microsoft 365 business standard vs. business premium

Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs Business Premium

If you’re working in IT or are running a small business, you’re either using Office 365 already or are planning to start using it. Microsoft presents a few options, two of the most popular being Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Business Standard. So what exactly is the difference between the two? And which one is right for your business?

We put together a helpful guide on the two main Office 365 license types – Business Standard and Business Premium. Read on to learn about these two Office 365 license types to help you decide which one is best for your business.

If you’re looking for a full listing of all the license types to compare and buy, go to our Microsoft 365 page here.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is a suite of cloud-based services that include Office apps, Exchange Online for email and calendaring, SharePoint Online for collaboration, Microsoft Teams for messaging and meetings, and security features like Advanced Threat Protection. It also includes 1 TB of cloud storage via OneDrive by default to store all of your personal files for work.

Office 365 was rebranded to Microsoft 365 on April 21, 2020 as Microsoft realized the need for an all encompassing cloud service for businesses, rather than just office apps.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is a very powerful set of Microsoft Office apps packaged into one license. Multiple productivity and collaboration tools are built in making it easy for staff to work together, share files, and host meetings.

microsoft 365 apps

Multiple applications are included in Business Premium including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and OneDrive. In comparison to the Microsoft 365 Business Standard license package, Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes additional advanced security and device management tools like Conditional Access, Advanced Threat Protection (Renamed to Microsoft 365 Defender), Azure Information Protection and Intune.

What Sets Business Premium Apart From Business Standard

Here at Sirius, we recommend to all of our clients to go with Business Premium to take advantage of these additional device management and premium security features. The ability to lock down a lost or stolen device, implement access management for critical data, and enforce advanced security policies makes it imperative to use Business Premium in order to minimize your security risk.

microsoft 365 business standard vs business premium

Conditional Access

Conditional Access is a feature available within Microsoft Azure and is available to businesses for licensed business premium users. With Conditional Access you get the ability to have access management features to protect business data and enforce who can and can’t access files and services.

Many files and applications should only be available to certain users. By implementing Conditional Access policies, you can rest assured that the advanced features of O365 will protect your sensitive files and ensure they’re only accessed by the people that should be accessing them.

Another great feature of Conditional Access is that you can force company owned devices are the only devices allowed to access your data and network. Using this feature for company devices in addition to Intune gives businesses peace of mind knowing that data is not on random unmanaged devices.

Mobile Device Management

When looking at Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs Microsoft 365 Business Premium, mobile devices are a big item to consider. With so much business being done on cell phones and tablets these days, mobile device management is a key factor in data control and security.

With Microsoft Business Premium or Standard, you not only get the desktop versions but also gain access to company data on your mobile devices. This makes it easier for your business users to access data from anywhere in the world. Mobile application management is a must when it comes to modern IT operations, and that is where Intune comes in for mobile device management.

Intune, Microsoft’s mobile device management platform provides advanced features to protect business data. Intune allows you to require a strong password on your company owned devices, mobile application management including deploying and removing mobile apps, and can even allow you to track and remotely wipe data from devices that may have been lost or stolen.

Microsoft 365 Defender for office 365

Microsoft 365 Business Premium comes with Advanced Threat Protection which has been renamed to Microsoft 365 Defender for Office 365 Plan 1. This security tool is specifically for email protection – namely a spam filter built directly into the Microsoft 365 admin tools.

Within the Microsoft 365 defender center, you gain the ability to protect all of your end users by creating the following email security policies:

  • Anti-malware
  • Anti-phishing
  • Anti-spam
  • Safe Links
  • Safe Attachments

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

As a baseline, Microsoft 365 Business Standard has all of the productivity you need to run a small business. However it is greatly lacking in terms of management and security, so if you do go with Business Standard you may need to find 3rd party tools to fill the gaps when it comes to things like advanced threat protection, azure information protection and management of your mobile devices.

Business Standard includes the core applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, and Teams that help you get work done efficiently and securely. The main selling point of Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs Microsoft 365 Business Basic is that you get the desktop versions of Microsoft Office, which most modern workplaces need to get their job done.

How much do they cost?

Microsoft 365 Business Premium starts at $22 per user per month and Microsoft 365 Business Standard costs $12.50 per user per month. With the introduction of Microsoft NCE, businesses now need to either commit to a 1 year agreement with Microsoft products or else they will be hit with a 20% additional premium on their licensing costs. Whether it’s a good or a bad thing, most businesses don’t switch within a year from Microsoft 365 to a different platform, so the 1 year commitment isn’t a very difficult decision. Thankfully you can still pay monthly, or pay for the full year if you wish.

Microsoft 365 Business Basic comes in at $6 per user per month, and 365 Apps for Business is $8.3 per user per month. These two license types are not very common, however some businesses may opt to use them along with other non-microsoft products instead.

Which one is better for a small business owner like you?

The Office 365 license type that’s needed for your business greatly depends on the size and operational maturity of your business. Some companies may not require mobile device management as they don’t have company data on their mobile devices or don’t have company owned devices at all. Other organizations may not see the need for Conditional Access as they have their file storage on internal servers with nothing being stored in the cloud. If this sounds like your business, then Business Standard might actually work just fine for you.

As long as you are a small business with fewer than 300 users, you qualify for one of these Microsoft 365 plans such as business standard or business premium. If your business is over 300 users, you’ll need to start looking at the Microsoft 365 enterprise plans such as E3 and E5.

For most small businesses, we believe that Microsoft 365 Business Premium is going to be the best option over Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Basic. With features such as Intune, Azure Information Protection and Conditional Access it’s a no brainer to go with only Business Premium.

What Else Should a Small Business Consider When It Comes to Microsoft 365?

When considering Office 365 for your business and planning on either upgrading your licensing or starting from scratch, it’s important to think of more than just the licensing types. For example, Business Premium customers should think about how to implement these advanced security tools that come with your licensing. That way you can make the most of your new investment. With full featured business plans, there’s a lot to take into account.

Apart from the initial setup of this cloud based service, you should think about if your business is prepared to manage Office 365 moving forward. Either internal IT or a Managed IT partner will be required to ensure mobile device management is being kept up with, exchange online protection services are in place, and your new business class email is free from any issues. Business Premium does have many more features, so you want to make sure your IT partner is properly equipped to manage this for you.

Wrapping Up: Business Premium vs Business Standard

In conclusion, Office 365 is an essential productivity suite for small businesses of all sizes, and provides a wide range of features to fit your specific needs. While both Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium offer great value, it’s important to first understand the different license types available and ensure that they fit into your business requirements.

By taking into account the cost, features, and additional considerations such as maintenance and training, you can make an informed decision about which Office 365 package is right for your business. If you need some help on deciding which service is best for you or need some help with implementation, give us a call at 888-475-7277 or contact us today!

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