feature allows you to configure security policies and manage devices and apps through a setup consisting of just 15 user-friendly menus, instead of the 45 featured in the E3 Plan.
You can also manage company file access by implementing PIN or fingerprint entry to prevent company content from being transferred to personal applications. In addition to this, Windows Defender antivirus can be used to automatically protect and update every Windows 10 device within your company.
Microsoft 365 Business use case: Restaurant chain with 115 employees
Alan owns a successful restaurant chain with five restaurant locations and one central administration office. Like many small business owners, Alan has grown from being a one-man-band with a phone to employing a team of 115 staff members.
Alan now shares the needs of a large corporation – communication, collaboration, data security, and much more. However, he lacks the support staff that focuses on running his business, and this is where Microsoft Business 365 comes into play. Alan won’t need a dedicated team for IT support because through Microsoft Business 365; he gets a cost-effective package offering streamlined administrative and security features.
Which version of Microsoft 365?
The E3 plan is designed for larger organisations with over 300 users, whereas the business plan is for organisations with less than 300 users.
However, the E3 plan provides greater compliance and security for larger organisations.
Microsoft 365 E3 enables IT departments to manage everything from issuing devices and single sign-on access/authorisation to advanced configurations for remote/virtual desktops and hybrid cloud solutions.
Business and the E3 plan share several similarities in terms of their features; however, the five primary requirements to join E3 include:
- More than 300 users;
- Larger mailbox size (100 GB per user and attachments up to 150 MB);
- Business intelligence and analytics tools;
- Advanced security and device management;
- Office 365 ProPlus, which includes controls for group policies, allows you to install on shared workstations and terminal services;
- Azure Active Directory Premium P1.
|Features||Microsoft 365 Business||Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3|
|Price per seat/user||AU $27.50/mo||AU $46.40/mo|
|Max Number of users||300||Unlimited|
|Email & Calendar||Yes||Yes|
|SharePoint & Yammer||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics||Yes||Yes|
|Windows Defender Antivirus||Yes||Yes|
|Office 365 Data Loss Prevention||Yes|
|Archiving & Legal Hold||Yes|
|Advanced Threat Protection||Yes|
Below are some quick definitions to help you understand some of the terms in the table
- Legal Hold. Protect and archive company email and data which might be considered evidence should a lawsuit ever occur.
- eDiscovery. The process of searching and identifying those electronic files and information required for lawsuits.
- Advanced Threat Protection. Anti-phishing measures, safe links (wrapped in a Microsoft URL and scanned when clicked), and secure attachments (sent to a sandbox before delivery).
- Delve. A cloud-based app that displays personal content. It gives you information based on what you’re working on and whom you’re working with.
- Office 365 Data Loss Prevention. Policy controls to identify, monitor, and automatically protect sensitive information across Office 365.
- Intune. A device management application which is used to perform remote wipes of company data and factory resets for Windows 10, Apple and Android devices.
Microsoft 365 Business costs AU $27.50/month per seat or user.
Microsoft 365 E3 costs AU $46.40/month per seat or user.
While businesses differ, their needs increasing productivity, more efficient working systems, data protection are similar. In the past, small companies waited until a point when they could afford the enterprise features they needed. However, Microsoft Business 365 now allows small businesses to take advantage of features previously only available to corporate customers.
Mix and match M365 features
Choosing the correct Microsoft 365 licence is not always straight forward. One of the most confusing aspects of licensing Microsoft products is how customisable their range is. Before you choose a solution for your business, you should consult with a Certified Microsoft Partner.