Office 365 is easily the most popular cloud service for small to medium businesses. But like many things Microsoft, it is sometimes complicated to figure out what plan is best for your business. At Weston, we have many years of experience with Office 365, along with certified Office 365 consultants, and have been helping businesses migrate to Office 365 for years. And we’re here to help you figure out which 365 plan is right for you.
First off, you’ll need to understand that Microsoft offers plans targeting the following classes of organizations:
For the Educational, Government, and Non-Profit folks, obviously they would choose a plan inside one of those classes. For non profits, the plans available are generally the same as the Business and Enterprise classes but at non-profit pricing (Weston doesn’t deal much with Education or Government plans). If you have over 300 employees, you have no choice but to select an “Enterprise” plan. But if you’re a smaller business, you can select from either the Business plans or the Enterprise plans, and that’s where things get confusing.
Business Plans: The basic business Office 365 plans are as follows:
- Business Essentials: If you just need an email account and access to online services like OneDrive, Teams, and SharePoint, this is the plan for you. This does not include the Office Suite of desktop applications, only online versions.
- Business: If you don’t need an email account or online services, but just need local desktop applications, this is the plan you want.
- Business Premium: If you need all of the above (apps plus online services), this is the all-you-can-eat plan you need.
Enterprise Plans: The most popular enterprise plans are as follows:
- Enterprise E1: If you just need an email account and access to online services like OneDrive, Teams, and SharePoint, this is the plan for you. This does not include the Office Suite of desktop applications, only online versions.
- Office 365 ProPlus: If you don’t need an email account or online services, but just need local desktop applications, this is the plan you want.
- Enterprise E3: If you need all of the above (apps plus online services), this is the all-you-can-eat plan you need.
Confused? Understandable. If you notice the Business and Enterprise Plans look identical, you’re mostly right. So what is the difference between Business and Enterprise plans? It’s basically what back-end service level is provided with each (as well as the 300 seat limitation for the Business licenses). While Microsoft has a much more complicated and detailed chart, this is the basics behind it:
- No Litigation Hold for Business
- Unlimited archive and mail storage (Enterprise) vs. 50 GB storage limit with optional $3.00 unlimited add-on (Business)
- SharePoint Online Plan 1 (Business) vs. SharePoint Online Plan 2 (Enterprise)
- No Enterprise Search with Plan 1
- No Excel Services with Plan 1
- No Visio Services with Plan 1
- No unified communication solutions available with Business licensing; for example, no telephone number integration (PSTN) with Skype for Business
- No Personal Power BI or Delve Analytics with Business licensing
- No on-premise/virtual rights for Business plans
What about Microsoft 365? Further complicating matters is Microsoft’s recently-release Microsoft 365 plans. We discussed Microsoft 365 recently, and while it has some nice features over a standard Office 365 plan, the premise behind the plans is still the same: Microsoft 365 is basically Office 365 plus Enterprise Mobility & Security and Windows 10 Enterprise. You will still need to figure out your rough base plan needs following the rules above before looking at the equivalent Microsoft 365 plan.
Still confused? That’s OK, that’s why we’re here. We’re a Microsoft certified Office 365 cloud partner and have the experience and knowledge to the get you to the right plan and get your business on the cloud. Contact us today to get started.
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