In April 2020 Microsoft has changed the names of the Office 365 Business plans to Microsoft 365 Business. Before this name change, we had only Microsoft 365 Business, but now we have Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, and Apps for Business.
Only the names are changed, the price and the features of the plans have stayed the same. In this article, we are going to take a look at the differences between the Microsoft 365 Business plans. We are going to start with a comparison table so you can quickly compare the most important details between the different plans.
Microsoft 365 for Business plans Compared
In the table below you will find all the details of the plans compared. You can find the prices for your country here at Microsoft.com. Keep in mind that all Business plans are limited to 300 users. Buy what you can do is mix Business plan with Enterprise plans, so if you have more then 300 users, you buy Office 365 E3 plans for the other users.
|Business Basic||Business Standard||Business Premium||Apps for Business|
|Number of installs||Online and mobile only||5 per user||5 per user||5 per user|
|Supported devices||Web, tablets, and phones||PCs/Macs, tablets, and phones||PCs/Macs, tablets, and phones||PCs/Macs, tablets, and phones|
|Office Apps (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)|
|Publisher and Access (pc only)|
|OneDrive Storage||Plan 1
(1 TB per user)
(1 TB per user)
(1 TB per user)
(1 TB per user)
|Included Windows 10 license|
|Windows 10 Pro|
|Microsoft Teams Shifts|
|Outlook Customer Manager|
|Insights by MyAnalytics|
|Active Directory Intergration||Small Business|
|Azure Information Protection|
|Azure Rights Management|
|Office Advanced Threat Protection|
|Mobile Device Management for Office 365|
|More info||More info||More info||More info|
Microsoft 365 Business Basic
The Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan, formerly known as Office 365 Business Essentials, is the perfect plan if you don’t work a lot in Word, Excel, or Outlook. In the Business Basic plan, you don’t get the desktop apps, so you can’t install Word, Excel, Outlook, etc on your desktop. But you can use those applications online in your browser.
The browser versions of these apps work perfectly for lite usage. Outlook online is great to work with, it has all the important features just like the Outlook app self. Word and Excel online also work fine if you need to write an occasional letter or spreadsheet.
What makes the Business Basic plan so great is that you get Exchange Online with 50Gb mailboxes and OneDrive and SharePoint. So you can use all the benefits of Office 365 (safely storing your data in the cloud, easily work together and share documents, etc), for only $5 per month.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
This is basically the default Microsoft 365 plan for small businesses ( hence the name 😉 ). Microsoft 365 Business Standard, formerly known as Office 365 Business Premium, contains everything a small business needs.
It comes with the desktop apps so that you can install Outlook, Word, Excel, etc. on your desktops, and it comes with a lot of online business apps. Know the desktop apps have of course a lot of advantages over the online versions, but the most important ones are that you can use add-ins (for your business applications for example) and macros. Something that is now possible with the online versions.
Business Standard comes with a couple of Online Business Applications that are only available in Standard and Premium. Now, these are not the applications why you should choose for Standard, but on some occasions, they can be really useful.
- Outlook Customer Manager – a Lite CRM system based on Outlook
- Microsoft Teams Shifts – Built-in Microsoft Teams to plan shifts and tasks
- Microsoft Bookings
- Microsoft Invoicing
Microsoft 365 Business Premium
Business Premium is an original Microsoft 365 plan, it was formerly known as Microsoft 365 Business. It comes with everything that Business Standard has with the addition of a couple of security features/services and a Windows 10 Pro license.
Windows 10 Pro License
The Windows 10 Pro license is a pretty strange one compared to the other plans, so let me explain it bit. Some of the advance security features that comes with Business Premium don’t work on Windows 10 Home. In small companies you see more Windows 10 Home devices, people are using (former) personal device or buy the more affordable computer with Windows 10 Home on it.
So to make full use of the security features, you get a Windows 10 Pro license. Installing it is pretty simple, all you need to do is change the license key and your Windows 10 Home installation will be upgraded to Pro.
Advanced Security Features
The advanced security features help you to stay protected against cyber security threats. It protects you from phishing emails and ransomware.
Another important feature is the Azure Information Protection. If you are working with a lot of sensitive data, then you absolutely don’t want the data to be accidentally shared with others. With Information Protection you can classify, label, and encrypt data so it can’t be shared accidentally.
Keep in mind that settings up these features require some knowledge about Office 365, so it might be a good idea to get an IT/Office 365 Consultant to help you set it up correctly.
The last important addition to the premium plan is Intune. With Microsoft Intune, you can manage and protect your mobile devices. Keep in mind data mobile devices are easily getting lost or stolen, so any you want to make sure that those are fully protected and easily can be wiped clean when lost.
Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
This plan doesn’t really belong here in this comparison, but I have put in because of the name and the confusion it might give. You should actually really compare this plan with just buying Office 2019 in my opinion.
Basically, Apps for Business is only the Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) with the advantage that you also get the Online versions, continuous updates, and 1Tb OneDrive storage. But you don’t get SharePoint or Exchange Online.
So you will have to host your email somewhere else, store your files locally (or in OneDrive) and you don’t get any of the advantages of Office 365.
The Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan is for most businesses the best plan to choose. It comes with the Office apps, all the cloud features and it’s reasonably priced. If you are still in doubt, you can always start with a trial of Business Standard.
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