One of the most asked questions, what is the difference between Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs Office E3? The price of a Business Premium license is almost 40% lower than that from an E3 license and both share pretty much the same features. So why should you buy a more expensive E3 license? Or is Business Standard good enough for your organization?
It’s good to know that you can buy 300 Microsoft 365 Business Standard licenses and then continue with the Office 365 E3 licenses. So the seat cap of 300 users doesn’t limit you in the total amount of users within your tenant.
If Business Standard is good enough for your organization, then you can start with the 300 Business Standard plans and then give the rest of the users an E3 license. This little tip just saved you € 2.250 every month 😉
In this article, I will try to help you with comparing the two different Microsoft Office 365 plans. At the end of this article, you will find a chart with all the features compared next to each other for an easy overview.
The main difference between Business Standard and E3
The biggest difference between Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Office 365 E3 are the business apps. Business Standard is more focused on smaller companies. So it comes with Business apps like Microsoft Bookings and Invoicing.
E3 though has more intended for the large companies, something you see in the storage space of Exchange Online mailboxes and OneDrive. Also, some very useful compliance tools are only included in the enterprise plans.
A big difference between the two plans is the price and commitment. You can only subscribe to an annual commitment with an Enterprise plan. So while you pay per month, you are subscribed per year. If you want a monthly subscription, you can only go for the Business plans, they have a monthly commitment plan.
Now the price difference is obvious, for a yearly commitment an Enterprise E3 license will cost you $ 20.- and a Business Standard Licence only $ 12.50 (monthly commitment $ 15.00). You can check the prices for your country here at Office365.com
Both plans come with Exchange Online, but Business Standard comes with Exchange Online plan 1 and E3 comes with Exchange Online plan 2. So what is the difference between does two?
The big difference is that Plan 2 comes with unlimited storage in the form of an in-place archive and a 100gb mailbox. Exchange Online Plan 1 “only” has a 50gb mailbox.
Besides the amount of storage, Exchange Online Plan 2 also has the following features:
- Hosted Unified Messaging services that provide call answering, a dial-in user interface, and company automated attendant capabilities
- DLP Policies to prevent data loss like Personal Identification Numbers or Credit Card number
Now if the amount of mailbox storage is the only deal-breaker for you, then you could also buy the Exchange Online Archiving Add-on for Business Standard. This cost only $ 3.00 per user per month so that is still cheaper than E3.
If you are using a terminal server (like Remote Desktop or Citrix) or you are running virtualized desktops (VDI) then you can’t use Business Premium. This is not allowed within the Microsoft 365 Business licenses.
It’s not only a license limitation but activating a Business Standard license within a Remote Desktop or VDI session will count toward the 5 devices limit. So every server within the cluster will consume a license.
With Enterprise E3 you can use the user license in a hybrid environment. This means that the license can be used for both Exchange Online as the on-premise Exchange server. The same goes for SharePoint. Business Standard users can only use the Online Services.
Larger organizations use Group Policies to control (office) applications within a domain. This is only supported by the Enterprise plans. So without GPO support, your IT department can’t manage the Office application (setting security options, user preferences, template folders etc)
Data Loss Prevention and Compliance
The Enterprise plans come with all the features you need to prevent data loss and to make sure you are compliant with all the regulations. DLP policies allow you to set rules to get warned or to prevent sharing of Personal Identification Information or Bank and CreditCard Numbers.
Also, the In-Place Hold and Litigation Hold can be really important features. If your company deals with a lot of legal cases than these features allow you to collect all the evidence you need.
Both plans come with Excel, don’t worry. But there is a difference between Excel in Business Standard and Excel in E3. In the Enterprise plans Excel comes with the following additional features:
- Spreadsheet Compare
- Spreadsheet Inquire
- Power Query
- Power Pivot
- Power View
- Decoupled PivotTables and PivotCharts
So if you have some advanced Excel users or you are working with big data sets and want to do some powerful data analysis on it, then make sure you go for the Enterprise plans.
While Office 365 has a really good uptime, an issue can always occur. With Office 365 Enterprise plans you get 24/7 support for all issues. But with Business Premium you can only call for Critical issues.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs E3
|Microsoft 365 Business Standard||Office 365 E3|
|Included items||More info||More info|
|Price user/month (annual commitment)||$12.50||$20.00|
|Price user/month (monthly commitment)||$15.00||$20.00|
|Install Office on 5 Devices|
|Excel Power Query and Power Pivot|
|Use Office on Remote Desktop|
|Onedrive Storage||1 TB||Unlimited|
|Exchange||Plan 1||Plan 2|
|Exchange Online Mailbox storage||50GB||100GB|
|Exchange Online Archive Storage||50GB||Unlimited|
|SharePoint||Plan 1||Plan 2|
|Outlook Customer Manager|
|Insights by MyAnalytics|
|Active Directory Intergration|
|Azure Rights Management|
|Mobile Device Management for Office 365|
|Licensed for hybrid deployment|
|Support for shared computer activation|
|Compliance – In-place hold, Data-loss prevention, in-place archive|
|More info||More info|
If we take all the details into account I recommend Business Standard licenses only for smaller companies. The advantage of Group Policy, DLP, Compliance and Information Protection is something you really need in a larger environment.
I hope the Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs Office 365 E3 comparison helpt you with selecting the right license for your organization. If you have any questions, just drop a comment below.
Sources: Office 365 Platform Description